Are Grain-Free Diets Bad for Dogs?

Are Grain-Free Diets Bad for Dogs?

Due to the FDA’s recent research that grain-free diets may be linked to the canine heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a lot of dog owners are turning away from grain-free diets. Some large and giant breed dogs are predisposed to heart conditions like DCM, but the FDA became concerned when breeds that are not predisposed developed heart complications. The common link between these cases were grain-free diets of certain foods that contained peas, lentils, legumes, and potatoes as main ingredients. Although grain-free diets were the common link for these cases, it has not been proven that these heart complications were due to either the absence of grains or the presence of these carbs that replace the grains in grain-free diets. 

If your dog is predisposed to heart conditions, or if your vet is concerned about the lack of taurine in your dog's grain-free diet, supplementing with taurine can greatly improve and maintain heart health. Taurine is an amino acid essential to heart function that is most commonly found in meat-based proteins, so if your dog is on a grain-free diet where the main ingredients are grain-replacing carbs, he may not be getting enough taurine for optimal heart health.

Herbsmith’s Taurine supplement for dogs and cats is a great everyday supplement for maintaining good heart health. It works to strengthen the heart muscles by building protein, maintain hydration and electrolyte balance in cells, regulate oxidative stress, and even form bile to aid digestion. The supplement also contains L-Carnitine, Omega 3 fatty acids, and Coenzyme Q10, all of which additionally benefit brain, eye, and immune health.

If you are skeptical about changing your dog's grain-free diet, there is no need to worry, as vets and pet nutritionists have yet to definitively find a link between grains and health problems. Lisa Freeman, a veterinary nutritionist and researcher with the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, said in her article about the matter, “Contrary to advertising and popular belief, there is no research to demonstrate that grain-free diets offer any health benefits over diets that contain grains.”

Click here to learn more about the FDA’s study on heart disease and grain-free dog diets.

View our grain-free and other non grain-free varieties of dog food available for purchase in store and online.

The New York Times

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  • Vanessa Rances