Your dog’s grain-free diet might now be the cause of possible heart disease, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The condition affecting dogs is known as dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition that weakens and enlarges the heart and which may later result in congestive heart failure. Some of the most common symptoms of D.C.M in dogs are fatigue, difficulty breathing, fainting, and coughing. Irregular heartbeats, seeming tired or weak, and weight loss are also common occurrences. The condition is believed to be related to a taurine deficiency.
According to the FDA, D.C.M is more common in larger dog breeds, with some exceptions for smaller breeds. However, reports have been showing that recently impacted dogs on grain-free diets who are less likely to experience D.C.M. are now showing signs of this disease. The link is that each of the animals has had similar grain-free diets: dog foods that consisted of peas, other legume seeds, and potatoes as primary sources of nutrition in their foods.
A veterinary nutritionist stated that, contrary to popular belief, there is no research to demonstrate that grain free diets offer any health benefits over diets that contain grains. “It’s all advertising.”
There have been no recalls as of yet, but Dr. Hartogensis – deputy director for the Office of Surveillance and Compliance in the F.D.A.’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, said: “this is a real signal.”
Is your dog on a grain-free diet? Do you think grain-free dog food is healthier than those with grains? The data is hard to ignore. It looks like pet parents are going to have to educate themselves all over again and learn what is healthy for their pups.