Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Dogs

On June 27, 2019 the FDA released an update on DCM (Dilated Cardiomyopathy) in dogs. This has caused great panic, many questions, and lots of concerns over what to feed our beloved dogs.

I understand why people are scared - our dogs mean the world to us! All any of us want is to provide them the best we can to keep them healthy and safe. We want to help you navigate the information that is out there and help you make the best decision for you and your pets.

I also understand why people are so confused. The FDA still has no concrete evidence of a link between diet and DCM. There are no recalls, and the FDA does not recommend changing your dogs diet. The report states that “It’s important to note that the FDA doesn’t yet know how certain diets may be associated with DCM in some dogs.”

Per the report, "Therefore, we do not think these cases can be explained simply by whether or not they contain grains, or by brand or manufacturer. To put this issue into proper context, the American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that there are 77 million pet dogs in the United States. As of April 30, 2019, the FDA has received reports about 560 dogs diagnosed with DCM suspected to be linked to diet. Tens of millions of dogs have been eating dog food without developing DCM."

I know for those 560 pet owners affected and reporting that they don't care about percentages. They care about their dogs and this disease. This is not something that we are taking lightly, but we are waiting for facts, and keeping it all in perspective.

While any disease that could harm your pet is scary, it’s helpful to give a frame of reference to show just how rare DCM actually is. According to the FDA, there have been 560 self-reported cases of potentially diet-related DCM since 2014, compared to a total of 77 million dogs in the United States. This is an occurence of less than 0.0007%, and 25% of those dogs are breeds that are predisposed to DCM regardless of what they eat. Meanwhile, 6 million dogs will be diagnosed with Cancer this year and hundreds of thousands will develop Chronic Kidney Disease. Your dog also has a 500x greater risk of getting diabetes, which affects 1 in every 308 dogs. There are far greater health risks to your dogs than DCM, and feeding your dog a healthy and varied diet can help prevent these issues.

While the FDA, and many local veterinarians, do not recommend switching your pet’s food at this time, we have heard that several local vets are more insistent on switching pets to grain-inclusive foods, even if no symptoms are being observed. While we disagree with the panic, we understand the confusion surrounding this issue and your desire to do the best you possibly can for your dogs.

If you still feel strongly about switching to a grain-inclusive food, please come see us to discuss options! We stock several healthy grain-inclusive options. There are a LOT of healthy diets in the space between grain-free foods and ones that include multiple fillers and unhealthy or even scary ingredients. We would hate to see your pet’s food make a big slide in quality due to the DCM fear.

*** It is important to take into consideration everything you know about your personal dogs, their health and history, and the quality and variety of their diets. Our philosophy at Loyal Biscuit is that dog nutrition, just like human nutrition, is constantly being updated with new information. Because of this, we don't recommend relying on any single product to provide everything they need. We feel that exposing them to only one set of ingredients for their whole lives can cause issues later on. We recommend variety in the foods you feed, and feel that "mixing it up" with kibble, canned, raw, different proteins, and fresh foods will help them avoid many of the very common health issues pets face later in life such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis. ***

For a great perspective on this, please read the following blog post by Lindsay Meyers:

"As an industry we need to have a larger discussion about what it means to feed a carnivorous mammal a single highly processed food item for every meal, every day, over the course of several years. Is it reasonable to believe that every pet can thrive with that restricted nutritional availability?" - Lindsay Meyers

We want all of our loyal customers and friends to know that we are looking out for you. If something ever develops through facts and unbiased studies, we will act accordingly, but until then, we will continue to do what we believe to be best for our pups and yours. We want to empower you to educate yourselves so that you can make decisions above the noise. We love our Loyal Biscuit family and care greatly about the health of your animals. We can't wait to see you all at the store!

- Heidi Neal

Co-owner of Loyal Biscuit Co.

Additional DCM Resources