Update on Taurine-Deficiency Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Thanks to the staff at Lake Harriet Veterinary clinic in Minneapolis, who held an informational session on this topic. This summary is based on the information they passed along: The bottom line, unfortunately, is that there is still no answer about what is the cause of this heart disease. There appears to be a connection between eating grain free diets containing legumes or potatoes (white or sweet)—even diets that contain adequate taurine levels—and becoming taurine deficient; however, there is a wide range of timeframes during which the dog eats grain free before developing taurine deficiency: some dogs are affected in a very short time (a month or so) and other dogs eat grain-free food their whole lives and are never affected. The reason for the different response times is unknown. Golden Retrievers and Border Collies have a higher incidence of diet-responsive taurine deficiency than other breeds. “Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a form of heart disease in which the heart muscle becomes weak and the heart becomes enlarged. This results in poor heart function, leading to exercise intolerance, collapse, pale gums, coughing, and panting. Eventually, DCM results in complete heart failure. Many dogs show no symptoms until the disease is quite advanced.” (from the Lake Harriet Veterinary session handout) DCM is not inconsequential, and we still can’t predict who will be susceptible or how long it will take to develop. So, what should you do? First, forget my advice from the previous newsletter about supplementing with taurine. Why? Because if one of the current hypotheses ends up being true – that grain free diets (legumes and/or potato) bind taurine or interfere with the production of taurine in the dog’s body – and you continue to feed [...]

By |2018-11-16T12:14:05+00:00November 1st, 2018|Recalls & Safety Information|1 Comment

Regarding the Grain-Free Food Connection to Cardiomyopathy

Many have asked me my take on the recent concerns raised about grain free dog foods.  Here it is: As I understand it, there isn’t unequivocal data about the link between legume-rich dog food and dilated cardiomyopathy (legumes commonly used in dog food are peas, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), and lentils).  It’s probably a more complex problem than what’s being presented right now.  Legumes may interfere with the production of taurine (a heart-friendly amino acid) in the body.  There seems to be a genetic component in some of the cases.  This should concern you if you have a golden retriever, for example, because that is one breed where there seems to be a connection between legumes and heart disease. While we wait for more research to identify the exact mechanisms at work, there are some ways you can respond: Some dog food manufacturers—NutriSource for one—is already upping the taurine added to their formulas. I suspect that other manufacturers will supplement with taurine or up the amount if they already add it.  They’ve been doing it for years with cat food; now it’s dogs’ turn. You can give your dog supplemental taurine yourself. Consult with your vet to determine dosage. You can rotate foods for your dog. If you’ve ever spoken with me about what food to feed your dog, you’ve heard me say, “All of them.”  I am a strong proponent of rotating foods, and this issue just adds to the reasons why.  Say you feed your dog the same thing year after year.  What if that food you have chosen has too much or too little of a nutrient that your dog needs?  We don’t know what is the ideal food for a dog—and every [...]

By |2018-09-10T19:49:21+00:00September 10th, 2018|Recalls & Safety Information|0 Comments

RECALL NOTICE – Evanger’s and Against the Grain Canned Food

Evanger’s has recalled ALL lots of the following three varieties of canned food.  If you have any of these three, please return it to the place of purchase for a full refund: Evanger’s Hunk of Beef Evanger’s Braised Beef Chunks Against the Grain Pulled Beef For more information please visit:

By |2017-05-18T11:14:34+00:00February 28th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Discontinuing Wellness Products Due to Chinese Ingredients

We just discovered that WellPet (makers of Wellness brand foods and treats) have started sourcing some preservative ingredients (green tea extract and mixed tocopherols) in China. Because of this, we have decided to discontinue those products. The Pure Rewards and Wellbites that are on the shelf are the old recipe. They won't be replaced. We are sorry to have to do this, and we've told WellPet that. Wellness canned food will remain. The dry food and treats are out until they modify their recipes to stop using ingredients from China. If you currently feed your dog any WellPet products, please stop by the store and we can help you pick out alternatives.

By |2016-10-01T16:24:30+00:00September 30th, 2016|Products|2 Comments

2016 Nature-Based Therapeutic Conference Speak! A Kinship of All Creatures: Broadening our Knowledge of Human-Animal Interactions

Total Dog Company has signed on to be an endorsing organization for the MN Landscape Arboretum's 2016 Nature-Based Therapeutic Conference Speak! A Kinship of All Creatures: Broadening our Knowledge of Human-Animal Interactions. About the Conference Research suggests our connection to animals is important to human health and well-being. Speak! is a conference about our human partnership with animals, the natural world and the ways of interacting with animals increases individual health and community well-being. This conference will provide participants with new understanding of how human connections with animals advance work in schools, non-profits, social services, healthcare, community groups, faith-based organizations, and families. The purpose of Speak! is to: Broaden our knowledge of animal intelligence Deepen our understanding of animal feelings Transform the way we view non-human animals Apply practice skills and methods with animal emotions in mind Inspire and delight the audience with new sounds and information Event Details Wednesday, October 26, 2016 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. MacMillan Auditorium, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Please note: While we love our four legged friends, we ask that participants not bring their animals. (With the exception of personal service animals and those appointed teams working with the conference will be allowed on site.) For more information on attending the event, please visit the MN Landscape Arboretum Event Page.

By |2017-05-18T11:14:34+00:00September 22nd, 2016|Promotions|0 Comments

Protecting Your Pup: Summertime Pool and Lake Precautions

In the land of 10,000 lakes, there is a risk that comes with the traditional Minnesotan R & R on the water. With some of the hottest recorded years in the books already and a warm start to 2016, toxic blooms of blue-green algae present a danger for your dog. We’re here to prepare you and your pet by talking about the potential water dangers your dog may encounter this summer. What is Blue-Green Algae? Blue-green algae, or Cyanobacteria, is a type of algae that grows in bodies of freshwater all around the world, including Minnesota. Algae are microscopic organisms that can produce toxins if grown with the right ingredients of heat and fertilizer—toxins that are especially dangerous for pets. Found in nutrient-rich areas in the steamy summer months, a blue-green algae “bloom” can look like blue and green paint on the surface of the water, and/or a light green layer on the surface and shorelines. (see this website for some photos of what is and isn’t blue-green algae: ) Blue-green algae blooms are common in Minnesota and pose a very real danger to both people and animals that swim in, or consume water contaminated with it. Although not every bloom of blue-green algae is toxic, the best choice is to steer clear of areas that host this potential poison. Hot weather and lakes/ponds with fertilizer run off are breeding grounds for this type of bacteria. Signs and Symptoms of Blue-Green Algae Exposure: There are two types of toxins that can be produced by blue-green algae and they cause different effects: liver failure and neurological damage. Physical symptoms of one or both include: Vomiting Diarrhea Bloody or black stool Pale mucus membranes Blue mucus [...]

By |2016-08-23T10:25:31+00:00August 23rd, 2016|Guide|Comments Off on Protecting Your Pup: Summertime Pool and Lake Precautions

Summer Pet Safety & Preventing Heat Related Injuries

Another summer quickly approaches, along with the concerns that come with the temperature and safety of your pets. Whether it be leaving or finding a pet unattended in a vehicle, or walking your dog on hot pavement, we are hoping to inform and change the circumstances that leave so many pets injured or dead during the warmer months. Hundreds of pets die each summer from heat stroke and other heat related symptoms. The main cause? Being left in a vehicle on a warm day. We say warm, because it doesn’t need to reach much more than 70° outside for your pet to suffer and possibly die in a vehicle. When the outdoor temperature is about 75°, the temperature inside your vehicle can rise to 118° within an hour, even with the windows down. Sometimes a harmless stop for milk and bread can unintentionally mean danger for your furry family member. What can you do to prevent overheating? Conditions in a vehicle during the summer can result in heat stroke, brain damage, and ultimately death. Symptoms of an animal in heat-related distress include: Dark tongue and excessive or heavy panting Thick saliva Restlessness Wobbliness and uncoordinated movement Rapid heartbeat Vomiting and diarrhea Watching for these reactions is important so that you can address them immediately. Checking to see if your destination allows pets inside is also a good idea to help you determine if you can bring your pet along with you. Total Dog Company welcomes our customers and their leashed and pottied dogs. is a great resource in the Twin Cities to find dog-friendly restaurants, stores, and more. What should you do if you see an unattended pet? Not only do you need to [...]

By |2017-05-18T11:14:34+00:00June 6th, 2016|Guide|0 Comments

March Newsletter – Winter Clearance and iFetch

Let's get Winter gone! 30% off all winter gear - coats, sweaters, PJs, boots, and warmers. While Supplies Last! All Sales Final All Dog Rescue Meet and Greet All Dog Rescue ( will be holding meet-and-greets at Total Dog Company the first Saturday of every month.  Come meet adoptable dogs on Saturday, March 5th, noon-2 pm.  10% discount on purchases made by new adopters the day of the event. NEW PRODUCTS iFetch Now In Stock! The ultimate toy to keep your dog occupied: the iFetch. Teach your dog to drop the ball into the machine, and it launches the ball for your dog to chase. It can use iFetch branded balls, or miniature tennis balls (1.5" in diameter). Check out a video of it in action: There is a model that uses regular tennis ball size for bigger dogs, which we can get if you want—let us know. Four grain-free flavors and one that is small pieces (ancestral grain flavors also available - only the fish formula in stock). N&D is made with dehydrated meats instead of meat meals. It is lower in carbs than most dry foods - great to consider if your dog has a yeast condition.   Learn More Gorilla Chews are a safe, strong, and satisfying dog chew made of 100% solid wood. Great for dogs that love to chew! When purchasing, buy a size slightly larger than your dog's mouth and supervise pet during chew time. Total Dog Company 2017 Wall Calendar We want to [...]

By |2017-05-18T11:14:34+00:00March 1st, 2016|Newsletter|0 Comments

February Newsletter – Pet Dental Health Month, 2017 Calendar Theme, and More!‏

It's Pet Dental Health Month! Stop by the store and stock up on dental products - all 10% off this month!  View our Infographic on the Importance of Dog Dental Health All Dog Rescue Meet and Greet All Dog Rescue ( holds meet-and-greets at Total Dog Company the first Saturday of every month. Join us Saturday, February 6.  Come meet adoptable dogs from noon-2 pm. There will be puppies! 10% discount on purchases made by new adopters the day of the event. NEW PRODUCTS 20% off while supplies last! Introducing N&D Dog Food.  N&D is a dog food line made in Italy.  What sets it apart is that, instead of using meat meals, it is made with dehydrated meats.  Compared to the rendering process used in making meat meals, dehydration preserves more of the meats’ nutrients.  In addition, N&D is far lower in carbohydrates than most other dry dog foods. Looking for an inexpensive canned food?  Try Dave’s.  We have several varieties including grain-free options. Coming Soon:  The ultimate in keeping-the-dog-occupied:  iFetch.  Teach your dog to drop the ball into the machine, and it launches the ball for the dog to chase.  Here’s a good YouTube video of one in action: There is a model that uses regular tennis ball size, which we can get if you want—let us know. Total Dog Company 2017 Wall Calendar For those interested in submitting a photo for a Total Dog Company calendar, we’re putting out the call now for the 2017 edition. The theme will be Naughty [...]

By |2017-05-18T11:14:34+00:00February 3rd, 2016|Newsletter|0 Comments

January Newsletter – Happy New Year!

EVENTS Saturday, January 23, 2-4 pm  Penny Freberg, owner and breeder of champion Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and North American distributor of Laser Lites grooming products will speak on solutions to grooming issues.  Whether you are a pet owner or a competitor, Penny will address your grooming questions. All Dog Rescue Meet and Greet All Dog Rescue ( holds meet-and-greets at Total Dog Company the first Saturday of every month (sorry, this monthly reminder is too late for the January 2 meet-and-greet, so join us Saturday, February 6).  Come meet adoptable dogs from noon-2 pm.  10% discount on purchases made by new adopters the day of the event. NEW PRODUCTS Another grain-free biscuit offering, available in Bison and Chicken.. Built on a mousetrap, this “snaps” the big red paddle when set off by the dog being where you don’t want it.  It startles but doesn’t hurt. Instead of pigs ears (the location of hormone suppository injection—the most unhealthy part of the pig), try smoked pork strips. The latest “superfood” and you don’t have to go through the hours of cooking to make it yourself. Grain-free soft & crunchy treats that are made with natural ingredients. Available in Duck & Cranberry, Peanut Butter & Apple, and Lamb & Blueberry. Looks like a basted rawhide, but it’s made out of chicken and rice flour—more digestible. Available in two sizes: 4” and 7” A grain-free food featuring duck and quail Available in 5, 15, 30 lb. bags. Gray Muzzle's "Senior Friendly" dental chew is a light, airy structure that is easy for a senior dog [...]

By |2017-05-18T11:14:35+00:00January 4th, 2016|Newsletter|0 Comments