I responded a few hours ago with a post that took me almost an hour to write, cover all the details, etc.... and the post disappeared.... SOOOoooooo frustrating.
So.....i will try to recap here:
Think back about 5 or 6 years ago when grain free food was mostly made with sweet potato or potatoes or tapioca.... you didn't hear of DCM being a problem with dogs being fed grain free food.
Fast forward to a few years ago when dog food companies started pushing peas as high protein (more profit for them as peas are much cheaper than sweet potato) and they started swapping out sweet potatoes for peas.. big time....remember ????? Then we started noticing our dogs started having issues again (with SID)
Now fast forward to present time..... all of a sudden you started hearing about a rash of DCM. There is a ton of valid, peer reviewed quantified research that really gets into the weeds about DCM on this website
Unfortunately everyone is so busy nowadays that they don't take the time or don't have the time to read full/detailed valid research- -everyone wants everything in easy to read brief articles or soundbites.... and this is probably why so much information gets skewed or is misleading and the science gets misquoted.
if you really read the actual scientific research it is the lack of high quality protein that appears to be the trigger, not necessarily "grain-free" foods, but rather the ingredients in commercial food that is missing the real nutrition that dogs (and cats) need in their diet.....
instead nowadays much commercial pet food is now packed with cheap ingredients that also actually inhibit proper assimilation of the necessary nutrients.
And this happened in a big wave with mostly grain free foods. They changed the ingredient composition with grossly insufficient ingredients
The pet food industry started swapping out sweet potatoes, white potatoes, tapioca, or combo's of this & rice with peas and lentils which are much cheaper (but not a useful protein for dogs) and they started doing it in a big way. Now you see multiple cheap ingredients in a food like: peas, pea flour, pea fiber, chick peas, lentils, etc, lessening the quality protein that dogs need...
SO.... what do you do????
We still suggest to go with a low fiber food for EPI dogs... BUT... avoid foods with multiple sources of peas and or lentils.
Also.... avoid foods that have peas/lentils as the first top 3 ingredients (maybe even avoid those with these as the first top 4 ingredients)
Be responsible.... READ THE LABEL and scrutinize the ingredients.... it is all about the ingredients!
The good thing that came about from this is vet researchers started scrambling to find out why DCM started happening more frequently now... we now have many more answers... like even some meats are low proteins and should not be fed long term to a dog, (like lamb -based protein.... not so great after all).
For EPI pets... we have always suggested to look in the grain free food section because that is where you find the most "low-fiber" content food. It is fiber that can interfere with the efficacy of enzymes anywhere from 0%"to 50%. It is LOW FIBER content food that EPI pets usually (but not always) appear to do better with. As it is certain types of fiber that are beneficial and certain types of fiber that hinder our dogs digestion................... (read the fiber page)
If a low fiber food doesn't work for your dog, then try a food with some grain in it like rice. After all... we don't know from one dog to the next how much damage is done in their body with EPI and consequently how well or not well they will be able to tolerate grain with their enzyme intake... ALthough most appear to do much better with low fiber foods....
And last but not least..... remember.... ANYONE can write an article and get it published. Sometimes even research itself is skewed cause a company that has a vested interest in the outcome of the research up-fronts the money for the research.... so always, ALWAYS, look for "peer-reviewed" research. quantified and qualified research. Don't be suckered in by media reports written by some journalist.... or media snippet. Check it out yourself and if reading about research... do check the references (other research) that was used to support that documentation. If your vet recommends something....do your research on this too, as many times vets (and drs) can only go by what THEY are told as they too don't have time to fully research something.........