I’ve just read David’s latest Facebook post, about peas. I can’t reply there since I refuse to join facebook, but it made me think and I went to the directory to do a bit of research.

When I introduced myself here I said it had taken nearly a year to find a food that agreed with the Little Cav - he had intermittent loose stools, gurgly tummy, runny eyes and gunky ears whatever dry food I tried, and I only tried high-rated foods. He was also slightly underweight. Well I’ve just checked and all the foods I tried contained peas in some form.

When I decided to try him on a raw diet I gave him Natures Menu, which also contains peas. His tummy was a little, but not completely, better while his ears and eyes were no better at all. The peas in this, of course, were whole, and I did notice that most of them seemed to pass through him undigested. Now I’m wondering if that was why his tummy was a little better.

Finally, I switched him to Nutriment, the first food he’d ever had containing no peas at all, and all his problems had gone within a few days.

Of course it could be a coincidence, but I don’t much feel like trying him on peas again to test the theory…

Anyone else noticed anything similar?

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I tried to post this yesterday, but being a newbie here, I did something wrong! We have flatcoats and working cockers, and had a major bloat problem in one of our flatcoats when Fish4dogs changed the recipe to include a pretty high % of pea flour, without forewarning folk. In fairness to them, they came out with the MD and a nutritionalist to sort it, but now I am very wary about feeding any food with peas in .


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I have just read the report about peas on Facebook. These sort of reports make me more bewildered about dog food than ever. I’m not surprised there is so much confusion. The ‘in thing’ right now is grain free but now there are (apparently) problems with one of the alternatives.
Interesting to read of the previous post about Fish4Dogs because I fed it for quite a while and didn’t notice any problems. I’m glad the dog was alright and it was good that F4D took such interest in the case.
Regarding Natures Menu Country Hunter raw nuggets, I have heard the same thing as George - i.e. they have seen whole peas in the dog’s stool. I cannot see why the company use peas if they are not being digested.

Many thanks for posting George. Before starting the site, the main part of my job was advising the owners of dogs with health problems on diet. I have dealt with literally thousands of dogs with health problems but until last week, never considered peas as a potential cause and so never investigated the link. It’s very interesting that since posing the question today, already a lot of owners seem to be connecting the dots from their own experiences.

Having said that, I’ve been doing a bit of research into the subject, starting with the article and its sources and I have to say that I do have a few reservations:

The original article is from a US pet shop, it is quite short and seems to be based on 3 sources. Its criticism of peas lies in the fact that they contain lectins - a group of proteins that have long been known to cause problems in humans. While it is certainly true that peas contain lectins, so do almost all plants - particularly cereals and potatoes although lentils, beans and nuts also contain fairly high amounts. It’s unclear why the author has chosen to single out peas, especially as they are only mentioned in one of the three articles (and then only in the appendix), but a more accurate title would have been “Are their carbs in your pet food?”.

Putting the DogtorJ reference to one side for a moment (as it is more of a lead up to an article that seems never to have been published rather than an article in its own right) the other two only look at lectin toxicity in humans. I haven’t yet found any studies on lectin toxicity in pets. If you spot any, let me know.

The article also overlooks the evidence that the toxicity of lectins drops significantly with cooking - one of the few arguments in favour of cooked foods over raw.

I don’t want to be too pedantic but with more and more bloggers seemingly creating scare articles just to increase their reach, a certain amount of scepticism is required these days.

I still need to do a lot more digging but I will let you know what I find…

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I have had a couple of customers who have had blood tests and shown pea allergies as being a problem and it was very difficult to find a ‘premium’ food that didn’t contain peas, especially amongst the grain free. There are various brands of blood tests that vets can do to find food allergies and some don’t have a test for peas. It does tend to be the grain free foods that are higher in pea content, but peas in general have the consensus that they are a good ingredient. I shall watch and learn.
As to peas in CH nuggets passing straight through, not had that problem in our (very fussy) dogs or indeed any feedback from customers.
If you want a different slant on peas - Bakers wet food was launched at a pet show last year and we were all given free samples - open it up, amongst the ahem, gravy, nice cubes of carrot and round green peas, read the label and there are no peas or carrot in it just pea powder and carrot powder - so Bakers go to all the trouble of reconstituting powders into balls and cubes just for effect. All our dogs turned up their noses at it.

It seems to me that there could be two possible problems with peas here, both unproven so far; first, that peas should be considered an unsuitable food for all dogs because of the high lectin content and/or second, that they should no longer be considered a ‘hypoallergenic’ ingredient.

Personally, I would think that the latter is more likely, and that further research will show that most dogs can eat peas with no problems but that a significant minority cannot - though to my mind that would mean they should never be considered a ‘good’ ingredient. Clearly, more research is needed.

Oops, I’ve just noticed…

Welcome to the forum, Jo. I think the fact that this was your first post got overlooked because of the interest stirred by the subject matter.

Yes welcome Jo. :slight_smile:

Haven’t got much to add to this but can verify that the peas in natures menu tend to come out as they go in! I don’t have a dog who chews her food much. Well, at all , really. If nothing else they provide roughage.

My feelings without the benefit of much knowledge on the subject is the same as George. Some dogs will be intolerant to peas as others will be to grain or meat.

It occurs to me that it would be very interesting to know from those laboratories which do include peas in their allergy tests, with what frequency they see a positive result for peas, and how that frequency compares with other known allergens.

Part of the problem with food intolerance is the amounts eaten. We don’t eat peas every meal, every day and I really can’t see why dogs should without some of them developing intolerance. My biggest problem with commercial feeds is the insistance it is fed 24/7. The war between the raw and kibble brigades is about whether the dog is a carnivore so no carbohydrates and the evidence that dogs have evolved with at least some genetic ability to process carbs. Trouble is dogs were scavengers which is how they latched on and stayed with us. Eating exactly the same thing day in and day out has no scientific backup that I have come across yet. For our convenience, solid poo day in and day out means not varying feed too dramatically although mine eat quite a comprehensive range including foraging hazelnuts and donkey poo at the moment.

I’m sure you’re correct about some intolerances arising from overexposure to one ingredient, but if the Little Cav has an allergy or intolerance to peas, which is unproven but which seems likely, then in his case it I think it is most unlikely to have arisen from overexposure, since his problems were present from the moment I brought him home at just 9 weeks old.

I’ve just put up my article on peas and lectins. Hopefully it will clear things up a bit. I’d love to get your thoughts.

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Interesting and easy to get my head around. Thanks for all your research.

I am a bit concerned now about the peas in natures menu as it is a raw food. I have e mailed to ask if they used cooked or raw vegetables in their foods.

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Good article - makes sense especially the part about the kidney beans and I suppose potatoes - we were always told as kids never eat raw potatoes as they would ‘kill’ you! I have to speak to NMenu in the morning and will ask their nutritionist about cooked/uncooked peas

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Thank you for the report. The subject is easier to understand now. It seems that dog food that contains pea derivatives e.g. pea flour won’t contain lectin so should be OK unless a dog is actually allergic to peas. It is not as alarming as the previous report made it sound.

Thanks from me too - great article and easy to read - had been shared on our FB page before I even got back to see if you had managed to write anything :slight_smile:

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I had the following e mail from natures menu


I can confirm that in the raw complete meals the vegetables are raw, and in the pouches/cans they are gently steamed.’

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That explains why the peas are being passed through the gut unaltered. There was a lively response to the article on the AADF Facebook page - lots of comments and interest.

Good article, there are a lot of scare stories about and glad you have balanced it a bit. I have heard that peanut allergy in children might be due to mum’s exposure to peanut oil in other products. I guess the occasional raw mangetout in my salad is OK. I can’t imagine many dogs actually eating raw peas, I use to prefer the pods as a child.

Thank you indeed David, another excellent article.

If you ever happen upon any information about the prevalence of pea allergy or intolerance, perhaps you could let us know. We’ve already had one post on here asking for help in finding a food for a dog who had tested positive for a pea allergy, in addition to the mention by Pegasus of others upthread, so it would be very interesting to know how common or uncommon it is.