There is always lots of hype in the media about new diets for us humans and increasingly the range and type of diets available for our pets has started to mirror human trends. There are more 'boutique' foods available offering a wide and wonderful repertoire of meats including venison and even alligator! The worry with any diet that excludes certain food groups altogether is that these may not in fact be healthy for our canine and feline counterparts. In recent months, there has been links made between dogs fed an entirely grain-free diet and increasing cases of heart disease.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said the investigation was prompted by a 'highly unusual' number of cases of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs with diets high in lentils and protein. American regulators began investigating a link after vets across the US started reporting a rising number of small dogs suffering from DCM. So called 'natural' pet food now makes up more than a third of the UK's £940m industry, with grain-free food accounting for around 15 per cent. Pet owners perceive that if a diet is healthy for a person then it is healthy for a pet as well, but the dietary needs of a dog and cat are different to the dietary needs of a person. DCM is very serious, it causes a dog's heart muscle to enlarge and can often lead to congestive heart failure. The FDA's current recommendation is for pet owners to consult with their vet about their pet's diet. For more on this story please click here.