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FOOD AS MEDICINE

Voyager firmly believes that feeding our dogs quality, safe, clean and complete food can enhance not only their daily health but their overall longevity. “There is no need to treat the treatable, if you can prevent the preventable.” – Dr. Pete

WHAT IS COPPER STORAGE DISEASE?

Copper Storage Disease in dogs is a condition caused by an abnormal accumulation of chelated copper in the animal's liver. This leads to progressive damage and scarring of the liver. Excessive and prolonged exposure over time leads to cirrhosis and possible death. Copper Storage Disease (CSD) is being diagnosed with increasing frequency. Studies and research have proven this increase in CSD can be directly related to the changes in copper supplementation that Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) put into effect for dog food manufacturers. The decision to change the type of copper added to food from copper oxide to a chelated copper or copper sulfate has increased the copper exposure in many dog foods to alarmingly toxic levels.

NATURAL COPPER VS COPPER SULFATE

Copper is essential to all living organisms as a trace dietary mineral. It can be found in its natural form in many plant and animal products. It is absorbed in the gut, transported to the liver and then distributed through the bloodstream. Excess natural copper is easily eliminated from the body when not needed. Chelated copper and copper sulfate are man-made. It is a molecular complex that consists of elemental copper combined with amino acid glycine. It is absorbed at a much higher rate and is not easily expelled from the dogs liver. Excessive amounts of chelated copper in a dog's diet over time may become toxic, overwhelming the liver and can lead to progressive damage and scarring (cirrhosis) — in some cases death.

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HEAR FROM OUR SCIENTISTS

Dr. Langlois, BS, DVM, DACVM, a scientist from Michigan State University breaks down the dangers of copper in dog food and how it can be deadly to canine health. Scientists from around the country are researching Copper Storage Disease. Watch this short video on what a team from the Michigan State University - College of Veterinary Medicine discovered through their years of research.

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WHERE IT ALL STARTED

Understanding Copper Storage Disease is as important as preventing it. Here is a brief history on how Copper Storage Disease came to be.

  • 1988


    Pigs on Farm

    Researchers discover that adding copper sulfate to pig feed makes them grow faster.

    The University of Kentucky conducted a study where they added copper sulfate, which is a growth promonant, to pig feed that improved the rate and efficiency of growth and weight gain in weanling pigs. This improved growth rate allowed industrial swine farmers to move pigs to market faster and increased profitability. Within years, copper sulfate was being added to cows, sheep and even farm-raised fish feeds.

  • 1997


    Cows on Farm

    Growth supplement for livestock created a deadly disease for dogs.

    In 1997, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) changed the requirements related to copper supplementation in companion animal diets. The requirements state that when “added” to diets, chelated copper or copper sulfate (man-made coppers) must be used. Studies or feeding trials were never conducted prior to this mandate to see what the long-term effects would be on companion animals. Copper Storage Disease was born. Copper Storage Disease in dogs is a condition caused by an abnormal accumulation of chelated copper in the animal's liver. This leads to progressive damage and scarring of the liver. Excessive and prolonged exposure over time leads to cirrhosis and possible death. Copper Storage Disease (CSD) is being diagnosed with increasing frequency. Studies and research have proven this increase in CSD can be directly related to the changes in copper supplementation that AAFCO put into effect for dog food manufacturers. The decision to change the type of copper added to food from copper oxide (natural copper) to a chelated copper or copper sulfate has increased the copper exposure in many dog foods to alarmingly toxic levels.

  • 2014


    Collage of Cookie

    Copper Storage Disease killed Cookie.

    When Cookie became sick and was diagnosed with Copper Storage Disease, it was devastating! As we learned more, we discovered that we were actually contributing to her illness by what we were feeding her—dog food containing chelated coppers. We lost Cookie when she was only six years old. Our journey to find out more about Copper Storage Disease and the frustrating realization that the main pet food regulatory agency, nor any of the major dog food manufacturers were willing to recognize the disease or make any changes to eliminate the harmful additives being put into their food, forced us to take matters into our own hands. We had no other choice but to create The Scoop Dog Food (now known as Voyager Dog Food Co.), a balanced and complete diet that does not contain chelated coppers or copper sulfate.

  • 2018 - Present


    Scoop & Voyager Logos, Copper

    Experts confirm Copper Storage Disease is real.

    According to scientists at Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Cornell University, Copper Storage Disease is being diagnosed at an alarming and increasing frequency. Studies and new research have proven this increase in Copper Storage Disease can be directly related to the mandate by AAFCO in 1997 regarding the change in copper supplementation for dog food. The Scoop Dog Food was launched in 2019 to help provide a healthy alternative to the growing man made disaster of Copper Storage Disease in dogs. After much success, in 2023 The Scoop has been rebranded to Voyager Dog Food Co to better serve its customer and to reach a larger audience of dog lovers.

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ALARMING FACTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

We contacted many pet food manufacturers and most had no idea the level of copper in their foods, only that they had added the mandated amount of chelated copper or copper sulfate to their recipe. The additional problem is that many of the recipes are formulated with beef, pork, chicken or fish by-products that were also fed diets supplemented with chelated copper. So along with the mandated amount of chelated copper, and these by-products, an increasing number of our pets are being exposed to toxic levels of copper. The challenge for pet owners is there is no way to know how much chelated copper or copper sulfate is in the food you are feeding without sending it into a lab for testing. We initially sent in over twenty-five different dog foods for testing; premium, specialty, dry and wet brands, and the copper levels where alarmingly varied and excessive. Copper Storage Disease is being diagnosed at an alarming and increasing frequency in our canine family members. Studies and new research have proven this increase in Copper Storage Disease can be directly related to the mandate set forth by AAFCO regarding copper supplementation in dog food. The decision to change the type of copper being added has created a man-made disease that is shortening the lives of many of our beloved pets.

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