The Facts on DCM & Alternative Diets for Your Dog

The FDA (Food & Drug Administration) issued a report on an ongoing investigation linking Canine DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy) to a list of pet food brands to the public. One very important factor stretched across the board from both pet food companies and the FDA, is to consult a board certified pet nutritionist and/or veterinarian before making any drastic changes to a pet’s diet. The cause for concern is understandable and we are here to help you understand the facts and offer alternative diets to use if you’re uncomfortable using your current pet food. Before going into which diets to use as an alternative, here are some important facts on canine DCM and the FDA’s newly gathered information.

What is dilated cardiomyopathy?

Canine dilated cardiomyopathy is a common heart disease where blood is deteriorated from pumping out of the heart causing it to enlarge. DCM has been speculated as a link to genetic disease through the years of reports among said breeds. Here is a list of the most common breeds that are speculated to be genetically linked to DCM.

  • Afghan Hound
  • American Cocker Spaniel
  • Boxer
  • Dalmatian
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • English Bulldog
  • English Cocker Spaniel
  • Great Dane
  • Irish Wolfhound
  • Newfoundland
  • Saint Bernard
  • Scottish Deerhound
DCM Cases: Breeds Most Frequently Reported to FDA

While these breeds are prevalent to DCM, the subject as to what causes it, whether dietic or genetic, is still unknown and inconclusive. Taurine and carnitine deficiencies also contribute to DCM in select breeds but not inclusive to all breeds of dogs. Therefore, there is no definitive cause to canine dilated cardiomyopathy.

Symptoms to look out for

The following signs and symptoms are cause to consult a veterinarian for DCM.

• Loss of appetite
• Lethargy
• Difficulty breathing
• Pale gums
• Coughing
• Increased heart rate
• Loss of consciousness

The FDA’s Ongoing Investigation

On June 27th, 2019 the Food & Drug Administration publicized an investigation on the potential link between grain-free foods, containing peas, legumes & potatoes as main ingredients, to DCM. Between January of 2014 to April of 2018 there have been 524 received reports by the FDA of dilated cardiomyopathy with 560 dogs diagnosed and 119 of them reported dead. While this may seem like an alarming rate, this is making up about 0.1% of dogs within the study. However, no reports included a confirmed DCM diagnosis. Another interesting study during this investigation is the amount of dry food that has been reported vs. any other form of dog food.

Reported Dog Recipes in DCM Reports to FDA

Mainly, focusing on 16 brands, it is important to note that the Food & Drug Administration does not have a conclusive list of every brand of food that is safe from DCM and the investigation has not yet identified the listed brands as a confirmed cause for dilated cardiomyopathy. Despite the newly found research, the FDA does not advise you to change your pet’s current diet without consulting a certified pet nutritionist, first. Please refer to the FDA’s official FAQ page for more important information regarding DCM and how it affects your dog.

Most Frequent Dog Food Brands in DCM Cases Reported to FDA
Most frequent dog food brands that were reported to the FDA

Please refer to the in-depth analysis of the Food and Drug Administrations for further information.

Alternative Diets

With all the information on the FDA’s investigation, here are some other dietary options if you are still feeling wary. Again, before making a change to a diet that you have been using for years, it is highly advised to consult with a certified expert beforehand.

Grain-in & Grain-free Brands

For those who have found a brand that tends to work for their pup, we have a list of 5 brands that were included in the FDA report that include both a grain-free option and grain inclusive recipes. Fromm, Blue Buffalo, Natural Balance, Nutrisource, and Nutro are some of the top brands that include a numerous amount of options for you to choose from. Including formulas that implement taurine supplement to avoid any taurine deficiency linked to dilated cardiomyopathy.

Our Top Grain Inclusive Recipes

Below is a list of our top selling recipes that include grain if the diet you’re currently using does not offer any grain inclusive or whole grain diets.

Solid Gold Hund-n-Flocken with Lamb Dry Dog Food
Fromm Gold Adult Dry Dog Food
NutriSource Adult Chicken and Rice Dry Dog Food
Canidae All Life Stages Chicken, Turkey, Lamb & Fish Meals Recipe Dry Dog Food
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food
Farmina Ocean N&D Natural and Delicious Ancestral Grain Medium & Maxi Adult Cod, Spelt, Oats & Orange Dry Dog Food
The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Chicken Recipe Dehydrated Dog Food
Purina Pro Plan Sport All Life Stages Performance 30/20 Formula Dry Dog Food
Wellness Complete Health Natural Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food
Canine Caviar Free Spirit Holistic Entree Dry Dog Food

As the Food & Drug Administration continues their investigation, we highly advise researching through multiple sources as well as seeking advice from a licensed pet food professional. If there are any further questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact our super friendly and knowledgable Customer Service team at 888-316-7297.