FDA reports these dog food brands could cause heart disease

16 brands frequently linked to 500 canine heart disease cases

The US Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning to dog owners about certain dog food brands that could cause congestive heart failure. 

Since July 2018, the FDA has been looking into reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs that eat certain pet foods. 

The FDA announced Thursday 16 pet food brands that were frequently linked to more than 500 reported cases of canine heart disease.

Out of the 500 cases, most were large breed dogs like golden retrievers, mixed breeds and Labrador retrievers, but some small dogs also suffered. In the report, researchers said there wasn’t a genetic connection. 

One connection made was many of the pet foods are labeled “grain free” and contain a high proportion of peas, lentils, other legume seeds and/or potatoes in various forms as the main ingredients.

(Credit: US Food and Drug Administration)

Brands listed in the FDA report with how many cases of each:

  • Acana, 67
  • Zignatue, 64
  • Taste of the Wild, 53
  • 4Health 32
  • Earthborn Holistic 32
  • Blue Buffalo, 31
  • Nature's Domain, 29
  • Fromm, 24
  • Merrick, 16
  • California Natural, 15
  • Natural Balance, 15
  • Orijen, 12
  • Nature's Variety, 11
  • NutriSource 10
  • Nutro, 10
  • Rachael Ray Nutrish, 10

The FDA is continuing to investigate and gather more information and encouraging pet owners to contact their veterinarians as soon as possible if their dog is showing signs of canine heart disease, including decreased energy, cough, difficulty breathing and episodes of collapse. 

Veterinarians were asked to report well-document cases that are suspected of having a link to diet to the FDA.

To read the full report, click here

Champion Petfoods, owner of Acana and Orijen, sent the following statement to News 6. 

On June 27, 2019, the FDA released an update saying that it is “continuing to investigate and gather more information in an effort to identify whether there is a specific dietary link to development of DCM.” More specifically, its update provides no causative scientific link between DCM and our products, ingredients or grain-free diets as a whole. 

Our hearts go out to every pet and Pet Lover who have been impacted by DCM. We take this very seriously and will continue to work internally and with other industry leaders on research into the cause of DCM in order to help Pet Lovers understand the facts. Our own research, and the millions of pets who have thrived by eating our food over 25 years, have shown that Champion pet foods are safe.

DCM is a serious but rare condition. Of the 77 million dogs in the U.S., 0.5% to 1% have DCM, and of those dogs with DCM, fewer than 0.1% are speculated to have DCM related to diet, although that is not scientifically proven. In the recipes Champion makes, we emphasize fresh and raw meat with total animal-derived ingredients ranging from 60 to 85 percent of the finished product. Legumes are not a significant feature in Champion's recipes, and never have been.

Champion’s mission is to provide high quality foods that are biologically appropriate and enhance the long-term health and well-being of cats and dogs and we carry out state-of-the-art nutritional research to ensure that our products remain that way. As Pet Lovers ourselves, everyone at Champion will continue our unwavering commitment to maintaining the highest standards for ingredients and food safety. If you have any questions about DCM, please call our customer care line at 1-877-939-0006.

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