Dogs, Pet Food

A scoop a day for a stronger heart

Dogs are facing an epidemic that has plagued humans for the better part of 50 years. Obesity is increasing at a pace of over 80% since 2005 with over 54% of dogs being labeled as obese. Not shockingly, they have gone the same path as their owners, but why?

Bad Science

For over 30 years, at least in America, we have been told to avoid fat, and eat more “healthy carbs”, yet we’ve gotten bigger. When you go to the grocery store, take a look around at all of the low fat, no fat, and reduced-fat options that exist….There are more than ever and their sales are higher than ever……yet we are larger than ever.

The largest pet food manufacturers have a history of what?!

You probably didn’t know that the largest pet food manufacturers in the U.S. have their roots firmly planted in…….Candy. Yes, that’s right, candy. Nestlé and Mars are 2 of the largest manufacturers of pet food and have helped set the course of “nutrition” that dog food diets have used for years. Is it really a coincidence that they aren’t as worried about levels of carbohydrates and I don’t know….diabetes?

What do the numbers say

Obesity 54% of all dogs are obese
(more than 30% overweight)
  An increase of 80% since 2005
  An increase of 32% since 2011
Diabetes 296,666 dogs had diabetes in 2017
  1 in 300
  2/10 dogs euthanized w/in 12 months
of diagnosis
  60,000 dogs die from diabetes every
Odds your dog will be hit by a car 1,200,000
  1 in 74

Simply put, this is the biggest nutritional threat your dog faces. Unfortunately, these companies have incredibly deep pockets and the ability to buy influence on a massive scale as they have spent years financing Veterinarian schools & students. 

How does this affect my dog’s heart?

The number one cause of cardiovascular disease……….You guessed it, obesity. With 54% of all dogs suffering from obesity, it’s only common sense that since we’ve checked off diabetes as one of the more common diseases facing our four-legged friends. However, the one lurking in the shadows…..Heart Disease. 

In people, we know if you have diabetes, you are twice as likely to die from heart disease. In fact, 65% of people with diabetes die from heart disease. Over time, the excess blood sugar that exists in the blood due to the lack of insulin to convert it to fat or energy damages the blood vessels and nerves that control the heart. This results in a weaker heart that is no longer able to pump the way it should. 

What else can cause heart problems?

Ever hear the saying, “too much of a good thing”? You can literally eat or drink too much of anything. You can die from drinking too much water, exercising too much at one time, or even eating too much salt in one sitting…..Does that mean we shouldn’t drink water, exercise, or consume salt? Absolutely not, but you do have to be aware of how you incorporate each of these.

Unfortunately, in the pet food industry, many manufacturers move too quickly when developing new products and don’t take the time to consider if what they’re making can and will, have unintended consequences. I believe with 100% conviction that unfortunately dogs are being fed diets way too high in carbohydrates, and have been for a long time. This is a result of foods being much easier to make when they are loaded with starches and happen to be cheaper.

I also believe that some brands have pushed too hard to ‘remove” grain, and in turn, ended up creating diets that had very little research behind the ingredients being used. When you look at the foods listed in the DCM study by the FDA, many of them use 5-6 different types of peas & pea protein that probably account for close to 40% of the diet in some cases, maybe even more. They also list about 13 different kinds of “fresh meats” to continue bumping the rest of the ingredients down the list.

How our food is different

Well, we didn’t produce our first grain free diet until 2015. You see, we wanted to have a solid understanding of how we could benefit the dog if we introduced a grain free diet. With a history of making dairy feeds for over 4 decades, we knew that what we put in the feed could change the composition of the milk produced, and that balancing specific amino acids, sugars, probiotics, and protein sources all played a vital role. 

Instead of just loading our ingredients into a feed program generator and hitting the “calculate” button, we took time to meet with our Ph.D. nutritionists and examine each ingredient and where we could potentially cause problems. One of the things both of our Ph.D. nutritionists advised us to do was keep legumes under 20%, because after the diets exceed this level, there’s not a clear understanding of how it affects the stomach acid and if this could have a negative reaction towards nutrient absorption (appears that it may). Fortunately, we don’t have any diets that contain over 16%, with many of them coming in under 5%.

The other thing we did was use proven proteins that have high levels of cysteine and methionine, and we incorporate appropriate levels of B vitamins in the diet that are necessary for taurine synthesis. By taking all of these things into consideration, moving slowly, and not using the cheapest path on formulating our diets, we have one of the few brands that were not listed on the FDA’s 3 reports. 

Extra preventative steps that can be taken

If you’re new to Muenster, have an obese dog, or maybe just an older dog that you’re concerned could have heart issues, one of the best things you can do is provide a supplement like Taurine. Taurine is an essential amino acid that’s responsible for strengthing the heart and allowing it to pump the blood through the chambers. When you have a weak heart, it’s not able to pump blood all the way out of the left ventricle. This results in congestion within the heart as well as reduced oxygen levels.

How do I feed my dog extra taurine?

As we all know, feeding your dog supplements and medicine is difficult because most of the time it doesn’t taste good, and it’s full of useless & unpalatable ingredients like vegetable glycerin. What we did different, is take taurine and mixed it to a Freeze-Dried meat, you can learn more about this process here. This provides a very palatable and appetizing product that allows you to provide your dog with an incredible supplement. That is also made using ingredients naturally rich in Taurine like Beef heart, beef liver, beef tripe. What you won’t find in it; glycerin, flour, rice, peas, potatoes, or any other filler.

Dr Verwers Heart Strong supplement

  How much Taurine is in the topper, and will my dog eat it? 

Enough to ensure your dog is getting an adequate supply regardless of what food they’re eating. This will raise the amount of taurine to at least .15% of their diet when fed according to our feeding directions. The best thing about this topper?? It makes the food taste absolutely incredible. If you add this do your dogs bowl, they’ll not only have a boost in one of the most powerful amino acids for heart health, they’ll also be members of the clean bowl club!

For more information on our Heart Strong Taurine Topper, just click here

If your dog doesn’t absolutely love it, we’ll give you a refund 🙂

-Mitch Felderhoff, 4th Generation owner.

Dr Verwers Heart Strong supplement

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