Hungry Bark for Puppy/Grain Free Updates

Hi everyone - it's been a while since I've been on DK (teddy has lymphoma but is in remission currently and we just got a new puppy, Oliver) but I've just gotten home from the vet and had some questions to run by the group :) Oliver is 13 weeks old and is still on the food the breeder sent home with him (TLC - which I've never heard of before - any thoughts?). I feed Teddy home-cooked food because he's always had gastro issues and he does well on it. I've decided it's a lot of work though and was really trying to not go down that path with Ollie - after a ton of research I decided to try the Hungry Bark subscription service  - still kibble based but just feel better since it's more customized. I told the vet about it this morning during Ollie's visit and she immediately asked if it was grain-free (it is but I wasn't sure at the time). She said there are health risks associated with grain-free diets (which I've done research on before and know is a hotly debated topic) and even gave me an article to take home written by a vet that talks about how 'commercial diets' including grain are best for dogs. Your thoughts and insight are much appreciated on the grain-free topic as well as any experience with Hungry Bark. TIA!

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  • First, I'm glad that Teddy is in remission, and I hope he stays there for a good long time. <3
    Next, TLC is a breeder food sold through the same type of multilevel marketing program (think pyramid scheme) as Life's Abundance. The lack of transparency and pricing based on many levels of commissions are two reasons I don't recommend it. 
    I am not a fan of these subscription type food plans/companies for several reasons. Without knowing the specific formula your pup is eating, including a full list of ingredients and a nutritional analysis, I can't really comment on it. The website claims that most of the ingredients are sourced in the U.S. and a few other countries are mentioned, but I would feel better if I could see a statement that they do not source from China. 
    Regarding the grain-free issue and the vet, the problem is that the vets are only getting the information that Big Dog Food (Purina, Hill's, and Mars) wants to give them. I am certain that the article you were given is one that was written more than a year ago by a vet who works for BDF and is paid to support the party line. 
    But the fact is that after more than three years of research, they still have not been able to show any connection between grain free food and any type of heart disease or health risk in dogs. And in fact, the latest summaries of the research findings support that. You might want to send your vet a copy of this article, which she should have read herself, seeing as it was published in a mainstream veterinary publication. Unfortunately, many if not most vets get all of their information regarding nutrition from the salespeople at Hill's & Purina.

    While further research is needed, a literature review of 150 studies indicates dilated cardiomyopathy is inherited in dogs:

    "Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs is largely an inherited disease and not the result of a grain-free or legume-rich diet.

    This is according to a literature review of 150 studies on the causes of DCM conducted by a group of veterinarians, veterinary cardiologists, and animal nutritionists from BSM Partners published in the Journal of Animal Science (JAS). BSM is a pet care research and consulting firm that works with numerous pet food companies.

    According to the authors, the analysis found no definitive relationship between grain-free and legume-rich diets and incidents of DCM. Further, they say the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) reported cases of DCM include incomplete information (e.g. no mention of a dog’s diet history, age, etc.), making it impossible to draw any sound conclusions from this data.

    “We wanted to gain the best understanding of this issue, so we examined the results of more than 150 studies, which taken together, did not support a link between grain-free and legume-rich diets and DCM,” says Sydney McCauley, PhD, an animal nutritionist and the review’s lead author. “What the science does make clear is DCM is largely an inherited disease.”

    So, do what I've been doing for the past 14 years. Ignore your vet's advice on diet and just don't discuss it with her, lol. Her training qualifies her to talk about medicine, not nutrition. :)

    Grain-free diet not linked to DCM in dogs, research review finds
    Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs is largely an inherited disease and not the result of a grain-free or legume-rich diet.
    • Thanks, Karen! I was hoping to hear from you:) Thanks for the kind words about Teddy - he went through 6 months of chemo and came out of remission 6 weeks later. We now have him on pred and are hoping for the best (hate that drug though...he's ravenous and not himself).

      I sort of thought what you presented was the current line of thinking with Dilated cardiomyopathy and grain-free diets - I guess I was just so surprised that they were pretty hard-core about it this morning at the vet. My neighbor goes to the same vet and they told her the same thing. It blows my mind that they still have their heads in the sand about this issue. In fact, the doc we saw previously there was giving us the hard sell on purina or royal canin. So frustrating.

      Yes, I'm dying to get Ollie off the TLC but wanted to get him stabilized first as he had some tummy upset and we weren't sure what it was from. Do you have any thoughts on Hungry Bark? I know those subscription services are all the rage now but they do all get very good reviews. We wanted to do Spot and Tango or The Farmer's Dog, but they are $$$$. I got Ollie the lamb and turkey kibble through Hungry Bark and am hoping to start transitioning this weekend.

      Is there still a recommended food list on DK - I looked but only saw one from a few years ago.

      On another note, do you know of any reason I wouldn't receive notifications when someone replies to my thread? I've had a hard time with this over the last few years and don't get near the email notifications I used to get before the site was switched over a while back. Thanks!

      • Regarding the notifications, it's been a problem since the site swiitched over to the new platform a couple of years back. All of your previous "follow" settings were canceled out; you have to redo all of them, including being notified when someone replies to your discussions. It's a PITA, lol. 
        I really have no opinion about Hungry Bark. I hate the Farmer's Dog, lol. One of the things that really sets me off is when a company makes blatantly false staements in their advertising, and the Farmer's Dog is full of those. They actually have a TV commercial in which a supposed customer states "it cured my dog's allergies". I feel like throwing something at the TV every time I hear that. For me, it cancels out any possible good thing the food might have to offer. Either they are knowingly lying, or they are completely ignorant of the most basic facts regarding health and diet. In either case, it sure doesn't give you much faith in the company, lol. I'm not familiar with Spot & Tango. As I mentioned above, I did look at the Hungry Bark website, but there is not enough info there to give me confidence in them. It all seems very gimmicky to me. And at a time when supply chain and delivery issues are very rocky, I'd think about looking for a food that you can buy locally rather than having to depend on deliveries. If you want to go that route, I can help with choices. 
        We do still have a recommended list here. It hasn't been updated in a while, but the brands on there are still recommended and I have faith in them. There's a link on the Food Group home page. 

      • Oh, and reviews of these pet food subscription services mean nothing. A lot of times, people are paid to give good reviews. You can find great reviews on line for Old Roy, too. ;) 

    • I just realized you may have been talking about Hungry Bark as opposed to TLC at the beginning of your original comment. Here is the link to the HB nutrition info: just in case


      Superfoods w/ Lamb + Turkey (Grain-Free)
      <meta charset="utf-8"><span>If you're searching for a well-balanced, superfood-enriched grain-free dry food for your dog, this is the one! While a gr…
      • No, I was talking about the Hungry Bark site in my first reply. I did look at that.
        What I'm wondering is, why you prefer the ready-made kibble products like the one you linked above to kibbles from recommended brands on our list, that are available in stores? Or are you planning to buy a custom formula? 

        • Well, that is a great question and I started thinking about that right after I received my 1st order and then went back to look at something on their site and realized that it's really not "customized" at all but that anyone can go on the site and buy their products. Without getting too in depth with my thought process (and I know I am WAY over-thinking this...probably because I want to do the best I can for Oliver seeing that Teddy got cancer so early in his life), in a perfect world I would continue to cook meals for Ollie as I'm doing for Teddy (for personal reasons - just my thoughts on nutrition, etc) but really don't want to commit to the time it takes. I started looking at human grade, fresh food delivery services and they were so pricey that I moved to their kibble options. Ideally I would do the Spot and Tango "unkibble" but, again, very pricey. Hence how I landed on Hungry Bark- thinking I could supplement with fresh-food toppers (thus making myself feel better about the kibble option, lol). So I guess the answer is I'm really at war with myself - trying to make myself feel okay with just doing kibble (and, if so, which one?!) when I really believe that cooking is the way to go. Honestly, it took me FOREVER to decide on Hungry Bark and now I'm rethinking that decision - good grief, I'm driving myself crazy! :) :)

          • Here's the thing. I can pretty much guarantee you that Teddy getting cancer early in life had nothing to do with his eating kibble. Yes, fresh food (or dehydrated raw) is "healthier", but there are tens of thousands of dogs eating kibble who live to be 16 and never have any health issues. With all of Jack's health issues, I never thought that his eating kibble might be responsible for any of them, and in fact, it wasn't. :)
            Kibbles that contain artificial preservatives and colorings, synthetic vitamin K, ingrdients from China, and/or are nutritionally inadequate or incomplete can play a role in the development of disease, which is why this group exists in the first place. I don't want anyone's dog to die from eating Purina Puppy Chow. But kibble itself is really not the problem. 
            How about looking at one of the dehydrated raw products like Stella & Chewy's? 

            • I guess nutritionally I've just always struggled with kibble - shelf life, hard, brown pellets, we don't eat that way, etc, etc. It's not that I actually think it gave Teddy cancer - I'm just always trying to be overall health/nutrition conscious. Same with flea/heartworm control, etc - struggle with that too...but that's for another day, lol. I haven't given much thought to dehydrated raw - don't know much about it. Have always been a little 'icked' out by it and am fearful of salmonella contamination - my own preconcieved notions, I guess. I will look into it though!

              • No "ick" factor or fear of contamination with the commercial freeze dried raw products. (I should have said freeze-dried, not dehydrated). I have those same issues with feeding raw. But the Stella & Chewy's nuggets and patties are perfectly safe, and might be a good compromise for you. I use the Meal Mixer nuggets as kibble topping, and I'd switch to just feeding the patties exclusively with no worries if I had a good reason to do it. 
                Here's some info that might ease your mind about the safety issues. 

                Pet Food Safety: Dog & Cat Food | Stella & Chewy's
                At Stella & Chewy’s, food safety is our #1 priority. Learn more about our process to make safe dog and cat food while keeping flavor and nutrient val…
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