DCM Myth Vs Fact
Disclaimer: This content is meant to provide information to consumer that will enable them to have informed conversations with their veterinary professionals. It is not intended as medical advice. Pet owners should do their own research so they can best advocate for their pets health and wellness.
Myth: DCM is caused by diet
Fact: Multiple factors contribute to DCM in pets, particularly genetic predisposition, weight, size, gender and pre-existing illnesses.
Myth: Grain-Free foods cause DCM
Fact:The FDA found no science directly linking ingredients in grain-free foods to the onset of DCM.
Myth: The FDA recommended pet owners change their pet’s diet
Fact: FDA recommended to NOT change a pet’s diet based solely on the information in the report...and has not changed its perspective in the past 2 years.
Myth: DCM is a new disease caused by grain-free pet food
Fact: Studies in 1988, 1995 and 1997 all pointed toward genetic predisposition and/or size as contributing factors to DCM in pets – well before grain-free diets were prominent.
Myth: Grain-free foods have no taurine
Fact: Taurine comes from meat, particularly high quality meat used in specialty pet food as opposed to animal by-products used in lower grade pet foods.
Myth: The FDA report listed only 16 pet food brands
Fact: Purina One and Hill’s Pet Nutrition were reported in DCM cases to the FDA.In fact, MARS (make of Royal Canin and Iams) had the 5th most reported brands.
Myth: Only well-known pet foods are safe for pets to eat.
Fact: The majority of brands named in the FDA report can be found in large pet, grocery or mass market stores.
Myth: Only WSAVA-approved foods are safe for pets to eat
Fact: WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association) does not ‘approve’ foods, it provides health considerations for pet owners.
Myth: WSAVA recommends select brands over others
Fact: No. But Purina, Hills (Science Diet) and MARS (Royal Canin and Iams) all have paid partnerships with WSAVA so they actively promote these brands on their web site.
Myth: DCM is the biggest health concern for dogs
Fact: The leading causes of canine death are cancer, obesity, kidney disease, diabetes
Myth: Grain-inclusive pet food has more taurine than grain-free options
Fact: The FDA found that average %’s of total taurine, cysteine and methionine-cysteine – amino acids benefiting heart health - were similar for grain free and grain based products.
Myth: The FDA reported “exotic”meat proteins as the big problem in dog food
Fact: 75% of the cases reported to the FDA were feeding common proteins such as chicken, lamb and fish.
Myth: All dogs are equally susceptible to DCM
Fact: Certain breeds –particularly Golden Retrievers –have a higher risk of acquiring DCM. And purebred dogs are at much higher risk than mixed-breeds. In addition dogs with health issues such as obesity, age,GI issues, allergies, etc. may also be at higher risk for DCM due to the inability to absorb nutrients as efficiently as dogs without underlying health issues.