Warning about grain free dog food

This may have been posted before but there seems to be as association between grain free dog food and "canine dilated cardiomyopathy". If you're interested you might want to check out an article about it, either by searching or checking this NY Times article out: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/29/us/dog-food-heart-disease-fda.html?searchResultPosition=1

Obviously a lot of dogs eating this food who are not developing CDC but this might be of interest to the community. And again, sorry if this has been posted/discussed before.

I have seen this information before, and know a vet who has first hand experience. She cautions her clients about grain free diets.

Like any other fad, grain free has been embraced on the theory that because wild canines don't eat grain, somehow it is bad for dogs. This idea negates the thousands of years dogs have been associated with humans and scavenging their garbage. There is evidence that dogs have evolved to eat more like we do, including grains, and have the enzymes to deal with them, although even wild canines would consume some grain because of the stomach contents of their prey. I think GMOs are the wild card in this, and perhaps one of the reasons we see more allergic reactions, both in dogs and humans, but there is no way to prove this and virtually no possibility of a control group due to the extent GMOs have infiltrated our food supply. JMHO, but a varied diet is likely best for our pets, including some grains.

For about 7 or 8 months this has been going around. The actual figures are insane... something like 0.07 percent of dogs that MIGHT be affected. People going nuts over it, dog food companies making money from fear mongering. The FDA puts out an update which is basically that they don't have any more info or research to report, but hey... watch your dogs.

The article you posted was one of the best (no hysteria, logical, clear) I have seen. Thanks for posting it.

@eeeefarm said in Warning about grain free dog food:

Like any other fad, grain free has been embraced on the theory that because wild canines don't eat grain, somehow it is bad for dogs. This idea negates the thousands of years dogs have been associated with humans and scavenging their garbage.

Stomach contents have predigested food. But yes, dogs are far better at digesting carbs/grains than wolves.

I don't consider grain free to be just a "fad". Some dogs have issues with grains, though animal proteins are the major allergens. Most people I know who do grain free have dogs with serious allergy problems and they tested them. Often grain-free is used in elimination diets to determine protein issues by having limited ingredients. With the massive numbers on grain free, I doubt it is much of a problem.

I use grain free because I don't want their protein to be provided by grains and stuff. But do they get grains in treats and from our food we share? Yep. And veggies and fruit and just about everything we eat that isn't toxic to them.

the original data from UC Davis was more useful. the ingredients in question are Leguemes, peas, pea protein, soy etc. Not so much grain free but what replaced the grain. The original article also had a way to document report, test and where to send data. that was way more helpful that a list of foods in particular because not specific of which variety of food of a brand was problematic.

@rugosa oops, seems to be the same,with a link to the brands

But wild canines do eat grain that is why I always wondered about the grain free idea, wild canines have always eaten the bellies and intestines of wild game and therefore ingested what ever the grazing animals had in there stomachs .

The FDA says over and over, they don't KNOW. But the tin foil hats folk are presenting as absolute fact. It may be a few years before there is enough research.

The FDA reminds readers…

“It’s important to note that the reports include dogs that have eaten grain-free and grain containing foods and also include vegetarian or vegan formulations. They also include all forms of diets: kibble, canned, raw and home-cooked.

“Therefore, we do not think these cases can be explained simply by whether or not they contain grains, or by brand or manufacturer.

The Agency goes on to assure dog owners…

“To put this issue into proper context, the American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that there are 77 million pet dogs in the United States.

“As of April 30, 2019, the FDA has received reports about 560 dogs diagnosed with DCM suspected to be linked to diet. Tens of millions of dogs have been eating dog food without developing DCM.”<<

I was using Fromm for a while, but now mostly raw.. scraps from the table, leftovers just to make her eat , she is doing just fine

@debradownsouth said in Warning about grain free dog food:

The FDA says over and over, they don't KNOW. But the tin foil hats folk are presenting as absolute fact. It may be a few years before there is enough research.

The other side of this is that it's not a heavy burden to change dog food. We use some grain free kibble for treats and we're not changing that. However, if that was the main kibble we would. There is no conclusive evidence linking the grain free food to heart disease but it's easy enough to use something else. Why not switch rather than take the chance? IOW there may not be any benefit to changing but there isn't any cost either.

I also think comparing the 560 dogs with 77 million pet dogs misleading. First we don't know what percentage of the 77 million dogs are using grain free dog food. Second we only know the reported number of cardiac issues not the actual number. That number is almost guaranteed to be much higher. The actual number might represent an epidemic. No way to say.

So my bottom line would be that I'm not convinced there is a link but I'd assume there was one unless there are good reasons to be using a grain free dog food as the primary food. This could of course turn out to be a wrong decision -- often decisions under uncertainty are -- but it seems on balance to be reasoned.

Logical, not "chicken little the sky is falling" thinking. Thanks DonC. I hate companies being gutted without evidence.

And I agree, if I had dogs - especially prone to the disorder -- on just grain-free, I might switch for added protection.

last edited by DebraDownSouth

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