Many of you may have seen in the news recently that a correlation has been identified between heart disease in dogs and Grain Free diets, or diets with exotic ingredients.
This posting out of Tuft University’s Veterinary School’s Nutrition department best describes the findings to date, symptoms, and concerns.
We have had one confirmed patient at our hospital with dilated cardiomyopathy (in a non at-risk breed). He had a new heart murmur on his yearly physical exam and the cardiologist found that he had a markedly enlarged heart, as well as inadequate blood taurine levels. He was also on a grain free diet.
So what food should you feed if your dog hasn’t been diagnosed with a grain intolerance? Please either do your own research using the below link or ask your veterinarian. Do NOT rely on the people selling the food at the pet store as they usually have no nutrition science or veterinary education at all. We are repeatedly hearing all sorts of misinformation being passed along this way – often contributing to further issues with our patients. The internet is also a terrible resource for food research unless you stick to the guidelines provided by Tufts here.
The foods that our veterinarians trust the most and feed to our own pets are from companies that have done extensive published research on their foods, have tracked life studies of pets fed their foods, produce their own foods in their own facilities (label will say “manufactured by” not “manufactured for”), and rigorously perform quality controls on their foods all the time. Because they are big name companies and major competitors, they are often disparaged by the boutique food companies and the people who sell them.
These companies that we trust and recommend for cats and dogs are Hill’s/Science Diet, Royal Canin, Iams/Eukanuba, and Purina. So, while we love to support the little guys, being one ourself, pet food production is an area where we just don’t think it can be done right without extensive testing, quality control, and life studies which most little companies can’t afford to do.
We are here for you if you have any questions!
Dr. Amy Tongue and team