For anyone that is interested in learning more about this topic and is open to the information, there is a good Facebook group moderated by veterinarians. https://www.facebook.com/groups/Taur...f=group_header
Again, it's NOT just grain-free foods. It's (potentially) a problem with formulation, and dogs on diets WITH grain and grain-free have been diagnosed, including companies like Fromm, Acana, Taste of the Wild, Zignature, Nature's Domain, California Natural, Natural Balance, Merrick, Victor....this is a problem across the industry.
Because this issue has come up in a few other recent threads I've probably said most of what I'm going to say here.
First of all as others have said Dobermans as a breed have a type of DCM which if believed to be largely hereditary--at least very few Dobes who have been tested for taurine deficiency have actually had a deficiency. Boxers, also as a breed have a cardiac issue--one different than Dobes but can end up in the same place DCM ultimately leading to CHF and death. But there are many breed for whom DCM is highly unusual--and enough of those dogs have been found to be taurine deficient to cause concern--and in looking at those dogts to wee WHY they are turine difficient and are DCM dogs because of that is what led to looking at food.
But this is all basically in it's infancy and there is a lot more testing to be done before anyone can claim to know exactly what's going on.
I've been testing my Dobes for years now--I start testing at around 2 years once a year and continue testing yearly until they are around 8 or when (with Dobes it's kind of always a when, not an if when it comes to cardio/DCM and the signs of increasing failure of the heart) the echos and Holt6ers show signs of heart failure.
So linking this to dietary DCM--my dogs wouldn't even fit the profile for a dog with DCM based on dietary issues.
I presently feed, and have fed for years as my '[go to' food Purina ProPlan--either Chicken and Rice or Salmon and Rice (now called in their Focus Line ProPlan Chicken and Rice and ProPlan Sensitive Skin and Stomach). I fed a Large Breed Puppy food for a few years to puppies until they were six months or so and then switched to adult food. More recently I've gone back to simply feeding adult food from the get go--most of the foods I will feed are listed as ALS--all life stages.
And I've always fed--clear back to the first Dobe puppy in 1959 diets from the bigger companies--at the recommendation of my first vet who said "At least they test them on dogs to see if they work...") And all of them have had grain.
Last year at a cardio clinic held by the Mt Hood Dobe club--our cardiologist handed out a summary of what they had found in dietary DCM, what it meant, what effect it would have on Dobes and a recommendation that was virtually identical to what that first vet said..."stick to the bigger companies--who test their food on real dogs and use real nutritionists...)
So I've fed Purina, and Eukanuba and Iams...I've had a couple of dogs who needed to be on a prescription diet and Hills had the best one and it worked for 8 years who lived to be 10. My 13 year old Dobe was weaned on ProPlan Salmon and Rice--he liked it at six month when I got him and he still likes it today.
Also for the record--from the beginning my dogs get stuff with their kibble--a spoonful of yogurt or cottage cheese with their breakfast and an egg and maybe some meat or canned food (a spoonful) with their dinner.
And they've all learned to sit outside the kitchen if I'm cooking and they will get bits of lettuce, tomato, celery, apple, zucchini--or practically any other fruit or veggie I might be using. The Aussie didn't like celery and one of the Dobes didn't like oranges but everyone else felt that "treats is treats".
I've never had a dog with a wheat or corn allergy so I'm not picky about not having wheat or corn in the kibble. I worried more about the potato in some of the 'limited ingredient' kibbles and the ones who had legume as the carb source. I had a kind of bad result with a lamb and pea blend that was supposed to be good for dogs allergic to other meats. I tried it as I have tried many other dog foods that came to market with rave reviews--but on the lamb and pea and later with a lamb and lentle food I had the same result--in a month on those diets my dogs started being hard to keep weight on and the coats went from glossy to dull.
I also tried some of the grain free mixes--three times--the Aussie was involved with two of them--one Dobe and the Aussie didn't like the food period--the other two Dobes ate it and both ended up with soft stools/diarrhea. That was the first one I tried. The second one the Aussie ate it and so did the Dobes--that time all of the Dobes ended up with very soft stools and one with frank diarrhea. The third time it was three Dobes and no Aussie and it wasn't any better.
So even though my reasons are basically from my own experience it has worked for me over the years and now there even is some moderately science supported reason why it's worked.
I'll say the same thing that others have already said. Feed what you are comfortable with. With most of the reasonably 'good' foods they will be good enough.
Just remember that the testing for dietary DCM is still in it's infancy--there is a connection but it's probably more than being just grain free or just avoiding legume and potato blends.
And I know a dog that lived on Old Roy to be 17 years old (a Pointer) and another to 18 on Kibbles n' Bits (a Cocker Spaniel)--makes you wonder sometimes--but there are exceptions to every rule so just be aware of new information as it comes along and don't ignore it because you've never experienced the down side what and how you are feeding.