You may be aware of media outlets discussing the potential issues surrounding grain-free dog food and specifically Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM).
As a valued customer we want to ensure that we provide you with as much information as possible to alleviate any concerns and ensure that you are provided with the correct facts, figures and published research. Our Nutrition, Food Safety & Innovation Advisor, Dr Adrian Hewson-Hughes has compiled the following information.
Since the initial alert issued by the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in July 2018 regarding an increase in the number of cases of atypical DCM in dogs in the USA, very little progress has seemingly been made into understanding the cause.
The latest ‘information’ released by the FDA (27th June, 2019) merely provided limited details and statistics regarding the dogs and cats that have been affected as well as the types of diets they have been fed, which brands of food have been fed and what ingredients they contain.
Based on data released by the FDA diets characterised as grain-free were fed in 91% of DCM cases reported.
Unfortunately, data such as this has generated some attention-grabbing headlines and stories in various news and social media outlets. However, the fact is that the FDA have NOT found any specific causative link between any particular brand or type of diet (e.g. grain-free) or ingredient (e.g. peas, lentils, sweet potatoes) and DCM.
Facts and Figures
Given that an estimated 22 million dogs in the USA are fed grain-free food and grain-free foods have been available for 10 years or more with no problems reported, the number of dogs affected in the last year (560) is a tiny fraction (0.002%) and suggests that there is not a general problem with grain-free diets themselves. Furthermore, there is no similar issue in the UK or Europe, where grain free diets are also widely consumed by dogs and cats.
The cause(s) for the increase in cases of atypical DCM remains unknown.
The FDA is continuing its investigation, working with scientists and nutritionists in the Veterinary Laboratory and Investigation Response Network (Vet-LIRN), and also with veterinary cardiologists.
In the meantime, it is important to remember that no causative link between grain-free diets and DCM has been made and analysis of grain-free foods reported in DCM cases for levels of minerals, amino acids and other nutrients as well as contaminants such as metals have not found anything unusual compared to grain-based foods.
Our complete range is, of course, formulated to be nutritionally complete and balanced for the relevant species and life-stage in accordance with FEDIAF Nutritional Guidelines for Complete and Complementary Pet Food for Cats and Dogs. They also undergo analytical testing prior to release to ensure they are compliant with FEDIAF requirements. As such, they therefore provide all the nutrients needed for everyday health and wellbeing in normal, healthy dogs and cats.
Low blood levels of taurine is linked with DCM in some dogs. Animal protein is a rich source of taurine and the amino acids methionine and cysteine (which dogs can convert into taurine). Our foods contain high levels of both Freshly Prepared and dehydrated animal protein sources to provide these important nutrients.