If you closely follow all things pet food-related, you’re likely to know about the grain-free movement, with slews of new formulas popping up sans carbohydrates. It’s almost like a paleo diet but for our furry friends, TBH. However, new research shows that grain-free dog food may be linked to heart disease, as reported by The New York Times last month.
The Food and Drug Administration—you know, the ones who regulate everything we put into our bodies, along with our pets, too—is investigating these grain-free eats for their positive correlation with a health condition called dilated cardiomyopathy, or D.C.M. This causes the heart to both weaken and enlarge, resulting in symptoms such as fatigue, difficulty breathing, coughing and fainting. Some dogs reportedly can even abruptly go into heart failure.
Although D.CM. is typically seen in large breed dogs whohave a genetic predisposition for it—think Doberman pinschers, Irish wolfhounds, boxers and Great Danes—one veterinary cardiology practice, CVCA, alerted the F.D.A. that it has been seeing D.C.M. among other breeds, including golden retrievers, doodle mixes, Labrador retrievers and Shih Tzus.
While no one is suggesting for you to immediately go out and change your dog’s diet, the FDA does note that these findings should at least give owners some pause. “While the exact cause of the reported illnesses has not yet been identified, PFI shares the belief that any pet illness should be taken seriously, and we remind pet owners to consult their trusted veterinarians with any questions about their pet’s health and well-being,” says Dana Brooks, the chief executive of the Pet Food Institute.
After all, your pup is your fur baby, right? That’s probably why your dog went paleo in the first place anyway. For now, no need to fret too much—not a single pet food recall has been instituted to date in relation to D.C.M.