Author: Jane Moralles
The recent FDA alert about the link between grain-free foods and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs, might have pet parents running to change their dog’s food in hopes of preventing the condition. It is natural to get nervous about your pets’ health, especially when your beloved friend can’t tell you if they’re feeling bad.
However, it is not usually a good idea to suddenly switch foods without talking to your vet about the best options and methodology. Disrupting your dog’s diet can actually cause their levels of intestinal bacteria to change, leading to adverse effects like indigestion, gas, vomiting and diarrhea. Before you decide to make a change, talk to your vet about your concerns.
Grain-free diets, for many dogs, can be life-saving. Grain allergies and sensitivities can be present in dogs, and in that instance, grain-free diets can help solve a whole host of health problems and discomfort in your dog. Symptoms of a grain allergy in dogs include itchy, inflamed skin, especially around the face and ears, as well as sneezing, hives, vomiting, and diarrhea. If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, it could be worth talking to your vet about a grain-free diet.
The FDA alert about grain-free diets and their link to DCM is not a cause for immediate concern if you do have a grain-sensitive dog. The FDA has been exploring the possible corollary, but it is only one of the many potential causes of DCM. There is no evidence to show that grain-free diets cause DCM. The condition is more prevalent in large-breed dogs, but it is not breed-specific. It has also been linked to low levels of taurine, but it also appears in dogs with normal taurine levels.
What this means, as of now, is that there are many culprits behind DCM and the veterinary and scientific communities are still exploring them. There is no emergency need to switch your dog’s diet because of the alert. Just pay attention to your dog’s general health and comfort levels, especially how they respond to their food, and always speak to your vet before making any changes.
If you and your vet do come to the decision together to change your dog’s diet, the best way to approach the change is gradual. You will need to do it over the course of ten days to two weeks, adding a bit more of the new food to the dog’s current food every day. This will help their intestinal bacteria adjust to the changes over time and avoid sudden digestive symptoms.
Posted on June 29, 2019