Dog Food Dilemma: When Your Pet’s Pick is on a Bad List


The FDA issued its third report on a dog food investigation looking into certain foods possibly being linked to a canine heart condition.

A dog food investigation lists the dog food I feed my Rough Collie as one of the brands being looked into.

The Food and Drug Administration announced one year ago that it was looking into reports of a heart condition. Veterinarians reported canine dilated cardiomyopathy in an apparently disproportionate number of dogs eating pet foods labeled as “grain-free.”

The recipes list a high proportion of peas, lentils, other legume seeds and/or potatoes in various forms as main ingredients.

Those ingredients and the absence of glutens as fillers that dogs don’t theoretically need anyway should make the food healthier. So the mystery is why those recipes seem to be linked to DCM.

The report acknowledges an obvious factor: the concern of pet owners. After all, the condition can be fatal. Many of the DCM cases were fed those “grain-free” dog foods. There’s a list of 16 brands. You may have heard of them; they’re higher-dollar dog foods that ought to be healthier.

The well-known brands on the list include names like Acana, Taste of the Wild, Blue Buffalo and Fromm. The dog food I give my dog, Rachel Ray’s Nutrish is also on the list, though it’s tied in last place with the lowest number of cases. Still, it made the list.

And when you look at the breeds affected, though Rough Collies aren’t in the top breeds, cases have been reported.

What’s most nerve-wracking is there’s no clear explanation of the reason for this apparent connection between the type of food and the condition.

They’re not even sure the dog food is the problem. The “grain-free” variety of dog food is popular because we’re more health conscious in general. But maybe it’s something else.

We just don’t yet know what that something else might be.

In the meantime, the report from the FDA suggests pet owners should talk it over with their veterinarians. I’ve done so, and the message I’m getting is that until there’s a little bit more information about how such a connection could happen, there’s no reason to panic.

My dog gets regular checkups and I watch him for any signs that something’s off with his health.

Still, I’m considering a switch to a different dog food, possibly one that, for all appearances, might be less healthy if the healthier version carries its own problems.

How do you feel about the report? Are you considering a change for your dog’s food?

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.