Is Grain-Free Food Safe for Dogs?

pets eating

On July 12, 2018, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued a brief stating they are investigating recent case reports of a type of canine heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy, or DCM, in dogs not genetically predisposed to the disease. The brief cited a theory that some dogs with DCM may have been fed certain types of diets, and that further research was being undertaken to determine if that theory had merit. That research is expected to take several years and has not been completed. The agency issued an update on its investigation on February 19, 2019 and June 27, 2019. In the mean time, here are answers to some questions you may have regarding pet feeding, via the Pet Food Institute:

Is grain-free pet food safe for my pet?

Millions of dogs eat and are thriving on grain-free dog food. FDA’s investigation focuses on certain ingredients that figure more prominently in some pet food products labeled as grain-free, including legumes like peas or lentils, other legume seeds, and potatoes. FDA has not identified any established link between certain ingredients and incidents of DCM.

Should I change what I am feeding my dog?

 FDA has not advised that pet owners change their dog’s diet based on the available information.

Should I avoid certain ingredients or grain-free food as a whole?

The FDA stated in all three updates, including the most recent June update, that the agency does not advise any dietary changes based solely on the information gathered so far.

Should I be concerned if my pet’s food contains one of the ingredients mentioned by FDA?

FDA has not linked any specific pet food or ingredient to incidents of DCM and has not requested removing or recalling any pet food from the market. It is important to make sure the food you are feeding your pet is formulated to be complete and balanced for a pet’s life stage. For concerns about your pet’s health, we recommend reaching out to your veterinarian.

Are pet food ingredients safe?

Yes. As makers of the sole source of nutrition for America’s pets, PFI members hold pet food safety as the number one priority. U.S. pet food makers use ingredients that have been accepted by the FDA, meet the agency’s Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) standard, or have been recognized by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). 

Should you have further questions about pet food, please feel free to reach out to us! We are always happy to talk about pet nutrition.

Nicole Apostle is the marketing director at Leo&Lucky's.