What You Should Know About Grain-Free Diets

As we come to the end of the year, it is time to take a look back. Certain news stories are very important to remember. For veterinary staff at 5 Points Animal Hospital, one that comes to mind is the grain-free diet trend. When the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) sent an urgent message out this past summer to pet owners and veterinarians about the dangers of feeding dogs a grain-free diet, we were not surprised.

We already know foremost the importance of  feeding your pets a well-balanced diet. Unfortunately, thanks to the widespread marketing campaigns of big box stores, pet owners have been misled by false advertising. At 5 Points Animal Hospital, we would like to tell you more about why you should avoid the grain-free craze.

What exactly is grain-free pet food?

a golden playing with a stickConventional dog food typically contains corn, rice, or other type of cereal grain as one of its primary ingredients. While proponents of grain-free dog diets claim that grains are an unnatural source of nutrition for canines. As historically, dogs did not eat grains. Because of the possibilities of allergies and digestion issues that grains present, it seems to be healthier to feed dog a diet that was based on potatoes and legumes. However, even though a grain-free diet is higher in protein than conventional dog food. Studies actually show that it is low in a specific amino acid, taurine. This have adverse effects on your dog’s health.

What can happen to my pet if I feed him grain-free food?

According to the FDA and their warning from July, there had been reports of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs that had been consistently eating a grain-free diet over time. DCM is developing more frequently in breeds like golden retrievers and bulldogs. These breeds are not even genetically predisposed to suffer from this deadly heart disease. After looking at the medical records of the atypical DCM cases, the FDA found that all of the dogs had low blood levels of taurine.

The good news is that if your dog is taurine deficiencies, we can reversed it when found early. If your dog or cat has been on a homemade, vegetarian, or grain-free diet, a blood level check is advised. Contact us today at 5 Points Animal Hospital to schedule an appointment. We would be happy to answer any questions you have about the best diet for your pet!

By Dr. Janet Grace | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

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