Is grain free dog food really that dangerous?
Disclaimer: Always consult YOUR veterinarian. I am not a doctor. Just a woman that loves her dogs to no end.
Should I avoid grain free dog food for my dog? Recently the FDA issued an alert about grain free dog food and the possibility of death if you are feeding this type of food to your dog. After receiving questions, I decided to do some research of my own and this is what I have found.
You can view a video I created regarding this issue here.
In 2019, the FDA issued an alert about the connection between grain-free dog food and dilated cardiomyopathy. Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a type of canine heart disease that affects the heart muscle and can result in congestive heart failure, leading to death.
After doing some research, I found that it isn't so much that ALL dog food labeled grain-free will harm your dog, it's the ingredients that are often used in these foods to replace the grains. Specifically, the concerning ingredients include peas, lentils, chickpeas, beans, or potatoes (including sweet potatoes).
According to the AKC website linked below, the following brands have been reported more than 10x as causing an issue in pets (as of April 2019).
Acana (67 reports)
Zignature (64 reports)
Taste of the Wild (53 reports)
4Health (32 reports)
Earthborn Holistic (32 reports)
Blue Buffalo (31 reports)
Nature’s Domain (29 reports)
Fromm (24 reports)
Merrick (16 reports)
California Natural (15 reports)
Natural Balance (15 reports)
Orijen (12 reports)
Nature’s Variety (10 reports)
Nutrisource (10 reports)
Nutro (10 reports)
Rachael Ray Nutrish (10 reports)
Now while, our current dog food (American Journey) was not listed on the report, after checking the label, I found some of the concerning ingredients listed. Therefore, we have made the decision to transition the dogs to a different dry dog food just as a precaution.
Ultimately, it is best to consult your veterinarian - while there appears to be a link between grain-free and DCM, this relationship has not yet been proven.