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FDA Reports 16 Dog Food Brands Linked to Increased Heart Disease

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We are bring you a CONSUMER ALERT today.The FDA has reported that 16 dog food brands are linked to increased heart disease in dogs.

Grain Free Diets Lead to Heart Disease in Dogs

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Trying to figure out what brand of dog food is best for your pooch can be confusing. There are so many different opinion’s out there and honestly, today I feel like I am in this dilemma myself.

The grain free diet has been popular with pet owners in recent years, some pet owners use a grain free diet simply because their pets were allergic to gluten and some pet owners used it because it was the new fad.

But now we are finding out that the grain free diet might not be the best solution for your pooch. The FDA is currently investigating potential links between heart disease in dogs and their diet. Specifically the grain free dog food diet.

Between January 1, 2014 and April 30, 2019 the FDA received 524 reports of DCM, that’s 515 dogs and nine cats, and most reports were submitted after the FDA’s first public alert on July 2018. The number of pets affected is greater than 524 because some reports included multi pet households.

Boomer Black and White

So what is DCM? DCM means dilated cardio myopathy which is a type of canine heart disease that affects the heart muscle. Dogs that DCM have a decreased ability to pump blood which often results in congestive heart failure.

Heart Disease in Dogs (DCM) is not considered rare in dogs. Some breeds especially large and giant breeds do have a pre-disposition to DCM.

But these reports are unusual because the disease occurred in breeds of dogs not typically prone to the heart disease.

And the FDA’s July 2019 update on the diet and heart disease in dogs examined labels of specific dog food products reported in DCM cases to determine whether the foods were grain free and if the foods contained the peas, lentils, chickpeas, potatoes( including sweet potatoes), beans and other legume seeds.

These were all listed within the first 10 ingredients in the ingredients list before vitamins and minerals. The FDA’s center for veterinary medicine and the veterinary laboratory investigation in response network continue to investigate this potential association based on the data collected and analyze this far the agency believes that the potential association between the diet and DCM and dogs is a complex scientific issue that may involve multiple factors.

The FDA’s report states that more than 90% of foods that were reported in the DCM cases were in fact grain free.

93% of the reported foods also contained peas and or lentils and 42% contained potatoes/sweet potatoes.

Dog Food Vertical Heart Disease in Dogs

The FDA’s July 2019 update does include the names of dog food brands that were named 10 times or more in reports submitted through April 30, 2019. Most reports were for dry dog food but moist and wet food were also presented here is a list that the FDA included:

Acana (67 reports)
Zignature (64 reports)
Taste of the Wild (53 reports)
4Health (32 reports)
Earthborn Holistic (32 reports)
Blue Buffalo (31 reports)
Nature’s Domain (29 reports)
Fromm (24 reports)
Merrick (16 reports)
California Natural (15 reports)
Natural Balance (15 reports)
Orijen (12 reports)
Nature’s Variety (10 reports)
Nutrisource (10 reports)
Nutro (10 reports)
Rachael Ray Nutrish (10 reports)

This worried me because our dog Boomer has a heart murmur (with issues) and we have fed him 2 of the brands listed, iu78FROMM and now Taste of the Wild which is #3 on the list.

I had never heard of the term “BEG Diet” before but when I looked it up, it was mentioned being a “Boutique diet” meaning boutique companies that offer exotic meats and grain free diets.

So what do we do? Should we be worried? The best thing you can do is consult your vet but also be diligent in doing your own research. We plan on removing these pet foods from our dogs diet but we haven’t decided on what foods we will be switching to as of yet.

Heart disease in dogs is no joke. Be aware, look for signs. DCM can happen at any age and some symptoms may include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Pale gums
  • Increased heart rate
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Periods of weakness, and fainting

If you suspect your dog is having DCM, consult your veterinarian right away. If the symptoms are severe and your vet is not available, you may need to seek emergency care. Your veterinarian may ask you for a thorough dietary history, including all the foods (including treats) the dog has eaten.

The FDA is open to additional opportunities for collaboration and welcomes the submission of any information that may aid in their investigation. Detailed instructions for submitting case information can be found on “How to Report a Pet Food Complaint.”

The FDA is continuing their investigation and we will try our best to keep you informed on any updates. We welcome your thoughts and comments on this matter but please be kind and respectful to one another!

Do you have a favorite dog food? Tell us what you are feeding your fur baby and why you chose it specifically for your pooch.

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