Recent reports of an increased incidence of a type of heart disease, called dilated cardiomyopathy, in dog breeds not typically predisposed to this disease have made their way to the FDA and also to many news outlets.
Grain-Free Dog Food and Heart Disease
A connection between the affected animals and their diet of grain-free formulations has prompted recommendations by the FDA and veterinary cardiologists who have treated some of these dogs to recommend that owners consider transitioning their pets from grain-free formulations to diets thathave grain(s) in the ingredient list.
Although taurine deficiency has been implicated as a possible cause of the heart ailment, some of the dogs that veterinarians have identified as affected with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and on a grain-free diet have had normal levels of taurine in their blood samples.
Grain-Free Dog Food Ingredients to Look Out For
Although several specific diets were initially identified as problematic, all grain-free diets that rely heavily on potatoes or legumes such as peas, lentils and seeds of legumes (“pulses”) to replace grains in the ingredient list should be considered suspect.
Early reports from veterinary cardiologists indicated that the affected dogs they treated had consistently consumed these foods as their primary source of nutrition for months to years.
While research into this issue continues, it is prudent for owners to consider a gradual transition from a grain-free diet to a diet that contains some grain.
If your pet is on a grain-free diet for a specific diagnosis and your veterinarian has prescribed this formulation, discussion of alternative diets is warranted.
We at Croton Animal Hospital will continue to monitor this issue and we will post to our Facebook page new developments as they emerge. We encourage you to reach out to us with specific questions you may have.