Grain-Free Diets and Dilated Cardiomyopathy
We have had many clients ask about the recent correlation with grain-free diets causing dilated cardiomyopathy (or DCM) in dogs. DCM is a heart condition that causes the ventricles to increase in size, and the heart muscle to decrease in size, and anatomically changes the shape of the heart. These deteriorations can cause the heart to not pump as well, leading to congestive heart failure. Here is what we know:
- Grain-free diets for domesticated dogs and cats is not necessary. Most people switch their pets to grain-free diets based on the thought that when they have a food allergy, the animal is allergic to the grain like a human would be. It is very uncommon that a pet is allergic to a grain; 98% of the time the allergy is to a protein source (the top two allergens are chicken and beef). When there is a food allergy, we usually recommend switching the protein source to a novel protein (such as rabbit, turkey, or bison), or switching to a prescription hydrolyzed protein diet.
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