By Deirdre Frey, VMD; Veterinarian, Owner of Vet At Your Door, P.C.
Recently, the FDA came out with another article warning about the link between grain free diets and a potentially fatal heart condition, Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM). This article broke down the data and gave real, concrete information. Here is the gist:
1. They named the products that were being fed to dogs that developed this condition. The biggest offenders are grain-free diets in the following brands: Acana, Zignature, Taste of the Wild, 4Health, Nature's Domain, Earthborn Holistic, Blue Buffalo, and Fromm. For the complete list, see below.
2. 99% of the foods were dry, not canned.
3. More than 90 percent of products associated with causing heart disease were 'grain-free', and 93 percent of reported products had peas and/or lentils. See below:
4. Golden Retrievers, Mixed Breeds, and Labrador Retrievers have the highest representation. It's hard to tell if that's because they're in higher populations in the U.S. or if there is a breed susceptibility to this issue. See below for a full list of breeds:
5. Research shows that this is far and away an issue for dogs, not cats. At least so far!
What can you do?
If you feed your dog a grain-free diet, strongly consider switching to something not grain-free. If your dog has a sensitive stomach or skin and that is why you are on a grain free diet, consider trying our favorite brand, Purina ProPlan Focus, Sensitive Skin & Stomach - either in Salmon or Chicken. You can feel free to support your favorite veterinarian by buying it through us online or buy it elsewhere. If you're not into Purina, we recommend bigger brands, as these have veterinary nutritionists on staff and extensive, good, long-term studies on their diets. These brands, besides Purina, include Hill's Science Diet and Royal Canin to name a couple. And for any conspiracy theorists out there, no, they did not pay our vet school tuition or brainwash us :) They just do good work.
If your dog's grain free diet is dry and/or if the ingredients list peas and/or lentils, switch diets yesterday.
If you absolutely love your dog's food and really don't want to switch, you can have an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) done to be sure they are not affected. We can recommend someone to do that if you'd like.
Please contact us with any more questions you have!