Grain free diets and broken hearts
Grain free diets have become more popular over the last few years, as people inaccurately assume these boutique diets are better for their pets. But there’s more to the story…
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA is investigating a possible link between dogs fed grain free diets and an increased number of cases of the heart condition known as Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM). This disease commonly affects giant breeds such as Great Danes and Boxers and it is suspected to have an underlying genetic component.
More recently, the disease has been seen in other breeds such as Golden Retrievers, Labradors and Miniature Schnauzers. There has been some suggestion that this could be linked to these dogs being fed a grain free diet. Specifically, the FDA stated that ‘potatoes or legumes such as peas, lentils, other ‘pulses’, and their protein, starch and fiber” were the main ingredients of the food in several cases of DCM reported to the agency. It is also not known if these cases of DCM are associated with low taurine levels (an amino acid crucial for heart function), a cause of DCM in cats.
How these ‘grain free’ ingredients may be linked with DCM (if at all) is currently unknown, and although the media (and social media groups) have been known to report a ‘direct’ link between ‘grain-free’ foods and DCM, we cannot say for sure this is the case.
In the meantime, we recommend you discuss your pet’s diet with us and ask us for a recommendation. And it’s best to avoid feeding your pet a grain free diet until more research has been done in this area.