FDA Links Dog Food That May Cause Fatal Heart Disease

Posted by Christy Caplan
Dog Kibble

This is the news a lot of pet parents have been waiting for including myself. My dog Bruiser passed away from liver cancer a few weeks ago but also had congestive heart failure for the past year. He had outstanding care and his cardiologist pointed us in the right direction after he was diagnosed. We were just happy he wanted to eat at all as the heart medication totally ruined his appetite and it never really returned to "normal" but we were very worried about what was ok in light of the news about grain-free diets and the possible link to heart disease. 

The truth is, "what to feed your dog" is the question we all ask the day they start their journey with us. Now we know what not to feed our dogs thanks to this FDA study we've been waiting on for months. The second question we need an answer to is "do grain-free diets cause heart disease"? Let's unpack this news story as the report is trending in all of our feeds this week!

The Food and Drug Administration or FDA is investigating reports of an increase in a deadly heart condition in dogs called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). This is a disease of the heart muscle. 

(This Wide Open Pets article talks about congestive heart failure and what signs to look for if you think your dog is experiencing respiratory distress).

Here's the full document from the FDA. 

In the summary about the food that may be linked to heart disease, in many cases, it's dry form and contained ingredients including peas, lentils, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Many others were grain-free. This also goes without saying but please talk to your vet about all of these results as they can help us all digest what we found out from these findings.

Staff note - please read this for context from the FDA report:

"When examining the most commonly reported pet food brands named in DCM reports submitted to the FDA, it is important to note that the graph below is based on reports that included brand information and that some reports named multiple brands. Brands that were named ten or more times are featured below. For a granular, case-by-case breakdown of DCM reports submitted to the FDA, see Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy Complaints Submitted to FDA-CVM Through April 30, 2019."

These are the food brands that may cause congestive heart failure. They investigated more than 500 cases of DCM.

Heart Disease
FDA Report

So there it is in all its glory. These brands were associated with having the most cases and these 16 pet food brands were most frequently identified in 524 reported cases, which included 515 dogs and nine cats. 

The report also says 119 dogs and five cats died from the disease. 

Dog Kibble

The report notes that the FDA doesn't yet know how certain diets may be associated with the disease.

There may be a potential link between these brands and canine heart disease so it makes sense for pet owners to talk with their vet if they're feeding grain-free dog food or they suspect their dog may be experiencing any of the signs we mention in our heart failure article.

Do you know any dogs with heart disease? Please leave a comment below. 

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FDA Links Dog Food That May Cause Fatal Heart Disease