The FDA is currently researching a potential link between grain free dog food and development of heart disease. Grain-free food may lack taurine, an essential ingredient for your dog’s heart health.
Grain-free dog foods are high in carbohydrates, such as peas, lentils, chickpeas and potatoes. These ingredients may lack taurine or provide taurine in a way that is not available for the body to use. Low levels of taurine make dogs prone to dilated cardiomyopathy, a heart condition in which the heart muscle becomes stretched and unable to beat or contract effectively.
Grain-free food has gained popularity in recent years due to trends in the human world. It is important to remember that dogs are omnivores, meaning their body needs a little bit of everything. Protein, carbohydrates, grains, fats, vitamins, and minerals are all needed to maintain a healthy diet for your dog.
The most common reason dog owners choose grain free diets is because of concern for food allergies. However, the protein sources, mainly chicken and beef, are the most common cause of food allergies. Of the small percentage of dogs that have food allergies, only 0.9% of those dogs have true grain sensitivity.
In light of the current FDA investigation, we recommend the following for our patients:
- We do not recommend any dog under one year of age be on a grain-free diet.
- Dogs currently on grain-free diets that do not have a diagnosed grain allergy should transition to high quality, well-balanced diet that is NOT grain free.
- Dogs with a diagnosed grain allergy should be transitioned to a grain-free brand food with the AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials) statement and consider blood testing for taurine levels.
Click here for more information regarding the FDA’s current investigation.
We all want what is best for our beloved pets and to keep their hearts healthy! If you have any questions or concerns regarding your pet’s diet please contact us.