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The FDA has, of late, been investigating the link between grain-free dog food and canine heart disease. Why? Because the FDA knows the importance of our diet, on our wellbeing. It suspects that there is a relation between canine dilated cardiomyopathy(DCM) and a grain-free dog diet.
The food items under investigation are legumes such as lentils and peas, legume seeds, potatoes. These food items are common in dogs reported with DCM. While DCM is not rare in dogs, the dog breeds reported with having this condition are not usually the ones at risk. Hence, the FDA thought it wise to examine what the co-relation could have been.
Can a grain-free diet really harm your dog’s heart?
The FDA thinks so. Dilated cardiomyopathy can weaken your dog’s heart muscle and lead to cardiac failure.
When the FDA investigated the diet being consumed by the diseased dogs, it realized that 90% of the food examined was grain-free ie. devoid of wheat, rice, barley, grains, soy. These diets also contained peas, lentils, and potatoes. No protein sources were found to be problematic.
The FDA also listed 16 brands of dog food that it believed had connections with the development of DCM. It hasn’t stated anything definitive though, and investigations are continuing on the subject.
The FDA received 515 reports of DCM in dogs between 2014-2019.
Should you be concerned?
As a pet parent, you will naturally worry if the FDA suddenly comes out with a statement linking the food you’ve been feeding your dog with cardiac difficulties. Remember that the FDA is still speculating. If you’re worried the diet you’ve been feeding your dog is harmful to it, consult your vet.
Manufactured dog food also contains exotic fruits, meats, and vegetables. These ingredients could also be the culprit – one doesn’t know yet. Other factors may also be involved.
For now, the FDA has requested pet parents to report to them, if their pet develops DCM and they believe it could be as a result of their diet.
When you seek your vet’s counsel, you can both monitor your dog together for symptoms of DCM. The vet will be able to tailor a diet plan according to your dog’s individual growth and developmental needs.
One hundred nineteen dogs, out of those reported with DCM, have died. It’s a cause for concern. Research is still underway, and hopefully, we’ll have the answers we seek very soon. Until then, we need to be cautious of what we are feeding our dogs. Nothing matters more to a pet parent than their pet’s health, and no pet parent will want to jeopardize their pet’s health at any cost.