What is she giving me now?

"Oh, what is she giving me now?"


A community of veterinary dieticians and pet parents that was touting grain-free food for dogs is not touting so loud these days; the FDA found that some of the proteins found in grain-free dry dog foods were causing canine deaths from dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

It was not the meat, fish, or chicken proteins that were deemed responsible for these deaths, but the vegetable and legume protein additives, the protein fillers that are added to amplify the protein content. (see Some Dog Foods Contribute To Heart Disease In Dogs: Ingredients To Avoid).

Veterinarians were not, by and large, part of the radical swing to no-grain dog foods. They generally avoided the divide, supporting a grain-free or specific grain-avoidance diet only when a dog had allergies to grains.  Vets consistently recommend high protein diets for puppies and younger dogs and a high protein, low fat diet for middle-aged and older dogs, but whole grains are seldom discouraged.


Wellness dry dog food



Assuming your dog is not allergic to grains, you should look for whole grains in your dog's diet as well as whole meat proteins (not byproducts). It is from whole grains that dogs get valuable nutrients like vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and fiber. It's actually good for digestion too!

But you want to make sure that the grains are not highly processed, as processing removes nutrients from these foods. So protein-rich, whole grain dog foods are going to be the most healthy, provided, of course, that they are minimally processed and contain vitamin and mineral supplements that dogs need and can digest. They should also be AAFCO (The Association of American Feed Control Officers) approved.

After researching the contents and preparation methods of more than 30 well-reviewed dry dog foods, I put only three on my list of favorites. At least for now - that is, until other companies start removing the peas, lentils, legumes and other meat-substitute proteins from their foods - these are the ones I would feed to my dogs.


1. Fromm Adult Gold Dry Dog Food


Fromm Family Foods Gold Nutritionals Adult Dry Dog Food

Fromm Family Foods Gold Nutritionals Adult Dry Dog Food


As an example of what I would consider a healthy dry dog food, I'll list the contents of Fromm Family Foods Gold Nutritionals Adult Dry Dog Food for you, because I can't find any ingredient I would consider questioning.

Chicken, Chicken Meal, Pearled Barley, Oatmeal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Brown Rice, White Rice, Beet Pulp, Chicken Fat, Dried Whole Egg, Salmon Oil, Flaxseed, Cheese, Brewers Dried Yeast, Chicken Liver, Vitamins, Monocalcium Phosphate, Salt, Potassium Chloride, DL-Methionine, Chicory Root Extract, Choline Chloride, Minerals, Chicken Cartilage, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Sodium Selenite, L-Tryptophan, Folic Acid, Taurine, Probiotics.

Why I like this brand:

Fromm has an extensive variety of dog (and cat!) foods based on the age, activity, size, life stage, protein type... you name it! It also features a line of unusual (aka 'exotic') proteins like 'game bird.' As for the exotic elements, I would stay away, as these foods have not been widely researched as sources of proteins for domestic dogs and cats. See Lisa M. Freeman, DVM, PhD, DACVN, on the subject of boutique or exotic proteins.


2. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Oatmeal


Wellness Complete Health Adult Dog Food

Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Oatmeal


Again, this product's contents impress me. Every one of the Wellness foods has a health-related purpose and dogs love the taste. (Wellness is a popular brand for my own dog and cat, although I feed the wet food!)

So, here are the ingredients in Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Oatmeal:

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Ground Barley, Ground Brown Rice, Tomato Pomace, Rye Flour, Canola Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Tomatoes, Rice Bran, Whitefish, Natural Chicken Flavor, Carrots, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Apples, Blueberries, Ground Flaxseed, Ground Millet, Dicalcium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Vitamins [Beta-Carotene, Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B-12 Supplement], Minerals [Zinc Sulfate, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite], Choline Chloride, Mixed Tocopherols (added to preserve freshness), Taurine, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, Chicory Root Extract, Garlic Powder, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Green Tea Extract, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum, Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation products, Rosemary Extract. This is a naturally preserved product.


Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Oatmeal


Why I like this brand:

  • Wellness Complete Health aims to fulfill the most important nutritional needs of dogs: digestive health, immunity, skin and coat, eyes, teeth, and gums and, of course, energy. There are no fillers!
  • It does not contain the harmful pea, lentil, and potato ingredients present in the dry foods identified by the FDA as being related to heart disease in dogs.
  • It does have many healthy whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, all necessary to your dog's vital needs.
  • Though by-products aren't really considered to be fillers, there are no by-products in Wellness Complete. Your dog eats chicken, not chicken by-products.
  • Dogs love it!


Explore other Wellness pet foods here. There are many healthy choices for dogs and cats with different needs, including those with grain-restricted or single ingredient wellness needs.


3. Health Extension Original Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe


Health Extension Original Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

Health Extension Original Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe


Health Extension makes a variety of healthy food for dogs and cats. It prides itself on using organically grown whole foods in all of its blends and The Original Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe is great for all dogs who do not have food sensitivity to grains. Its ingredients are:

Organic Chicken, Chicken Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and ascorbic acid and rosemary extract). Lamb Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Flax Seed, Dried Beet Pulp, Brewer Dried Yeast, Egg Product, Apple Cider Vinegar, Garlic, DHA, Ginger, Primrose Oil, Glucosamine HCL, Chondroitin, Trace Mineral Salt, DL Methione, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin E Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Coral Calcium, Vitamin D, Magnesium, Niacin Supplement, Choline chloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Biotin, Inositol, Omega 3 / Omega 6 Oils, Dehydrated Kelp, Polysaccharide Complexes of Zinc, Iron, Manganese, Copper and Cobalt, Calcium lodate, Sodium Selenite, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Colostrum, Blue/Green Algae, Pectin, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Enterococcus faecium, B. Subtillus, Bacillus lichenformis, Bacillus coagulins, Aspergillus oryzae and Aspergillus niger.

Why I like this brand:

  • Health Extension Original Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe is high in antioxidants and digestive aids appropriate for dogs of all ages.
  • Ingredients are organically grown.
  • The Original Chicken & Brown Rice comes in Little Bites, crafted especially for teacups, toys and miniature size dogs.
  • Food is made in small batches, making it easier to monitor for consistency.
  • Dogs love it!


There are many other dog foods currently considered quality foods that the FDA study connected with deaths from heart disease. Most of them, if not all, still contain those culprit ingredients - peas, legumes, and lentils. That is why those foods are not included here. Until they are re-formulated, I would look at the foods manufactured by the companies above.


related reads:

Some Dog Foods Contribute To Heart Disease In Dogs: Ingredients To Avoid

Post FDA Report: 7 Safe Grain-Free Dog Treats That Don't Contain Vegetable Proteins

5 Dog Treats With Whole Grains And Vegetables That Are Healthy For Dogs: Post FDA Study

You Will Soon Be Seeing Miscanthus As A Fiber Supplement In Your Pet's Food... And That's A Good Thing

'Because Animals' Creates Superfood Supplements For Dogs And For Cats

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