Health issues are always a concern for our pups. Complications and disease are a part of living so it’s important for us to look for symptoms and do our best to treat and or prevent them before developing into a bigger issue. One of the more recent health issues rising in concern is Dilated Cardiomyopathy in dogs also known as DCM. Dilated Cardiomyopathy in dogs is a serious concern which it makes it important to understand the subject better.
About Dilated Cardiomyopathy
Let’s start with a review of what Dilated Cardiomyopathy entails. Research by Cornell University states that DCM is a disease which affects cardiac muscles and doesn’t allow the heart to pump blood effectively through the body. The ventricles widen, the lining of muscles thin resulting in the heart becoming weak an unable to circulate oxygenated blood well. The limited oxygen can cause lethargic behavior, weight loss, and collapse.
Dogs may also experience congested blood inside the lungs. Symptoms of congested blood include coughing and increased respiratory action. Conditions can worsen and unfortunately result in death. That is why Dilated Cardiomyopathy in dogs is an issue that needs to be taken seriously.
DCM in the Headlines
Recently, DCM has become a big concern in the pet food industry. This stems from a press release by the Food and Drug Administration over the recent increase of DCM reports and possible links to grain free diets. The report highlighted the dramatic increase in calls from owners reporting Dilated Cardiomyopathy in their dogs.
The majority of reported associated foods were categorized under “grain free.” It also pointed out the connection between Dilated Cardiomyopathy in dogs and low levels of taurine.
Causes of Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Dogs
What causes DCM to develop and take form? DCM arguably comes from two areas; genetics and nutrition. Some breeds of dogs are more genetically inclined to develop DCM. The FDA’s report shows that Retrievers and other large breed dogs such as Great Danes, Pit Bulls, Shepherds, and Mastiffs were prone to DCM.
The report also suggests that taurine deficiency is a cause for Dilated Cardiomyopathy in dogs. Taurine is an essential amino acid dogs require. Dogs are capable of making Taurine themselves but do require a source to get more. Taurine comes from meat based protein sources, not plant based sources. This is an important distinction because it becomes imperative that dogs consume a healthy amount of meat in their diet. This is especially true for breeds with a history of decreasing Taurine production as they get older. That means dog food formulas that lack Taurine can put your dog at risk. Dog food may lack taurine if the quality of meat is low or if the diet is comprised of more carbohydrates than protein.
Reducing DCM in Our Dogs
There isn’t much we can do about genetics but we certainly can take an active role in our dogs’ nutrition. It’s important to make sure your dog’s diet is fulfilling the demands that need to be met. That means a diet that is giving your dog all its essential vitamins, minerals and contains a diverse healthy amino acid profile for a healthy body. A diet with plenty of good quality meat sources. So how do we make sure our dog is getting everything it needs?
- Consult Your Vet: It’s always a good idea to first consult your veterinarian. All dogs are different and a proper analysis can shed some light on the optimal diet for your dog.
- Do Your Research: Go online and learn more about topics you wish to learn more about or concern. It’s best to read from reputable sources such as the FDA or the American Kennel Club.
- Make a Call or E-mail: Call the customer line for your current dog food or e-mail them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the food you’re feeding.
Canine Caviar has been making dog food for the past 20 years. Our goal has always been to provide a naturally alkalizing dog food that meets all the needs of the dog that eats it. We receive service calls with customers informing us how DCM friendly our diets are on related forums. We hold great pride in the quality of our food. Meat protein is our first ingredient as it is a beneficial source of essential amino acids including taurine.
Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Dogs is a serious concern that all owners should be aware of. A bi-annual visit to the vet is a great way to detect issues early and develop plans to prevent future issues. It also helps to take an active role in your dog’s health and nutrition by consulting with credible professionals.
Want to see more great articles or learn about Canine Caviar limited ingredient diets; visit the Canine Caviar Blog. Learn about Why pH Balance is Important or The Benefits of Alfalfa, an essential ingredient in our diets.