dog licking his lips over a bowl of food

When it comes to our pets, there’s no such thing as being too dedicated! We look for every way to enrich and nourish their lives. Nutrition is one core place to focus that has far-reaching effects for the good of our pets. There are many options for feeding pets these days, from long-established commercially prepared diets, to hydrolyzed proteins, to organic ingredients, to grain free, to raw diets. These aren’t all created equally for each pet when one quality or another is sought and for what goal. There are claims that pets can’t readily digest grains, and so these grains and their breakdown by-products cause damage to the gastrointestinal tract or contribute to food allergy or intolerance. For some pets, a grain free diet really does affect their health for the better. However, recent research by the Food and Drug Administration and veterinary cardiologists point to a link between grain-free dog diets and a common type of canine heart disease.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Dilated cardiomyopathy, or DMC., is a condition in which the heart weakens and becomes enlarged. Symptoms of this disease include fatigue, difficulty breathing, coughing, and fainting. Large dog breeds such as Doberman pinschers, Irish wolfhounds, and Great Danes have a genetic predisposition for DCM, but it is also linked to breeds like golden retrievers, doodle mixes, Labrador retrievers and Shih Tzus. It is not clear why grain-free diets are problematic –is it the absence of grains, the presence of legumes or something else entirely? At this time, we do not actively recommend grain-free diets to our pet owners. The vast majority of dogs can handle grains without a problem. It’s just that sensitive few who need the good with the potential bad.

Choosing Food for Your Pet

The bottom line: Don’t avoid grains purely based on myth. It is important that you select a pet food that contains high-quality ingredients and made by a manufacturer that has nutritional expertise. Please let us know if you have further questions.