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Heart disease is fairly common to pets, affecting about 15 percent of dogs. Higher incidence rates are observed in Boxers, Doberman Pinschers, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Information concerning the role of a dog’s diet leading to heart disease is scarce. What is sure, however, is that dogs suffer due to their owners’ falling victim to the multiple misconceptions and myths concerning pet food. Diet is found to be frequently the cause of heart disease in canines.
Dangers of unconventional diets
Nutritional deficiencies in pet dogs could occur due to owners’ feeding unconventional diets. The list of such unsuitable diets includes vegetarian diets and food prepared at home. A few owners even insist on giving their pets raw vegetarian food. On the other end, dogs subsist entirely on boutique pet foods.
Pet food companies use marketing to sell fad pet nutritional supplements and also foods which advertise the many benefits of being free of grains. A quick read of the label reveals a number of exotic ingredients which confuses the dog owner who wants the best for the pet. The many diet choices along with persuasive advertising make it hard for pet owners to understand whether the diets they feed their dogs are linked to nutritional toxicities or deficiencies. Bad diets could potentially lead to heart disease.
The Dilated Cardiomyopathy or DCM is connected with nutritional deficiencies. It is a fatal disease linked to heart muscles. The afflicted heart enlarges and beats weakly. Giant and bigger breeds of dogs are susceptible to DCM. Irish Wolfhounds, Doberman Pinschers, and Great Danes are the most affected. Recently, many veterinarians have reported DCM in dog breeds which are not normally associated with the condition. There is a suspicion that the prevalence of DCM is directly linked to the probability of that dog being fed an exotic diet. Such kind of diets come bearing the label “grain-free”.
The prevalence of DCM is linked to a taurine deficiency in dogs. This could be due to the reduced production of the chemical as a result of deficient diets. Other causes include increased taurine losses in feces or the chemical’s altered metabolism within the body.
One big cause of DCM in dogs is the gullibility of the owners themselves when it comes to advertising. Many of them are victims of the grain-free pseudoscience. There is absolutely no truth to such marketing spiels.