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Why Is Grain Free Food Dangerous for Dogs?

As dog owners, we're always trying to do better for our furry besties, and that usually means trying to feed them the healthiest diet possible. For a long time, that's usually meant a diet that's high in meat, and grain free foods seemed like the obvious choice for dog owners hoping to give their pooches the best.

However, a lot of recent news stories, studies and reports have shown that this is probably not the case. Here's what you need to know.

What's Been Happening?

In recent months, more and more stories are coming to the fore where young, healthy dogs are developing potentially life threatening heart conditions, and some have even died. The only link between the various breeds, genders, geographical location and ages of these dogs has been their food.

Specifically, high end, grain free dog food, and according to the FDA, it's probably causing a serious heart condition called DCM.

What Is DCM?

DCM, or canine dilated cardiomyopathy is a disease that weakens the heart muscle itself, which in turn makes it harder for the muscle to contract, and that interferes with the ability to pump blood around the body. That limits the oxygen available to the cells, and that can cause problems with all sorts of organ systems.

This disease used to be common mainly in larger breeds like Great Danes, Dobermans and Boxers, with a taurine linked version in Cocker Spaniels, but in dog food related cases, even small breeds that usually aren't affected are having severe symptoms.

What Is In Grain Free Food Anyway?

Grain free foods typically include higher proportions of legumes, vegetables and meat, and while it's true that dogs are omnivores, and nothing on that list is inherently bad for them, there's no denying that many of the dogs that should not be diagnosed with DCM have been eating these diets.

What Should You Do?

The best thing do to, in any medical instance involving your dog, is to speak to your veterinarian. This is particularly true if your dog has been eating grain free food and is lethargic, listless, coughing or breathing heavily, all of which are signs of DCM.

Your vet can advise you on the best nutritional choices to keep your dog healthy, and if they do suspect that your dog may be affected, there are tests that can be run to rule out any heart damage - and of course, when it comes to heart conditions, early diagnosis is always crucial!

The truth is, while grain free foods have been linked to this condition, no one is entirely sure why, but for now, it's a good idea to err on the side of caution. It's always better to be safe than sorry!

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