Updated Information on the Dangers to Feeding a Grain-Free Diet

We have been receiving numerous replies and requests for further information regarding our notification of the recently discovered link between feeding Grain-Free or “Boutique” or unusual ingredient diets and Dilated Cardiomyopathy heart disease in dogs. (So far no link has been found with grain-free diets in cats.)

This is a fairly recent discovery by cardiologists, and not all of the facts are entirely clear yet. We felt it important to include this information in our spring pet health update, and to point you to the Tufts University article summarizing what is known at the moment. Since the topic is complicated, if you have questions we suggest you start by reading the articles in these 4 links:

Tufts University: DCM Update

NY Times: Grain-Free Dog Food Heart Disease

VIN News: Unconventional Dog Foods Suspected in Heart Disease

Tufts University: Questions You Should Be Asking About Your Pet’s Food 

For the moment, there is no list of specific brands or diets which are known to cause the condition, but rather we suggest you consider a few options:

1) If your pet does not have a medical condition requiring a grain-free diet or an unusual ingredient diet (or if your pet is on a trendy, small company brand of dog food– now referred to as “Boutique” dog foods– including raw diets), consider switching away from these types of dog food, at least until more is known.

2) If your pet DOES have a medical need for a grain-free or unusual ingredient diet (for example if your pet has food allergies), we recommend that until more is known, you choose one of the very reputable brands whose diets are formulated by veterinary nutritionists and who have a research arm of the company. For example, Hill’s Science Diet, Purina (ProPlan or Purina One), Eukanuba or Iams. Veterinary nutritionists at top veterinary schools assure us that these brands are fully addressing what is known regarding Taurine deficiency and adjusting levels in their foods. While there are likely more dog foods out there which are fine, more research needs to be done.

If more information becomes available, we will send out a new update. As always, if you have any concerns about symptoms of illness in your pet, whether related to a Dilated Cardiomyopathy heart problem or not, we stand ready to set up an appointment for an exam and consultation.

All the best from the Veremedy Team!

Brad Burrington, DVM, Angela Burrington, DVM, Sarah Bronko, DVM, Gina Roberts, DVM, Nell Snider, DVM
Veremedy Pet Hospitals
Woodstock and White River Junction, VT
(802) 457-2229
(802) 295-6900

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