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FDA & Grain Free Diets
At this time, many people have been concerned about their pet’s food and the recent FDA announcement regarding the possible link between “grain-free” diets and Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM). “Canine DCM is a disease of a dog’s heart muscle and results in an enlarged heart. As the heart and its chambers become dilated, it becomes harder for the heart to pump, and heart valves may leak, leading to a buildup of fluids in the chest and abdomen (FDA, 2019). This type of heart disease is more common in certain breeds of dogs, but the recent influx of DCM cases in breeds not typically pre-disposed has stirred the FDA to look into the possible cause.
While a lot of research still needs to be done, the FDA and many board-certified veterinary nutritionists are recommending pet owners steer clear of these “grain-free” diets – these are mainly diets that replace grains with legumes, pulses (e.g. chickpeas, lentils), and potatoes.
At this time, we are recommending that pet owners feed diets that are grain-inclusive, and ideally, that meet the standards of Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and World Small Animal Veterinary Association Organizations (WSAVA). The five brands that currently meet the standards of both of these organizations are Royal Canin, Hill’s Science Diet, Purina (e.g. Pro Plan & One), Iams, and Eukanuba.
If your pet is currently eating a “grain-free” diet, and you wish to transition them to a new diet, we recommend this be done slowly over a period of one to two weeks. You can start by adding 1⁄4 of the new diet to 3⁄4 of the old, and then slowly increase to 1⁄2 and 1⁄2, etc.
As new information is released, we will try to update you with continued recommendations, but please give us a call with any issues or concerns.
For more information from the FDA, please follow this link:
For more information on the WSAVA guidelines for diet selection, please follow this link: