Update: Grain-Free Pet Foods & Heart Disease

By now you’ve probably heard the warnings about the link between grain-free diets and the development of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. DCM is a heart condition that can result in abnormal cardiac rhythms, congestive heart failure and even sudden death.

Veterinary cardiologists, nutritionists and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have found evidence that grain-free foods are associated with DCM. At this point researchers are not completely sure why these formulations are a problem, but it appears to be most commonly tied to dog foods that use beans/legumes and potatoes as a carbohydrate source—though there is still not a 100% correlation.

We ask that you carefully read the FDA’s latest update at the link above so you understand the findings and how they relate to your pet. Although there are no specific guidelines from the FDA at this time, the update offers more detail on the specific brands of foods that have been most often associated with the development of DCM.

Based on this information, we feel that there is mounting evidence of a link between certain cases of cardiomyopathy and diet. If your dog is on a food containing large amounts of legumes or potatoes (they are listed in the first 3-4 ingredients on the package or can) there is a risk for this serious complication, and you should consider a non-grain-free diet for your pet.

We encourage you to contact us at (505) 265-4939 if you have questions about what to feed your pet, or if your dog has been on a grain-free diet and is exhibiting symptoms such as lethargy, coughing, or difficulty breathing, as these could be signs of developing heart disease.