*Please note, this is not an opinion piece. All facts are taking from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The FDA is sharing new information about reports possibly linking grain-free dog foods to a spike in dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a disease of the heart muscles where the heart can’t generate enough pressure to pump blood effectively throughout the body. Many of these cases are said to include dog breeds that aren’t normally predisposed to the disease.
According to the FDA, they’ve seen a large increase in cases within the last couple of years. Since grain-free formulas aren’t new to the pet food industry, they call it “puzzling”.
“Between January 1, 2014 and April 30, 2019, the FDA received 524 reports of DCM (515 canine reports, 9 feline reports). Approximately 222 of these were reported between December 1, 2018 and April 30, 2019 (219 canine reports, 3 feline reports). Some of these reports involved more than one affected animal from the same household.
“The FDA is working with the pet food industry to better understand whether changes in ingredients, ingredient sourcing, processing or formulation may have contributed to the development of DCM.”
What Pet Parents Need To Know
While the investigation continues, the FDA recently released the following graphic. It highlights the 16 dog food brands named most frequently in DCM cases reported to the FDA. Please note, this graph doesn’t include the complete list of reported foods. You can find more details here.
We also now know the majority of reports were for dry dog food formulas. Although, the FDA points out that raw food, semi-moist food, and wet foods were also reported.
What’s Inside These Foods
Back in July 2018, the FDA began looking into pet foods that contained a high proportion of peas, lentils, other legume seeds, and/or potatoes as the main ingredients. Now, their reports show:
“More than 90 percent of products were ‘grain-free’, and 93 percent of reported products had peas and/or lentils. A far smaller proportion contained potatoes.”
Illnesses can be severe and even fatal. Some possible signs and symptoms of DCM include:
- Decreased energy
- Difficulty breathing
- Episodes of collapse
If your dog experiences any of these symptoms, you should call your vet or local emergency vet care ASAP. If you believe your dog is affected, the FDA would like to hear from you. Check out their How To Report a Pet Food Complaint page.
This investigation is ongoing. Click here to read the complete, latest FDA reporting.