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Grain Free: Healthy or Potentially Hazardous?

As pet owners, it is our goal to provide the best care to our furry family members. We want them to have the comfiest bed, the highest quality of food, and all of the love and attention they deserve! 


Many of you may be aware of the recent report released by the FDA in June that may be linking a form of heart disease with grain free diets. While data is still being collected and analyzed, the report showed that of the patients who were diagnosed with a form of heart disease called dilated cardiomyopathy, 91% of them were being fed a grain free diet and 93% of them had peas/lentils as the major grain substitute. Almost 50% of the cases were being fed Acana, Zignature or Taste of the Wild- diets that our clients previously felt were high quality foods.

 
For any of you who have shopped at a large pet store or even a local pet boutique, you know that the pet food market has increased dramatically in recent years. It can be a daunting task to choose the food that you think is best for your beloved furry friend. We oftentimes associate the most expensive brand with being the highest quality, but that is not always the case. We want to feed our pets with the same standards we have in mind for ourselves. It seems that in recent years we started to feel that foods with corn were unhealthy and so we began to steer away from foods containing this ingredient. However, instead of corns and grains, pet food companies substituted these with peas/lentils and now there is concern that this substitution could be harming our pets. Sadly, there is no research that supports that grain free diets are healthier and now we are finding out that it could potentially cause a very serious heart condition.

 

While research is still being done regarding dilated cardiomyopathy and the link to grain free or exotic protein diets, our current recommendations are as follows: 

-If your dog has been on a grain free diet, we highly recommend changing to a non grain free formula. Please schedule an exam for your pet so we can determine if there is evidence of heart disease.

-If you do not wish to change the diet as a preventive measure without more information, consider an echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) and testing taurine concentration.

-Report your findings to the FDA.

For further information regarding this topic, please call us at 760-736-3636
or refer to the https://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/news/uc-davis-investigates-link-between-dog-diets-and-deadly-heart-disease regarding this topic.

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