Grain-Free Diets: Friend or Foe? What You Should Feed Your Pet

Grain-Free Diets: Friend or Foe? What You Should Feed Your Pet

With all the choices and confusing marketing in the pet food aisle, choosing what to feed your pet can be an overwhelming task. Plus, pet food companies are experts in advertising, and they often spend lots of money promoting their latest, trendy formulations – well before any research has been done to truly know whether or not these formulas are actually healthier for pets. Lately, foods that belong to a pet food category called BEG (boutique, exotic, or grain-free) diets have been all the rage in pet food, and it’s beginning to look like these fancy foods might not be the best dietary choice for your pets.

What's Wrong With Grain-Free Pet Food?

As grain-free and boutique diets became increasingly popular over the last several years, veterinarians began noticing an uptick in the number of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) cases they were diagnosing in dogs. While some dog breeds are genetically predisposed to developing DCM, the cases were appearing in dogs with no genetic risk. This triggered the FDA to open up an investigation. Over the course of about five years, the FDA found that 90% of these dogs diagnosed with DCM were eating grain-free diets and 93% of them had diets that contained lentils or peas.

What Does This Mean for Your Dog?

The connection between grain-free diets and/or diets containing peas or lentils has not yet been proven. However, there is strong anecdotal evidence showing health improvement in dogs diagnosed with DCM after being taken off the BEG diets.
If your dog is currently eating a boutique, exotic, or grain-free diet that contains lentils or peas, you should let your veterinarian know and monitor their cardiovascular health closely. You can also talk with a veterinarian about switching your dog to a formulation that’s proven to be safe and healthy.

Choose a Healthy Diet for Your Pet With Help From Animal Wellness Center

If you’re not sure what food, treats, and nutritional supplements are best for your pet, we strongly encourage you to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian at Animal Wellness Center in Wisconsin. Veterinarians receive lots of training in nutrition for pets and are always up to date on all the latest foods, formulations, and even prescription diets available.
We’ll evaluate your pet’s health, talk with you about goals for your pet’s diet, and help you select an appropriate food for your pet. Whether you’re hoping to manage your pet’s weight, stave off a chronic health condition, or simply raise a happy, healthy, and energetic pet, our veterinarians can help you do it with a balanced diet.