Central New York, Government, Health, Pets

Grain-Free Dog Food Could be Linked to Canine Heart Disease

Labrador retrievers are among the dogs recently diagnosed with canine heart disease, which is raising questions. © 2018 AP. Photo by Mary Altaffer.

Click play to hear more about a potential link between grain-free pet food and canine heart disease.

Audio Transcript: Grain-Free Dog Food

By Erron Franklin SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning to pet owners and veterinary professionals about reports of a potential link between grain-free dog food and canine dilated cardiomyopathy.

Recent reports are raising concerns because canine heart disease is normally found in a larger and giant breed of dogs; however, the latest cases are showing that smaller and medium sized dogs are being diagnosed with the illness.

Grain-free dog food is being looked at as a potential cause of the disease. Dog food labeled as ‘grain-free’ is often packed with high levels of legumes or potatoes but it is not yet known how these ingredients are linked to cases of canine heart disease, according to the FDA.

Reports from the veterinary cardiology community indicate that, from months to years, the dogs consistently ate these ‘grain-free’ foods as their primary source of nutrition.

Taryn Schawillie, of Central New York, owns two jack russell terriers and had no idea about the recent cases of canine heart disease.

“If I knew that the link between heart disease and dogs and grain free dog food were being investigated, it would absolutely change the decisions I would make when I buy dog food,” she said. “My dog’s health is the most important thing.”

The FDA has been in contact with pet food manufacturers to discuss these reports and to help further the investigation.

In a statement to NCC News, Petco, one of the nation’s major pet supply chains says, “The FDA has not identified a definitive cause of the reported health conditions and neither the FDA nor our suppliers have recommended a recall… We will continue to monitor the situation closely for any new information and will always share what we know with our customers.”

Pet owners and veterinary professionals who suspect a dog may have developed canine heart disease as a result of its diet are being urged contact the FDA using their electronic Safety Reporting Portal.