The Federal Drug and Food Administration recently announced that it is looking into a potential link between a type of heart disease, Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), and diets labeled as “grain-free”. The main ingredients in these diets include high levels of peas, legumes and other lentils. DCM is not an uncommon disease, usually seen in large-breed dogs, like Dobermans and Great Danes. In 2018 there was a notable increase in the number of dogs diagnosed with DCM in breeds that were not genetically predisposed. DCM affects the heart muscle, decreasing the ability of the heart to pump blood and can ultimately lead to congestive heart failure.
The FDA recently reported that over 90 percent of diets fed in reported DCM cases were grain-free. A close look at these diets has coined the recent term “BEG” diets, defined as boutique companies, exotic ingredients, grain-free. Although no definitive cause has been proven yet between DCM and BEG diets, there does appear to be a correlation. Many veterinarians are now stressing the importance of looking at where and who actually manufacturers the diet while de-emphasizing ingredients.
I agree that pet food labels and advertising can be very confusing. I know pet owner’s want to do what’s best for their pets and choosing an appropriate diet can be overwhelming! For more information on pet diets and for help finding the correct diet for your pet, contact us for an appointment at Valley Verde Veterinarians at 520-393-7387.

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