Food & Your Pet’s Heart

What is the connection?

Taurine in Dog Food Diets – content supplied by Whole Dog Journal

The recent spate of cases and media attention to taurine-deficiency DCM in dogs suggests that this is a very new problem in dogs. However, it is not new. A connection between diet and DCM in dogs was first described in a paper published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2001. What is new is the sudden focus on certain pet food ingredients and the target that appears to have been placed upon the backs of all “grain-free” pet food brands by some bloggers and veterinarians.

As these things go, there followed a lot of hype and a fair bit of hysteria in response. Let us avoid this type of reaction and instead look at the evidence: What do we currently know about the role of diet and taurine in the development of DCM in dogs – and how is it that “grain-free” foods have been recently targeted as a possible dietary cause?

Not to put too fine a point on this, but the 12 cases of taurine-deficiency DCM described in the 2001 paper were collected between 1997 and 2001, years before grain-free dog foods had arrived on the pet food scene. Rather than disparage one class or type of dog food (or pet food company), it is more important to look at specific dietary factors that may be involved in DCM in dogs.

Because any or all of the dietary factors cited in this article could be risk factors for taurine-deficiency DCM in dogs, and because peas, legumes, and other ingredients identified by the FDA report have not yet been fully studied, the heart of the matter is that no conclusions can yet be made about the underlying dietary cause or causes of taurine-deficiency DCM in dogs.

More importantly, there is no clear evidence showing that a particular dog food type, brand, or even ingredient is solely responsible for taurine-deficiency DCM in dogs.

But given what we do know, we recommend feeding a diet that contains sufficient levels of high-quality, animal-source protein, does not include plant-source proteins as primary protein sources, and does not contain high levels of dietary fiber.

Want to read the entire article?  https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/21_9/features/DCM-in-Dogs-Taurines-Role-in-the-Canine-Diet_21901-1.html

Next we’ll look at how to read and understand pet food labels.

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