Following the latest update from the FDA regarding their investigation, linked here, we have some concerns about the possibility that all grain free diets may be playing a role in the rise in heart disease we are seeing in dogs in the last few years. At this time, it is not exactly known what in the grain free diets are causing the problem. There are many theories, including the possibility of the grain free diet interfering with absorption of taurine, or possibly producing a toxin. The problem appears to center around diets containing lentils, peas or chickpeas, legumes, and potatoes. The diets referenced in the FDA article are those diets that were most commonly fed in the patients that were diagnosed with heart disease – these diets are most likely over-represented because they are also the most common grain free diets on the market. But once again, any grain free diet can potentially be a problem.
At this time, we are recommending that any pet eating a grain free diet be slowly transitioned to a diet with grains. If one of the diets you have fed in the past has a rice-based diet or one with grains, then we recommend switching back to that. In choosing a new diet, we suggest that you look for a diet that has rice, brown rice, oats, barley, wheat, or corn as a grain source. Although any good quality diet with grains will work, our preference would be a diet made by one of the top 4 pet food companies – Hills/Science Diet, Royal Canin, Eukanuba, or Purina. Those companies have veterinary nutritionists on staff testing and formulating their diets. But more importantly, they have years of data from actual clinical feeding trials that confirm that the diets are balanced and safe to be fed long-term.
If your dog has a food allergy or a sensitive stomach, then you should consult with one of our veterinarians before making any diet switch so that we can guide you through the process.