Grain Free: Not all it’s cracked up to be

Dachshund Sneaking Up On Bowl Of Food
Have you switched to a grain-free dog food, assuming that it must be better for your dog? You might want to think again, as veterinary cardiologists are now studying the link between grain-free foods and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

According to the Food and Drug Administration: We are concerned about reports of canine heart disease, known as dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), in dogs that ate certain pet foods containing peas, lentils, other legumes or potatoes as their main ingredients. These reports are highly unusual as they are occurring in breeds not typically genetically prone to the disease,” said Martine Hartogensis, D.V.M., deputy director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine’s Office of Surveillance and Compliance. “The FDA is investigating the potential link between DCM and these foods. We encourage pet owners and veterinarians to report DCM cases in dogs who are not predisposed to the disease.”

Large breeds including Doberman Pinschers, Irish Wolfhounds, Boxers, and Great Danes can have a genetic predisposition to DCM, but it is virtually unheard of in most other breeds.

The FDA encourages dog owners not to panic, as only a small number of dogs have fallen ill, and there are no recalls related to this issue.

The NY Times recently quoted Lisa Freeman, a veterinary nutritionist and researcher with the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, on this issue: “Contrary to advertising and popular belief, there is no research to demonstrate that grain-free diets offer any health benefits over diets that contain grains.”

So, take a look at the ingredients in your dog’s food. It may be time to go back to grains if you’ve not noticed any benefit to the grain-free brands. Alternatively, now might be the time to begin serving the BARF (bones and raw food) diet.

Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!

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