We want to inform you of recent studies that have found a potential link between canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and grain-free diets.
Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a disease of the heart muscle which results in an enlarged heart. As the heart and its chambers become dilated, it becomes harder for the heart to pump. This can lead to a buildup of fluids in the chest and abdomen (congestive heart failure). The FDA has found that many dogs are becoming ill with this disease and even dying as a result of eating these grain free diets, especially those containing legumes like peas or lentils, other legume seeds (pulses), or potatoes as main ingredients. We would like to notify all our patients of these studies because this condition, if caught early, may improve with appropriate veterinary treatment and dietary modification.
We take heart health seriously, so we recommend all of our patients eat diets which are well balanced and include grain. Grain-free diets are marketed as "boutique" and "exotic" and often promote themselves as being a healthier nutritional option. However, there is no evidence to support feeding grain-free for any medical condition. Grain allergies account for a very small fraction of all food allergies in dogs as the primary causes of canine allergies relate to protein sources or environmental elements. In addition, grains are naturally more nutritious than the majority of the substitutes used to replace them.
If you have any questions specifically related to your pet, please do not hesitate to call us, our veterinarians are happy to discuss the best options for him/her and evaluate your pet as needed.
Healthy Paws Veterinary Center
We have provided sources below for more information and will continue to provide updates as studies continue.
WSAVA Global Veterinary Community