Take a careful look at your preferred dog food brand before feeding your pup. The Food and Drug Administration has revealed a link between 16 brands of dog food and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a severe form of canine heart disease. After investigating more than 500 cases of DCM in dogs who ate foods labeled "grain-free," the FDA is now calling out certain brands which have frequently reported cases of DCM.
According to the FDA, the top three brands of dog food named in their reports are Acana, Zignature, and Taste of the Wild. In descending order of noted heart disease incidents, the full list of brands include Acana, Zignature, Taste of the Wild, 4Health, Earthborn Holistic, Blue Buffalo, Nature's Domain, Fromm, Merrick, California Natural, Natural Balance, Orijen, Nature's Variety, NutriSource, Nutro and Rachael Ray Nutrish. Most of the dog foods listed contain large amounts of peas, lentils, seeds, and/or potatoes.
"We understand the concern that pet owners have about these reports: the illnesses can be severe, even fatal, and many cases report eating "grain-free" labeled pet food. The FDA is using a range of science-based investigative tools as it strives to learn more about this emergence of DCM and its potential link to certain diets or ingredients," the FDA report states. At this time, the FDA has not issued recalls of any of the dog food brands but is continuing its investigation and encourages dog owners to consult their veterinarian with concerns.
In July 2018, the FDA began investigating cases of dogs diagnosed with heart disease. Since then, 560 cases of dogs with DCM have been reported to the FDA, which is a low number given the estimated 77 million pet dogs in the United States, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Symptoms of DCM include dogs who tire easily, cough, and have difficulty breathing. Golden retrievers with DCM were reported to the FDA more frequently than other breeds, but are not necessarily more at risk than other dogs. If left untreated, DCM may be fatal.