Natural Nutrition, Backed By Science
What's Different About Genius Pet Food?
The trouble with grain free food
Veterinarians worldwide are becoming increasingly concerned about the feeding of grain free pet foods causing nutritional dilated cardiomyopathy, which can lead to heart failure and death in dogs.
Nutritional DCM is currently thought to be due to poorly formulated diets with high inclusion rates of legumes such as peas, chickpeas and lentils. These ingredients contribute to an imbalance in the amino acid taurine, which then affects heart function.
This imbalance may be due to low levels of methionine and cysteine (from which dogs make taurine) in the diet or poor absorption of these amino acids in the gut due to high fibre levels and poor bioavailability.
Why is grain free so popular?
Grain free pet foods have increased in popularity over the last decade due some really clever marketing tactics by smaller pet food companies looking to differentiate themselves from larger, established pet food manufacturers.
Many pet owners now falsely believe that grains are a major cause of allergies in pets, when in fact most food allergies are caused by meat proteins, most commonly chicken and beef.
The trend towards low carbohydrate pet foods has led many pet owners to incorrectly assume that a grain free food must be lower in carbohydrates. This is not always the case.
Grains have also been deemed 'fillers' of no nutritional value when in fact they are a highly digestible source of vital amino acids such as methionine and cysteine in a diet.
Peas - the new filler
Traditionally legumes have been used in small amounts in pet foods as a complimentary protein source, as they provide a valuable source of the amino acid lysine. This is how we have formulated our food.
With the increased popularity of grain free pet foods legumes have become a cheap way to inflate the protein content of a food. Inclusion rates in some pet foods have reached 40%. At which point they are now a primary protein source.
If you see peas and other legumes high in an ingredient list then they are contributing a large amount of protein and you should be concerned about this.
Your pet's long term health depends on the decisions that you make about their food. We recommend choosing a brand that:
Is NOT grain free
Contains meat as its number one ingredient
Lists a grain in the ingredient list ahead of any legumes
Contains more 'traditional' and well researched ingredients
Does not engage in the practice of 'ingredient splitting' on their labels - peas, pea flour and pea fibre are all peas!