Because of its link to DCM or dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs, grain-free diets are now under fire. The US FDA has identified 16 grain-free dog food brands (as of this writing) that may have caused DCM to dogs. With this happening, other brands are feeling the brunt of this announcement. But should you be cautious about grain-free diets?
Establishing the DCM link
From July 2018 through 2019, more than 500 dogs have been reported to have DCM. Most of these dogs (91% in fact) were found to have been eating grain-free diet. These grain-free diets, 93% of it, were found to have lentils and/or peas.
Now here’s where it gets interesting. Grain-free diets, as its name suggests, do not contain grains like corn, rice, barley, etc. Instead, they were replaced with large amounts of potatoes, peas, lentils, and legumes. These grain replacements are a substitute form of starch that is needed to extrude or make kibbles. Also, peas, lentils, and legumes are all high in protein, making them a cheaper alternative source for animal protein. Note that peas, lentils, and legumes are all plant-based proteins, so they do not contain taurine at all.
DCM is linked to taurine deficiency. The 500+ dogs found to have DCM were fed with grain-free diets that were identified by the FDA.
What to look for in a grain-free diet
While not all dog breeds are pre-disposed to DCM like others, it’s good to read the label if the grain-free diet we’re giving to our canine pets contain taurine. Some grain-free diet manufacturers have included the amino acid taurine in their dog food.
Of course, we’re still on the lookout for a balanced diet for our dogs. According to Dogster, “An average dog should have a diet that is 50% vegetable, 40% meat and 10% grain. All dogs also require some fat, amount dependent on their level of activity. Dogs also need approximately 4% of their diets to be fiber.”
Many grain-free diets have more protein and animal fats and less carbohydrates, making them easily digested by our canine pets
Benefits of a grain-free diet
- Healthy, shinier coat
- Improved skin
- Less shredding
- Eliminates many allergies
- More energy
- Better breath
- Fewer and compact stools
- Less flatulence
So yes, caution is needed when feeding your dog grain-free diets. Always consult your veterinarian about what kind of diet your canine friend needs. And if you’re giving him a grain-free diet, make sure that the diet not only promotes heart health like the dog foods from Addiction Foods, but his overall wellbeing too.
Buy Addiction Foods’ Dry Pet Foods in a store near you.