FDA Highlights 16 Fancy Dog Food Brands Associated With Heart Disease - Modern Farmer

FDA Highlights 16 Fancy Dog Food Brands Associated With Heart Disease

Grain-free, not so good?

Be careful, doggy.
Photography Ermolaev Alexander on Shutterstock

Last year, the FDA began investigating a potential link between some dog food—most labeled “grain-free”—and heart disease in dogs.

The Administration released the results of that report recently, and gave with it a warning about 16 brands of dog food. Those brands are largely higher-end, more expensive dog foods.

Following reports about an increase in a certain kind of heart disease called canine dilated cardiomyopathy (abbreviated as DCM, semi-confusingly), the FDA started looking into possible causes. There were only a handful of DCM reports in 2017, but in 2018 and 2019, hundreds started pouring in. 

DCM is usually a hereditary disease, with certain breeds more susceptible than others. Purebred golden retrievers and labrador retrievers, for example, have a high risk of developing DCM; in general, larger dogs are more at risk than smaller dogs. The disease can be very serious, sometimes resulting in heart failure.

The FDA’s list of affected brands include major national brands like Blue Buffalo, Merrick, and Rachael Ray Nourish. (You can see the full list here.) Those brands affected dogs even after controlling for the increased risk in certain breeds, meaning that there’s a link between this dog food and DCM. 

There has been a trend in the past decade or so to feed dogs (and cats) grain-free food, believing that grain-free food is a closer analogue to what wild dogs may eat. Veterinarians, though, don’t believe that grain-free food is necessarily healthier for dogs than brands which include corn or wheat. One even told the New York Times that grain-free is a “popular myth.”

The FDA is careful to note that its findings are preliminary and not wholly conclusive; there is more research to be done before the link between this food and DCM is fully understood. If you’ve got a dog, you’ll want to keep a careful eye on news from this front.

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Sarah Linkous
11 months ago

There is no link in the article to the full list, would love to read that.

Kandice Clark
11 months ago

What 16 brands? I only saw 3… Blue Buffalo, Rachel Ray, and Merrick.

Jackie O.
11 months ago

yes, we need to see the list.

11 months ago

Look up FDA Dog Food List and don’t swear.

11 months ago

There’s a hyperlink in the story where you can click on the study: “The FDA’s list of affected brands include major national brands like Blue Buffalo, Merrick, and Rachael Ray Nourish. (You can see the full list here.)”

11 months ago

Yeah what a surprise that big industry giants like Nestle owned Purina, Royal Canin, Science Diet, others like Whiskas, Meow Mix are not on the list. It just so happens that these are also lower quality but most sold brands so yeah they must be perfect for dogs and cats though. If you can’t see through this then you shouldn’t have a pet. Nestle tried to buy Orijen and Acana to which these companies refused. So now it’s come down to playing dirty. See?

Ray Morgan
11 months ago

Is there a point to this scaremongering? A list of the 16 fancy food brands would at least be appreciated.

Aida Rodriguez
11 months ago

I found the list writing….list of dog food that associated heart disease in dogs

Shelby Vincilette
10 months ago

I wish people would stop posting articles about this when there isnt anything conclusive with this testing yet. All the articles use words like, “might,” “may,” “could,” and “possibly.” That’s not science. Those are assumptions that can possibly create lawsuits. Most of the dogs tested have been large breeds, which are often predisposed to DCM, especially with bad breeding. Now they are throwing in that they actually think it’s the legumes. Not all grain free foods have legumes either. So what is it? It’s creating panic and a headache. People are rushing to the vet to ask for advice, who… Read more »

Deborah Brackenbury
11 months ago

Upon further study, it’s believed it’s not grain free that poses the problem, it’s all the additives such as pea protein that bulk up the food, that are the problem. A real meat diet is biologically appropriate for dogs, but since using real meat is generally cost prohibitive a variety of cheap fillers are used.

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