Study Links Some Dry Pet Food Brands to Heart Disease in Dogs

Study Links Some Dry Pet Food Brands to Heart Disease in Dogs

Researchers from Tufts University have found that certain dry dog foods, particularly those containing peas, could lead to a fatal canine heart disease called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). No dog food brands were named in the study, though it focused on “commercial dog foods” that many pet owners already buy for their pups.

Experts consider DCM to be the second most prevalent heart disease that impacts dogs and is prevalent in certain canine breeds. It is a condition influenced by a dog’s environment and diet. DCM causes canine congestive heart failure and can result in sudden death.

As reported by The Mercury News, experts analyzed nine dry pet foods that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has previously linked to greater DCM rates in dogs. These nine dry pet foods were then compared to nine dry pet foods that satisfied specific veterinary diet standards.

Results showed that certain compounds found in peas—a common ingredient in many grain-free dog foods—were a common factor in pet foods linked with cases of canine DCM. However, more conclusive evidence is needed to confirm whether peas are harmful to pets.

The FDA is conducting further investigation into grain-free pet food and its possible link to DCM.

Maintaining Good Canine Heart Health

When choosing heart-friendly dog food, Dr. Brian Bourquin of Boston Veterinary Clinic advises pet parents to select bigger, more established brands, as their companies are more likely to consult an on-staff veterinary nutritionist to ensure food safety.

“We want to see foods that have been studied, and that tends to lead to the bigger food companies. Those are the ones we trust the most," he said.

Weight management can help reduce stress on a dog’s heart. In addition to providing their pups with a balanced diet, pet owners can use custom plush toys to play with and encourage their dogs to get moving. They can also invest in sturdy custom dog collars and leashes to take their canine companions along on daily runs and walks. Finally, pet parents should take their dogs to the vet regularly to monitor their fur baby’s heart health.

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