Category Archives: Pet Safety

Healthy Pets Northwest was founded twenty years ago with the goal of helping pets live longer, happier, healthier lives. It breaks our hearts when we here about people losing a pet for any reason because we know from experience how hard and painful it is. We also understand why the recent reports from the FDA combined with news coverage and social media attention about canine dilated cardiomyopathy (CDM) and diet are causing such concern.

In our twenty years, we have been through minor recalls to massive recalls like the one in 2007 that emptied store shelves. This current scare is not the same. That does not mean that we are ignoring or downplaying the issue. We are looking at all the facts we can find from every trusted, reliable source available, including the FDA.

In its most recent report on June 27, 2019, the FDA tried to clear up some of the rumors and misinformation from its earlier reports. This is one of the conclusions the FDA reached in its own report:

"Therefore, we do not think these cases can be explained simply by whether or not they contain grains, or by brand or manufacturer. To put this issue into proper context, the American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that there are 77 million pet dogs in the United States. As of April 30, 2019, the FDA has received reports about 560 dogs diagnosed with DCM suspected to be linked to diet. Tens of millions of dogs have been eating dog food without developing DCM.”

The FDA also admitted in that report that it does not even know whether this is a real crisis or not.

“Because the occurrence of different diseases in dogs and cats is not routinely tracked and there is no widespread surveillance system like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have for human health, we do not have a measure of the typical rate of occurrence of disease apart from what is reported to the FDA.”

What else do we know from the FDA report?

  • There was no recall, just a listing of brands associated with reports.
  • Foods from small manufacturers to the three largest were on the list.
  • Not all the foods on the list were “grain-free.”
  • Chicken was the most commonly fed protein.
  • The overwhelming majority of dogs in the report ate only dry kibble.
  • 25% of cases involved dog breeds predisposed to DCM.
  • Nutritional levels between grain-free and grain-containing products were similar.
  • 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 does not recommend changing foods.
  • The FDA is continuing to study the issue.

What can you do going forward?

  1. Add raw food to your pet’s diet. The amino acids taurine, cystine, and methionine only come naturally from animal sources. Even a little bit on a regular basis will go a long way to improving your pet’s health.
  2. Rotate your pet’s diet. Change proteins, manufacturers and even food types. If you are uncomfortable with raw, we recommend adding freeze-dried, lightly cooked, and canned foods to your dog’s diet. Just remember, if your dog is not used to variety, go slowly and give his system a chance to adapt. Michael and Barb feed Meadow a variety of proteins like beef, pork, lamb, chicken, venison, duck and rabbit using raw, freeze-dried and canned foods.
  3. Add meaty treats. Freeze-dried muscle meat, liver and heart are super additions, with chicken liver and hearts leading the way for the highest natural taurine.
  4. Add raw, fermented goat’s milk and kefir. These are super sources of nutrition and probiotics.

These are not new recommendations from us. They have been part of our nutritional philosophy since the very beginning of Healthy Pets Northwest.

What if you are still concerned about “grain-free?”

Talk with us and we’ll be glad to make recommendations for foods that include grains and that do not contain legumes or potatoes. We carry a wide range of options because we know dogs have different needs and families have different situations and budgets.

If you have questions, please reach out to us. We are here to help.

We know there is a lot of information to go through, and that the situation is still up in the air. Please be assured, that we will take appropriate steps if actionable information comes to light.
We thank you for trusting us with your pet’s health and we promise to do everything we can to deserve your trust every day.

Barb Cantonwine, Michael Carroll, Donna Trilli and Dennis Breslin
The Healthy Pets Northwest Ownership

We would like to thank our friends at Aloha Natural Pet Supply in Vancouver, WA for these winter weather tips.

Let’s talk temperature!

Bently loves his warm coat.

wear a sweater or coat when out for winter walks. A good coat should reach from the neck to the base of the tail and also protect the belly. But remember that coats will not prevent frostbite on the ears, feet or tail ... so even with a cozy coat, don’t keep your short haired dog out too long in freezing temperatures.

If your dog feels the cold, try to walk her in the late morning or early afternoon hours when temperatures are a little warmer, and avoid early morning or late evening walks. Spend time playing outdoors while it’s sunny; sunshine brings the added benefit of providing both you and your pet with vitamin D. Play fetch with toys, not sticks, which can cause choking and other injuries. So, if your dog likes to chew and chase, pack a Frisbee, ball or other safe toy and play together in the sun.

Limit outdoor time in winter

Your family pet may love to spend time outdoors but in winter even the furriest dog can get cold. Ears, paws and tails are all susceptible to frostbite. Take your dog out frequently for walks, exercise and play ... but when the temperature drops, don’t leave him outdoors for long periods of time. A good rule is to go out with him and when you’re ready to come in, he probably will be too. If he’s outside in your yard by himself, check often to make sure he’s not showing signs of feeling cold.

Cozy bedding

In addition to limiting your dog’s time outdoors on cold days, don’t let your pooch sleep on a cold floor in winter. Choosing the right bedding is vital to ensure your dog stays warm. Warm blankets can create a snug environment; raised beds can keep your dog off cold tiles or concrete, and heated pet beds can help keep the stiffness out of aging joints. Place your dog’s bed in a warm spot away from drafts, cold tile or uncarpeted floors, preferably in a favorite spot where she sleeps every day so that the area doesn’t feel unfamiliar.

Protect your dog from heaters

Dogs will often seek heat during cold winter weather by snuggling too close to heating sources. Avoid space heaters and install baseboard radiator covers to avoid your pet getting burned. Fireplaces also pose a major threat so please make sure you have a pet proof system to keep your heat-seeking pal out of harm’s way!


Dry and cold weather can do a number on your pet’s skin. Help prevent dry, flaky skin by adding a skin and coat supplement to her food. Coconut oil is a good natural moisturizer that can help keep your pet’s skin and coat healthy. If you find your pet’s paws, ears or tail are dry or cracking, you can also apply coconut oil topically as needed.

No overfeeding please!

Although dogs may need an extra layer in winter, make sure it comes from a coat and not a layer of fat. Cold temperatures may even bring on lazy behavior and the need for fewer calories. Be attentive to your dog’s activity level and adjust her calories accordingly. A high quality, whole foods, preferably raw meat based diet will help ensure a healthy coat and good energy for the cold winter months.

Keep your dog hydrated

Dogs can dehydrate just as quickly in winter as summer. Although many dogs eat snow, it’s not an adequate substitute for fresh water. If your dog spends time outdoors in your yard, make sure she has access to a water bowl, check it often and break ice that forms on top.

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