Veterinary cardiologists have recently seen over 500 cases of a serious heart disease called Dilated Cardiomyopathy in dogs that don’t have any of the risk factors usually associated with it. There were also 9 cases where cats were also affected.
In fact, for many of these animals, the only factor they have in common is diet. The associated diets are grain-free diets, diets featuring exotic proteins, and foods created by small boutique companies.
The FDA is investigating and has discovered many of the most popular grain-free brands have been implicated. Read FDA Investigation into Potential Link between Certain Diets and Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy to learn more about their findings.
Interestingly, some dogs, especially affected Golden Retriever dogs, have taurine deficiencies.
The reasons for Taurine Deficiencies in Golden Retriever dogs are not completely understood, and these cases are under investigation.
Researchers tell us that Taurine Deficiency is not a part of this disease in any breeds of dogs other than Golden retrievers.
As of right now, it is recommended to switch away from exotic, grain-free, and small boutique diets until we learn more about how they’re impacting the health of the pets who eat them.
When choosing a new diet, you should:
- Avoid exotic protein sources, like bison, venison, and kangaroo, and feed your dog a more common meat, such as beef or chicken.
- Search for diets that contain rice, corn, or wheat as opposed to going grain-free
- Look into how long the company that produces the dog food has been in business and whether or not they test their products. Many food companies formulate a diet with a recipe that meets government standards but never actually test the food.
Remember, when switching diets, you should introduce your dog to a new food gradually over the course of 5 – 7 days. Also, don’t forget to utilize your veterinarian – she or he can help you choose the best food for your pet’s specific needs.
For more information, check out these articles:
- Chesapeake Veterinary Cardiology Associates - Dilated Cardiomyopathy In Dogs
- Tufts article authored by veterinary nutritionist Dr. Lisa Freeman
You can also call us at (434) 973-9699 to schedule an appointment or to speak with your vet.