New warnings about the risks of grain-free diets for pets (especially dogs)

You may feel great when you stop eating grains.
Your pet has different needs.

In the past 10 years, the dog food marketplace has changed dramatically: According to the New York Times, almost half the dog food options on the shelf are grain-free. And many grain-free pet foods position themselves as being ‘healthier’, ‘more natural’, ‘higher in protein’ – making pet parents think they’re really doing their best for their animals when they switch them to these foods.

However, last week, the FDA (the US Food & Drug Administration) issued an update on their investigation into grain-free pet foods, and the news continues to be the same: Grain-free diets are increasingly linked to dilated cardiomyopathy, or DCM. In dogs, DCM is a disease of the heart muscle, which leads to congestive heart failure.

As this article in The Atlantic notes, the FDA’s studies are still preliminary, and their sample size is small. But while the evidence against grain-free diets stacks up, the evidence in favour of going grain-free has never really existed. Lots of people without celiac disease say they feel better when they eat less gluten or fewer grains, and that’s fine for people. But there is no evidence that removing grains from an otherwise well-balanced pet diet has any clear benefits.

And here’s another interesting point: It’s rare to find a veterinarian who will recommend a grain-free diet for your pet. Vets are the ones on the front lines with pets every day, and have very decided opinions (based on research and evidence and their observations from their own patients) about what pets should eat. If vets aren’t recommending grain-free (and here at LVAH, we definitely do not recommend grain-free), how good can it be?

If you’d like to speak to us about your pet’s diet, and what foods will keep them in optimal health for an active, long life, please don’t hesitate to call at 647.925.3878 or email – we’d love to answer your questions!