FDA Investigating Link Between Grain-Free Diet and Heart Disease in Dogs

There is new information that has recently been brought to light that should be of great interest to dog owners throughout the world. The FDA investigating a link between grain-free diet and heart disease in dogs has created concerns among pet owners, over the contents of their food and potential health risks. What was once considered to be a healthy diet for your pup may cause the potentially disastrous health issue. Devoted dog lovers are consistently on the lookout for foods that will pamper pets, may have inadvertently deprived their pets of a nutrient that they need for promoting good cardiac health.

Studies show the grain-free trend isn’t healthy

The North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine has taken on the task of finding out why there is a rise in heart disease in breeds that previously showed no disposition towards the condition. What they found was appalling. The team set about on a mission to isolate the causes for this new and emerging trend in formerly healthy dog breeds, for heart problems. Of all the pets involved in the study, the one thing that they all had in common was a grain-free diet. This has prompted the United States Food and Drug Administration to investigate the initial findings further.

Symptoms of heart disease in canines

Experts in the field of veterinary medicine note that there are similarities between the symptoms of heart disease among dogs and humans. A noticeable decline in activity levels, less tolerance for physical exercise, a decrease in appetite to the extreme that some dogs may stop eating, and a lethargic state are signs of heart disease that dogs may share with people. According to Dr. Ariel Robelen, “It’s unnecessary for your dog to be on a grain-free diet.”

There is hope for dogs with a diet-induced cardiomyopathy

One pet owner who brought his dog to the veterinarians involved in the study because of distressing symptoms. His pet didn’t want to play and was becoming lethargic. It was discovered that there was cardiomyopathy. The doctors ordered a change in his diet and soon, there was a reversal in the trajectory of the dog’s health. It appears that a grain-free diet that was intended to enhance the health of these beloved pets may be responsible for shortening their lives and decreasing the quality of their health, which is the total opposite of what these diets were supposed to do.

Canine diets currently under investigation

The FDA is taking the findings of NCSU’s veterinary college seriously and has launched a study to investigate the link between diets that are grain-free, and weighted with a higher concentration of lentils, peas, and potatoes in an attempt to further narrow down the causes for the increase in heart issues in dogs. They are being joined by nutritionists and cardiologists from NC State U, in a team effort to learn more about the situation, along with the implications for which diets are optimal for canines.

What current findings suggest

If you’ve been feeding your dog the high-end pet diets that are grain-free because you thought it would improve your pet’s health, the experts are now suggesting that you could be harming your pet without realizing it. The best course of action to take while we’re waiting for more information to be released is to feed your pet a balanced and nutritional canine diet that includes some grains. If you’ve been spending extra on fancy pet foods that fall into the category of grain-free, it may be time to switch.

Implications for the dog food industry

Although the study is still in its early stages, this information could have an impact on dog food manufacturers. The diets that are currently in vogue as “special” or healthier because they are grain-free, may no longer be marketable as the best choice for pet health. Companies that are interested in promoting good health in dogs will also have their ears to the ground as the FDA and the NCSU team continue forward to look for answers that could recommend changes to the current formulations used for making high-quality pet foods. This isn’t something that was done intentionally and in the meantime, we’re all waiting to hear the final verdict.


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FDA Investigating Link Between Grain-Free Diet and Heart Disease in Dogs