Massachusetts, USA: According to a report published in Scientific Reports on 5 Aug 2021, researchers from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, USA has linked certain dog foods to canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a severe heart disease.
They compared traditional dog foods with those that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) associated with DCM. After going through 830 compounds, peas were at the top of the list of ingredients that may be associated with this form of canine heart disease.
The study noted that lentils, another filler food in "grain-free" dog foods, could also be a contributor to heart disease “to a lesser degree.”
DCM is a severe disease of the heart muscle that can develop in dogs and humans, causing the heart to grow bigger and its contractions weaker. It is also the second most common heart disease affecting dogs, with a prevalence of over 50% in some breeds such as the Doberman Pinscher.
Besides the Doberman, larger breed dogs like Boxers and Great Danes are more susceptible than others. While DCM is less common in medium and small breeds, Cocker Spaniels are also predisposed to this condition.
The findings state: "While we cannot establish with certainty if any of these compounds and ingredients are causal for disease, the findings support peas as a leadding possible ingredient associated with diet-associated DCM in dogs."
Pet owners are encouraged to read the label of ingredients to find out what the top ingredients are. If they are feeding a “grain-free” food that has peas as a primary ingredient (top 10), they should consult with their veterinarian to determine if they need to make a change to their pet’s diet.
One guide for finding the right food for your pet is to make certain the label indicates that the food meets the requirements of the American Association of Feed Control Officers (AAFCO) and is a “Complete and Balanced” diet.