Dog Food Buyer Beware

by | Dog Health

More and More Dog Foods Are Making Dogs Sick!

For years, dog owners have faced challenges when choosing food for their dogs but the situation is getting increasingly dire. In just the last three months, we’ve seen well-known dog foods causing serious sometimes fatal illnesses.

  • Dilated cardiomyopathy, a potentially fatal heart disease (1)
  • Megaesophagus, a potentially fatal pouching of the esophagus (2)
  • Vitamin D toxicity, which can cause serious health issues (3)
  • Foods possibly containing glyphosate or Roundup® (4)

This growing list comes just a decade after the 2007 pet-food crisis when over 150 brands were recalled because they contained melamine. Although we’ll never know for sure, estimates are that over 8500 cats and dogs died from consuming this toxin in their food (5).

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Most of us have become accustomed to recalls due to bacteria, particularly in raw pet foods that are made from commercially raised chickens, which we know carry salmonella. However, dry and canned dog foods have also been recalled for the same reason (6). Although annoying, this contamination now seems simple by comparison since it can be handled by treating dog food like raw meat (7). Wash your hands before and after touching it. Use hot water and soap to clean up utensils, counters, etc. Don’t cross-contaminate. Most of us know how to do things things since we handle and cook meat in our kitchens for ourselves.

Dealing with a common bacteria is different than well-made dog foods causing severe illness or even killing our dogs. The latter is a serious breach of trust from the very experts who should be keeping our dogs safe. For years, dog-food manufacturers have admonished us against adding anything to our dog’s food, saying it will unbalance their nutrition. Veterinarians have warned against giving dogs “people food,” claiming it may cause upset if not illness. And don’t even consider feeding your dog a homemade or raw diet! The warnings about those two options begin with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and trickle down to most local veterinarians.

So now dog owners are between a rock and a hard place. If we add to or make our own dog food, experts say we will harm our dogs. Yet, commercial dog foods created and touted by these same experts are falling so short that they are killing our buddies. And the old stand-by foods being recommended in place of the dangerous ones often cause chronic conditions in dogs, such as hot spots, ear infections, itching, diarrhea, constipation and more.

Choosing a dog food is a very important decision for you and for your dog! Our dogs no longer roam freely so their only source of food is what we provide them. Aside from occasionally counter surfing, our dogs rely 100% on us for their nutrition. Thus, we must choose their food well. Very well! It’s a tough time to be a dog owner so please pay attention to what is happening in the dog-food arena and choose your dog’s food wisely!

P.S.—We don’t have all the answers but if you want to hear some suggestions on strategies to get your dog through this period, Chris Zink, DVM PhD and I are holding a live webinar, Feeding the Active Dog, on January 25, 2019 at 6 PM EST. More info here.


  1. lynnebruce5

    Hello Avidog, I am a long time breeder (45 yrs) of top winning internationally known Scottish Deerhounds and I attended one of your seminars on breeding in Ottawa during the CKC AGM. It was recommended that I join your program as I have had very bad success with getting my bitches pregnant recently. I had in the past started them in the show ring and then give them a year or so before breeding. This meant they were being bred at age 4 plus. I have changed my tactic now and I have two young bitches that have mostly stayed home. They have both had one season and I want to breed both on their next season. I have spoken to a French breeder and he plans to send me frozen semen from one of his sires. I am planning to use a vet clinic in Kelowna that is familiar with repro techniques. This will cost a lot of money and I want to do everything I possibly can to ensure I get puppies. Polly, the older girl came in season April 28th 2018 at 14 months and I expect her back in season by the end of February. She was on antibiotics for two weeks during her season. The males showed most interest in her on day 16. I did not do any progesterone testing. I did buy an ovulator indicator at your seminar. If you could give me any advice about anything I should do to prepare I would appreciate it thank you. Lynne Bruce Hounds of Hollyrood

    • Gayle Watkins


      It sounds like you have some exciting breedings ahead of you! We have several courses to help breeders optimize fertility and success with each litter:Avidog Transformational Puppy Rearing</em> is a primer and Your Litter A to Z thoroughly addresses those issues, as well as every aspect once the pups are born. Or you can take the entire breeding curriculum through our Platinum Breeder College Membership, through which you get both of the above courses plus Stud Dog Management and more. Hope to see you in our courses!

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