Recently the Food and Drug Administration has given an update on Grain Free Diets and Heart Disease. At this point they still do not have an exact cause, but have named the top ten diets that were reported in case studies submitted to them by cardiologist around the US. These reports are showing that diets with ingredients like peas, legumes, lentils, chickpeas, potatoes and beans were the main cause for concern. Here at Animals R Special we recommend and have always recommended diets that are from major food companies that offer extensive testing and research. We also recommend diets WITH grain. You can still use limited ingredient diets and diets that offer high end proteins, just making sure that these diets do in fact have appropriate sources of grain is the key. You should be reading the label to find ingredients like soy,wheat,rice and barley. In veterinary medicine we have extensive research through nutritionist that suggested pets can have allergies to the protein sources in their diets, but not grain. When it comes to your pet’s diet there is no compromise and we feel you should love your pet’s diet and much as they do. As information becomes available we will continue to update you, and guide you through the recommendations that are provided.
So by now, we are sure you have seen all the posts, read all the articles and heard the debate…about grain free diets. If not, we will bring you up to speed. Earlier this summer the FDA released a report about grain free diets and a possible link to canine heart disease. Is it true? We don’t quite know yet. But we are here to tell you what we DO know!
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has alerted pet owners and all veterinary professionals about reports and studies that suggest a link between canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in pets that are eating diets containing ingredients such as: peas,lentils,potatoes,legumes and other seeds as the main ingredient.
What is Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy?
Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy aka DCM is a disease of the heart muscle and results in an enlarged heart. When the heart and all of it’s components become enlarged it is harder for it to pump blood properly, resulting in the buildup of fluid in the chest and abdomen. This often leads to congestive heart failure. DCM can be genetic and is studied extensively in certain breeds.
So how is a grain free diet and DCM related?
So far studies suggest that pets eating grain free diets, are lacking in an amino acid called Taurine.
What is Taurine and why does it matter?
Taurine is an amino acid that is found in abundance in the heart and muscle. It is known to aid in strengthening the heart muscle, preventing arrhythmias, prevent muscle deterioration, and many other important functions throughout the body. Taurine can found naturally in fish products, muscle meat, milk, cheese and eggs. Taurine is NOT found in plants,corn, potatoes,peas or legumes.
Because there are still many unknowns with the studies and reports provided, it is still difficult to say how Taurine is linked to DCM and grain free diets.
Here are our thoughts:
Maybe there is suspicion that too much protein in certain grain free diets are rich in vegetable protein versus animal protein. This is where Taurine comes into play since we know Taurine is found in animal products. When looking at different diets, what matters is the meat content. Meat should be the primary source of protein in a diet not vegetable. Perhaps there is even a theory that certain fillers found in grain free diets affect how Taurine is processed.
So what do we do now?!
Given that there are THOUSANDS of pet food options, it is difficult to separate the good from the bad. Pet owners alike say that ingredients found in their pet’s diet is most important when looking for pet food. The ingredient list found on your pet food bag tells us nothing about the QUALITY of ingredients that make up that food. This can make a decision even harder! While some owners select grain free diets to avoid food allergies, far more often animal protein is the culprit. The bottom line is to stick with basic pet foods that are made by well known, reputable brands. Selecting a diet for your pet is one of the most important factors to your pet’s health, we are here to help!
Want more information about DCM and grain free diets or about selecting the right pet food for your pet? Visit the trusted websites below!