Grain Free Dog Food May Be Linked to Heart Problems, Warns FDA In Ongoing Investigation

By on July 26, 2018

On July 12, 2018, the Food and Drug Administration issued an alert to pet owners and veterinary professionals about a possible link between canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs eating certain pet foods containing peas, lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes as main ingredients.  According to the FDA these reports are unusual because DCM is occurring in breeds not typically genetically prone to the disease.

The FDA stated that the investigation is at an early stage and there is no scientifically established causal connection between grain free food and DCM.  The suspicion however arose because small dog breeds not typically prone to DCM developed the condition all ate grain free food.

According to the FDA, larger breeds are more frequently affected by DCM including Great Danes, Boxers, Newfoundlands, Irish Wolfhounds, Saint Bernards and Doberman Pinschers. It is less common in small and medium breed dogs, except American and English Cocker Spaniels. However, the cases that have been reported to the FDA have included Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Whippets, a Shih Tzu, a Bulldog and Miniature Schnauzers, as well as mixed breeds.

The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine and the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network, a collaboration of government and veterinary diagnostic laboratories, are investigating this potential association.

Grain free dog food has become popular in recent years, with most pet food companies offering grain free food, often at premium prices. Grain free food is marketed and believed by buyers to be more wholesome and better for dogs than cheaper foods made with corn or rice.