What if the food I am feeding my dog is not on either list?
Remember that this is still an area of active and ongoing research. Not every food out there has enough data to determine whether or not it might be linked with DCM. If the food you are feeding is not included on either the “safe” or the “suspect” list, consider the following questions:
How does the food company determine that the food is nutritionally complete and balanced?
The FDA provides minimum standards, but these can be met through chemical analysis of the food, which does not mean that they can necessarily be absorbed or utilized by your dog’s body. A good company evaluates nutrition through long-term feeding trials, where they feed the diet to dogs over an extended period and evaluated for nutritionally related conditions or disease. ALL of the companies on the “safe” list use this method to evaluate the nutritional content of their foods.
Is the food labeled “grain-free?”
Remember that 90% of the diets associated with DCM were labeled as “grain-free.” While grain-free diets from brands not listed may be fine, do you really want to take that risk with your dog’s health? If your dog is not on a grain-free food for a known allergy or other medical condition, consider switching to a formula that is not grain-free. If your dog has a known allergy or other condition that requires a grain-free diet, Clermont Animal Hospital recommends choosing a grain-free formula from one of the brands on the “safe” list.
Are peas or lentils listed in the top 10 ingredients on the ingredient list?
Because 93% of the dogs in the study with dietary related DCM were on diets with peas and/or lentils as a major ingredient, Clermont Animal Hospital does NOT recommend feeding any food with these ingredients listed in the top 10 ingredients, unless the food is from a brand known to be “safe.”
Is my dog showing any of the above signs that could be associated with heart disease?
If the answer to this question is “yes” then please call Clermont Animal Hospital today to schedule an exam and consultation. Until we have definitively ruled out DCM, dogs with signs that may indicate this heart condition should be switched brand known to be “safe.” While the food you are feeding may be perfectly fine, we don’t want to take that risk in a symptomatic dog.