What does the FDA have to say about Dilated Cardiomyopathy?

I have been getting several customers a day coming in confused about the FDA’s investigation of a potential link between diet and Dilated Cardiomyopathy (or DCM), and what to do about it. There are so many different articles written about it from different perspectives with heavy bias and misinformation, that we decided to go straight to the FDA. We wanted to share some of their most frequently asked questions and answers.

Here are two questions and answers from the FDA’s website:

Does the FDA know what it is about these foods that may be connected to canine DCM?

“At this time, it is not clear what it is about these diets that may be connected to DCM in dogs. There are multiple possible causes of DCM. Taurine deficiency is well-documented as a potential cause of DCM, but it is not the only cause of DCM. Nutritional makeup of the main ingredients or how dogs process them, main ingredient sourcing, processing, amount used, or other factors could be involved.”

What’s the safest diet for my dog?

“Different dogs have different nutritional needs based on a number of factors, so nutrition advice is not one-size-fits-all. The FDA recommends asking your veterinarian, who may consult a board-certified or veterinary nutritionist, for advice about what to feed your dog.

It’s important to note that the reports include dogs that have eaten grain-free and grain containing foods and also include vegetarian or vegan formulations. They also include all forms of diets: kibble, canned, raw and home-cooked. Therefore, we do not think these cases can be explained simply by whether or not they contain grains, or by brand or manufacturer.

To put this issue into proper context, the American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that there are 77 million pet dogs in the United States. As of April 30, 2019, the FDA has received reports about 560 dogs diagnosed with DCM suspected to be linked to diet. Tens of millions of dogs have been eating dog food without developing DCM. If you are concerned about the diet you are currently feeding your dog, FDA recommends working with your veterinarian, who may consult a board-certified veterinary nutritionist, to determine the best diet for your dog’s need.”

We encourage every dog owner to read the full list of questions and answers on the FDA’s website on the page titled “Questions & Answers: FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine’s Investigation into a Possible Connection Between Diet and Canine Heart Disease”

What we have taken away from all of our research on food and animal health is that the more processed food animals eat the more health issues they will have. The more balanced fresh food that is species appropriate that your pet eats the stronger their immune system will be. Just like for humans, the immune system begins and ends in the gut.”

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