Is a Grain-Free Diet Good or Bad for Your Dog?
Selecting food for your pet can be overwhelming when you’re faced with seemingly endless options and conflicting marketing messages about ingredients, brands, and health promises. Often these advertisements make claims about the health benefits of pet food trends before we really know whether or not certain ingredients and formulations actually are better for our pets. This has certainly been the case with BEG (boutique, exotic, or grain-free) pet diets, and it seems some of these fancy pet food formulations could actually be harmful to our dogs.
The Concern With Grain-Free Pet Food
Over the past several years, veterinarians began noticing an uptick in the number of dogs diagnosed with a heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). This increase in DCM cases was especially concerning because the diagnoses were appearing in dogs that had no genetic predisposition for developing the heart problem.
The FDA opened up a case and collected 515 reports between 2014 and 2019 on dogs diagnosed with DCM. When reviewing the reports, it was determined that 90% of dogs from the case had been on grain-free foods and 93% were eating diets that contained lentils and/or peas.
The connection between these foods (grain-free formulas and formulas containing lentils or peas) and the development of DCM is not yet fully understood. However, it seems that in some cases, the lentils or peas might be blocking a dog’s body’s ability to absorb and use the amino acid, taurine
Most dogs that developed DCM while eating a boutique diet recovered after being taken off of the food and given a nutritional supplement containing taurine.
What Should You Do?
If you’re unsure whether your pet’s food is strictly grain-free, check the label and/or call the number on the package and consider slowly switching over to a diet that is appropriate for your dog or cat.
Talk to Our Goldsboro Veterinarian About Your Pet’s Diet Today
With so many pet food options available, it can be extremely difficult to choose the diet that’s best for your pet. We welcome you to schedule an appointment at Eastwaye Veterinary Clinic to talk with our veterinarian, Dr. John Lewis about a personalized nutrition plan for your dog or cat. We can help you select nutritious food, healthy treats, and even dietary supplements based on your pet’s individual dietary and health needs. To learn more, we invite you to contact our office today.