These days, grain free food is popular among dog owners. It may be the hype of “clean eating” humans are experiencing that is informing this dietary change, but is it all it’s cracked up to be?

Although some brands make amazing, grain free dog foods that work well for dogs, some animals are not having the same experience.

Read on to learn more about a recent FDA study that ties some grain free foods to a life threatening canine illness.

FDA Investigation

The Food and Drug Administrations is beginning to let pet owners know that dogs eating certain pet foods containing peas, legumes, lentils or even potatoes as main ingredients are experiencing canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). This is an unusual finding since the instances of DCM are occurring in breeds that don’t normally experience it.

What is canine DCM?

DCM is a disease of the dog’s heart muscle. This results in an enlarged heart. When the arteries are dilated, it’s harder for the heart to do its job pumping blood through the body. As a result, heart valves leak and a buildup of fluid begins to fill the chest cavity.

There may be a genetic component to the occurrence of DCM since it seems to appear in large and giant breeds including:

  • Boxers
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Great Danes
  • Irish Wolfhounds
  • Saint Bernards

The disease is appearing in select small and medium dogs including, specifically Cocker Spaniels (American and English). There have been reports of Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Bulldogs, Mini Schnauzers, Whippets, and Shih Tzus having DCM.

It was consistent across the board that all these dogs with reported DCM had a similar, grain free diet with fiber and starch coming from legumes, potatoes and peas. The main symptoms of DCM in these cases was low energy, cough, labored breathing, and collapse.

You can learn more about the FDA findings here.

What Does that Mean for Your Pup?

If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, see your veterinarian. Diet is important, so you should let your vet know when you make dramatic changes to your dog’s diet.

In case you find that there are certain foods causing your dog to become ill, you can report a pet food complaint here.

It’s up to you to make food choices for your pet, just make sure they are well informed and safe.

The Bottom Line

Only you can advocate for your dog’s health. If you believe something they are eating is affecting their health, it’s crucial that you see your vet.

Just like there’s no one way to eat for humans, there’s no one way for dogs to eat. In the end, you just need to do what’s right for your pet.

When in doubt, seek some advice from other dog owners. There are websites that are completely devoted to dog food reviews. So, you have any questions, check out these amazing free resources.

We’ll be sure to publish any updates to this report if and when they become available. Hopefully we don’t see an end to the popularity of grain free dog foods.