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FDA Issues Update on DCM

by June 28, 2019

The FDA released an update June 27 on its investigation into canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).  Concerns were raised last year on a possible connection to some diets labeled as “grain-free”.  Specifically diets containing a high proportion of peas, lentils and/or other legumes.     After reviewing the release it becomes apparent that they have reached no conclusions and they basically have no new evidence at this time to reach any conclusions.   They included the number of cases by breed of dog which as one would expect is dominated by Golden Retrievers and or Golden Retriever mixes along with Labrador Retrievers and Great Danes.    The diets that have been reported to the FDA were heavy with “grain-free” products and very heavy in peas and/or lentils as the carbohydrate source.   However,  potatoes were also included in the diets of 42% of the reported cases.   Potatoes are not a legume.  And there were still about 10% of the diets containing “grain” included as well.    Also of interest was that 348 of the 515 cases of DCM reported Chicken, lamb and fish were primary protein sources.   

Nutritional research indicates that taurine is generally not considered an essential amino acid for dogs, because these animals can synthesize taurine from cysteine and methionine. Nearly all the grain-free products had methionine-cystine values above the minimum nutritional requirement of 0.65 percent for adult maintenance food for dogs published in the AAFCO Official Publication (OP).

The FDA is still gathering information to better understand if (and how) taurine metabolism (both absorption and excretion) may have a role in these reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy.

The FDA concludes:

Based on the data collected and analyzed thus far, the agency believes that the potential association between diet and DCM in dogs is a complex scientific issue that may involve multiple factors.

We will keep you updated.  There are a lot of “irregularities” in the FDA update that have been  released so far.   Interesting to note that the Vet brands and a couple of majors (Purina, Hills, RC)  are not included in the list even though some of them utilize pea proteins and legumes in “grain free” foods.   The majors that pour buckets of money into vet schools.       However,  We understand if you are concerned and we have many alternatives to “grain free”.  

Least Cost Recipe

by May 17, 2019

A standard practice in the livestock feed industry is to formulate diets on a “least cost formulation”. In short the formulator for the feed manufacturer establishes a set of minimum nutrient standards for the diet (or recipe) and they may even set minimum and/or maximum allowable amounts of various feed ingredient restrictions. The various ingredients are priced to establish a value and then a computer program least cost formulates the diet. This means the lowest cost that meets the minimum specifications of the diet using the available ingredients. This may be fine for feedlot cattle and hogs on a finishing diet but many companies utilize the same strategy for your family pet foods. This is especially true of grocery store and big box store offerings which are merely focused on price. Do you want your family pet subject to ever changing formulas and the “cheapest” diet a manufacturer can produce?

Update on Grain Free Food Concern

by March 29, 2019

One of the hot button topics in the pet arena the past year has been an increase in the reported cases of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).   From January 1, 2014 to November 30, 2018 the FDA received 300 case reports of diagnosed DCM.  The FDA does not disclosed how many of these cases involved Golden Retrievers, a breed that is known to have taurine and heart issues that the FDA does not believe are representative of the overall population of dogs.

Recent updated reports and filings from the Pet Food Institute and the FDA probably raise more questions than they answer at this time but here is an attempt to summarize key points:

  • “FDA has not linked any specific pet food or ingredient to incidents of DCM and has not recommended removing or recalling any pet food from the market.”
  • “Millions of dogs are thriving on grain-free dog food every day. In comparison, FDA has received to date a relatively small number of valid reports indicating that certain grain-free diets may possibly have played a role in DCM.”
  • “The exact cause of recent reported incidents of DCM has not yet been identified. One avenue that FDA is investigating is the possible role specific ingredients and formulations in certain dog food recipes may play in development of DCM in some dogs.”
  • “At this time, it is not clear what it is about these diets that may be connected to DCM in dogs. There are multiple possible causes of DCM. Taurine deficiency is well-documented as a potential cause of DCM, but it is not the only cause of DCM. Nutritional makeup of the main ingredients or how dogs process them, main ingredient sourcing, processing, amount used, or other factors could be involved.”
  • “It’s important to note that the reports include dogs that have eaten grain-free and grain containing foods, and also include vegetarian or vegan formulations. They also include all forms of diets: kibble, canned, raw and home-cooked. This is why we do not think these cases can be explained simply by whether or not they contain grains, or by brand or manufacturer.”

We maintain a high level of confidence in all the products we carry here at Wholesome Pet Essentials.   They are all very high in meat which contain natural amino acids methionine and cystine which you dog uses to produce taurine.   In addition, almost all contain additional taurine supplementation.  This is not true of many big box and grocery store “grain free” brands.   However, should you have a Golden Retriever or have a concern about feeding a grain free diet we do have many alternatives to consider that do not contain legumes and/or potatoes.

Raw Feeding with Freeze Dried Foods

by March 5, 2019

Interested in a raw diet for either your dog or cat but you want to skip the daily cooking regimen or messing with frozen diets?   Freeze dried may be the answer.    Freeze dried food is made from cooked fresh foods with nearly all of the water content removed through a special process.   The end result is a light and dry product that is packaged in air tight containers for future use.   They remain good for a long time if the packaging remains intact.   The spoilage process doesn’t work without moisture so micro-organisms do not grow.      When your pet get’s hungry you simply add some water and dinner is ready to be served.

We carry several brands of freeze dried foods including Stella and Chewy’s, Primal and Nulo.   They tend to be very palatable as a quick reading of the label will show you it’s mostly meat!     One example:

Duck with ground bone, turkey, turkey liver, goose, turkey gizzard, pumpkin seed, organic cranberries, organic spinach, organic broccoli, organic beets, organic carrots, organic squash, organic blueberries, potassium chloride, dried kelp, sodium phosphate, tocopherols (preservative), choline chloride, dried Pediococcus acidilactici fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium longum fermentation product, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, taurine, calcium carbonate, vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, sodium selenite, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid.


Freeze dried foods can in most cases be fed as a stand alone meal or used as a “topper” to entice consumption.

Rotational Feeding (from Champion)

by December 28, 2018

WHAT IS ROTATIONAL FEEDING? Rotational feeding refers to a diet rotation that provides pets with regular dietary changes. Rotational feeding can be as simple as changing a dog’s food every other bag or changing it meal to meal. How often, how quickly and how drastically to switch a dog’s food depends on his stomach’s sensitivity to change and types of proteins, as well as a Pet Lover’s lifestyle. There are many different reasons to adopt a rotational feeding program, ranging from adding interest to meal times or adding nutritional variety. BENEFITS Round Out Nutrient Intake Each food in the ACANA Singles product line features a single animal protein and a perfectly paired fruit or vegetable to appease dogs with food sensitivities or flavor preferences. Different animal proteins have different amino acid and fatty acid profiles, as well as various minerals and vitamins. For example, beef contains significant amounts of iron but is lower in omega-3 fatty acids than pork1 . Amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins, differ slightly across different animal protein sources as well. Turkey meat contains higher amounts of the amino acid tryptophan than pork meat1 . Although all of our ACANA Singles recipes are balanced to be fed alone and meet the requirements as set out by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), rotational feeding adds variety. The dietary variation that dogs and cats’ wild cousins would experience is typically lost in regular feeding. Through rotational feeding, our pets gain diversity in their nourishment. Protein Exposure Food sensitivities exist in dogs but are often misdiagnosed or confused with food allergies2 . Food allergies cause an immune mediated response2 , whereas food sensitivities are much more common and traditionally manifest as poor food reactions, including soft stools, excess gas, itchy dry skin and itchy paws and ears3 . Just like humans, exposure to different proteins at a young age may decrease the chancesof developing food sensitivities. Feeding a rotational diet to a dog exposes them to a broader range of proteins and helps to prevent sensitivities. Flavor Fatigue Often, pets experience flavor fatigue from eating the same diet every day, just as we would. Rotational feeding keeps dogs and cats interested in the food and prevents flavor fatigue. Rotational feeding also offers the novelty of new foods4 . This can help boost intake for picky eaters or animals with a reduced appetite.

OPTIONS FOR ROTATIONAL FEEDING The Biologically Appropriate recipes in the new ACANA Singles line are ideal for rotational feeding. All diets are completely balanced to be fed alone and offer the unique opportunity to rotate between diets within the product line. Our ACANA Singles recipes are specifically designed to contain only five macro-ingredient classes with the same botanicals and low-glycemic carbohydrates allowing Pet Lovers to add the dietary variation traditionally seen in the wild, with minimal chance of gastrointestinal upset. If you would like more information on how to incorporate rotational feeding into dogs or cats’ diets, please contact our Customer Care team. References: 1. USDA Food composition database. Accessed April 4, 2018. DOI: 2. Chesney, C.J. 2006. Food sensitivity in the dog: a quantitative study. Journal of Small Animal Practice. 43(5): 203-207 3. Wills, R., & Harvey, R. 1994. Diagnosis and management of food allergy and intolerance in dogs and cats. Australian veterinary journal.71(10):322-6 4. Stasiak, M. 2002. The development of food preferences in cats: the new direction. Nutritional neuroscience. 5(4):221-


Small Business Saturday Specials!!!!

by November 20, 2018

Shop Small with WPE this Saturday!


We want to share Small Business Saturday with you! It’s a holiday shopping tradition, backed by American Express, that celebrates small businesses like ours. To celebrate the season and our amazing customers, we’ve got a lot planned!


For starters, the first 50 customers through the door will receive a welcome bag. We’ll also have raffle opportunities for a bunch of prizes including food, toys, gift cards and more! Additional in-store offers exclusive to #shopsmallsaturday include:


  • Nulo Pet Food
    $10 off 24-pound bags of dog food and $10 off 12-pound bags of cat food
    Buy 1, get one free NULO dog treats
  • World’s Best Cat Litter
    $5 off 12 to 14-pound bags of litter and $10 off 24-pound bags of litter
    Free can or bag of treats with a dry dog or cat food purchase
  • Weruva
    25% off cat food, canned food
    20% off dog food, canned food
  • Lotus Natural Food For Pets
    Buy one, get one free on all canned food (dog and cat)
    All Dog Kibble 5-pound bags on sale for $9.99 (save up to $11)
  • Pure Vita/Nutrisource
    $3 off small bags, $5 off medium bags and $7 off large bags of dog and cat food
  • OC Raw
    20% off frozen food, treats and bones
  • Stella & Chewy’s
    Buy a bag of kibble and receive a free stew wet formula
  • Vital Essentials
    Buy one, get one 50% off dog and cat treats
  • Earthborn Holistic
    $5 off 28-pound bag of dog food
  • Koha
    $1.00 off dog canned food
    $.50 off cat canned food
  • Primal Pet Food
    Buy one, get one free pet treats (limit one per household)
  • Sojos
    Buy one, get one free dog treats (limit one per household)
  • Christmas Toys
    20% off
  • Fluff & Tuff dog toys
    15% off
  • Bulk Dog Treats
    $6.99/lb (normally $8.99/lb)
  • No Hide Chews
    $1.00 off all sizes


So mark your calendar for THIS Saturday – and get ready to shop small – with us! Grab a friend or your furry family member and come by Wholesome Pet Essentials between 9 AM and 6 PM on the big day. We can’t wait to see you!

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