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The Risks of Grain-Free Dog Food: Recent Studies Reveal Heart Health Concerns

Grain-free dog food has been a popular trend in recent years, with many pet owners opting for this type of diet in the belief that it is healthier for their furry companions. However, recent studies have concluded that grain-free dog food can actually be harmful to many dogs and may even lead to heart failure.


A study conducted by the FDA in 2019 found that dogs on grain-free diets were more likely to develop a heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) than dogs on diets containing grains. DCM is a serious condition in which the heart becomes enlarged and weakened, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood effectively. This can lead to heart failure and other serious health complications.

The study found that the majority of dogs affected by DCM were eating grain-free diets, and that the majority of these diets were made with legumes such as peas, lentils, and chickpeas, and/or potatoes as the main ingredients. The study also found that the dogs affected by DCM were more likely to be breeds that are not typically prone to the disease, such as Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Whippets, and Cocker Spaniels.

Another study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) in 2018, found that dogs on grain-free diets had higher levels of a protein called taurine in their blood than dogs on diets containing grains. Taurine is an amino acid that is essential for heart health, and dogs with low levels of taurine are at risk of developing DCM.

It's important to note that not all grain-free dog foods are harmful and some dogs may be able to tolerate a grain-free diet without any issues. However, the studies suggest that many dogs may be better off with a diet that contains grains, and that pet owners should consult with their veterinarian before making any changes to their dog's diet.

If you have been feeding your dog a grain-free diet and are concerned about their health, it is important to consult with your veterinarian. They can help you determine if your dog is at risk of developing DCM, and can help you create a diet that will meet your dog's nutritional needs.

Need some help selecting a food for your little furry companion? You can find an article about that in next week's blog post!

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