Are grain-free pet diets dangerous? 

Are grain-free pet diets dangerous? 

The FDA reports a possible link between grain-free diets and heart disease in dogs.

GRAIN-FREE! NO BYPRODUCTS! ORGANIC! HIGH PROTEIN! RAW FOOD! HOME COOKED DIET!

There are a lot of buzz words when it comes to pet foods.  But what does it all mean?  There are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there about what to feed our pets.  Unfortunately, we are discovering that there may be some dangerous consequences to these hyped up food trends.

The FDA reports a possible link between grain-free diets and heart disease.

With the sharp uptick in trendy diets has come an alarming new discovery.  There has been an increase in the incidence of Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), a type of heart disease, in dogs that eat grain-free diets.  While research is ongoing and no conclusions can officially be made, the FDA is concerned enough to have posted an alert about the connection.

DCM is a heart condition that is typically seen in large and giant breed dogs, such as Great Danes, Boxers, Newfoundlands, Irish Wolfhounds, Saint Bernards and Doberman Pinschers.

Recently, veterinarians are seeing the disease in all types of breeds and are noticing that it may be connected to grain-free diets.  Patients diagnosed with DCM who were on a grain-free diet showed dramatic improvement in their heart health after switching to a different diet.

Researchers think the reasons for this may be complex, but suspect taurine deficiency may be a factor.

Taurine is an amino acid that is crucial for heart health.  DCM used to be common in cats until it was discovered to be linked to taurine deficiency.  Now commercial cat food companies ensure that appropriate taurine levels are met in their products.  This highlights the importance of having a high quality and nutritionally balanced diet for pets.

All this begs the question: What should I feed my pet?

With so many pet foods out there and so many conflicting opinions, what should you feed your pet?  We recommend purchasing a maintenance food from a manufacturer that has a lot of experience producing pet foods.  Companies with a large number of veterinarians, researchers and nutritionists on staff are ideal.  It is also important to pick a manufacturer with extensive quality control measures and rigorous testing protocols.  We are happy to provide names of of quality pet food manufacturers if you call our office.

Please stay tuned for our next blog posts where we will discuss interpretation of pet food labels and debunk pet food buzz words!

It is our pleasure to serve you and your pets. Please do not hesitate to call our offices (708-383-3606) if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your veterinary healthcare team.

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