Grain Free pet food has been growing immensely popular over the past decade. Instead of traditional grains like rice, barley or oats, companies have been adding peas, lentils and chickpeas. The Food and Drug Administration have recently announced that they will be investigating a link between Grain Free diets and a common type of heart disease in dogs called dilated cardiomyopathy, or D.C.M.
CVCA (a practice of 19 veterinary cardiologists) is responsible for notifying the FDA about concerns. There has been a shocking increase in the cases of D.C.M that they are seeing and the common factor were Grain Free diets. There have been no definite studies done yet to verify this information but they are well on their way.
Dr. Lisa Freeman, a veterinary nutritionist and researcher at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tuft’s University, has been skeptical about the new “fad” diet: “Contrary to advertising and popular belief, there is no research to demonstrate that grain free diets offer any health benefits over diets that contain grain… Grains have not been linked to any health problems except in the rare situation when a pet has an allergy to a specific grain.”
Another concern about these diets is the low amount of taurine (an amino acid important in the metabolism of fats, which is required for both cats and dogs) Many dogs found to have developed D.C.M had shockingly low levels of taurine. This lack of taurine could also be the cause these heart related issues.
We are adamantly following the research and will be updating our clients as new information becomes available. We are advising that, if your pet is currently on a Grain Free food, to switch to a more traditional diet. We keep a well updated best/worst food list that we would be happy to share with you. If you have any questions or concerns about which diet is best for your pet, please ask! We are here to make sure you are well informed and your pet is healthy and happy!
The New York Times, Popular Grain-Free dog foods may be linked to heart disease: Jan Hoffman July 24, 2018
Vetnutrition.tufts.edu, A broken heart: Risk of heart disease in boutique or grain free diets and exotic ingredients. Tuft’s Clinical Nutrition Team June 4, 2018