To grain or not to grain… That’s NOT the question. January 21, 2022 – Posted in: dogs, nutrition

It’s a couple of years later since the FDA announced their findings regarding grain-free diets and how they may, or may not, be connected with heart disease in dogs. We have noticed that there are still some rumors circulating about the FDA’s findings, so we are here to give you the facts.

  • There is NO scientific evidence to date that supports a link between grain-free and legume-rich diets to Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)
  • Most grain-free kibble uses legumes as a binder instead of grain, which is why grain-free foods are in the spotlight. Although there is no scientific proof at this time (as stated by the FDA), it is believed that legumes hinder the absorption of taurine (an amino acid that supports heart health & occurs naturally within a dog’s body).
  • Among the cases reported to the FDA, the overwhelming majority of impacted dogs belonged to breeds genetically predisposed to DCM and heart disease in general.
  • The FDA states that they “do not know the specific connection between [legume-rich diets] and cases of non-hereditary DCM and is continuing to explore the role of genetics, underlying medical conditions, and/or other factors.”
  • In fact, the “FDA has received reports of non-hereditary DCM associated with both grain-free and grain-containing diets.”

So what should I feed my dog?

  • Feed your dog a species-appropriate diet! Real meat should always be the first ingredient (that’s where taurine is found). And bonus points for adding any fresh, raw foods to your dog’s bowl (try an organic raw egg or a handful of fresh veggies)!
  • If you are concerned about your dog’s heart or lack of taurine, supplement with a taurine boost or CoQ10. You can also ask your vet to check your dog’s taurine levels.

Grain-inclusive or grain-free?

  • It all depends on your dog! If your dog gets a little itchy when eating grains, leave them out. If you prefer your dog has whole grains in their diet, keep them in. Just remember– healthy grains are NOT corn or wheat. Look for whole grains like oats and millet.

We have plenty of wholesome grain-free and grain-inclusive dog food options! Stop by anytime and we can help you make the best choice for your dog.

Click Here to Read the FDA’s DCM Questions & Answers