Heart Disease in Dogs May be Tied to Certain Foods

dog not eating treats

July 13, 2018 -- A possible link between heart disease in dogs and certain pet foods is being investigated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"We are concerned about reports of canine heart disease, known as dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), in dogs that ate certain pet foods containing peas, lentils, other legumes or potatoes as their main ingredients. These reports are highly unusual as they are occurring in breeds not typically genetically prone to the disease," Martine Hartogensis, deputy director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine's Office of Surveillance and Compliance, said in an agency news release.

"The FDA is investigating the potential link between DCM and these foods. We encourage pet owners and veterinarians to report DCM cases in dogs who are not predisposed to the disease," Hartogensis said.

Large dogs such as Great Danes, Newfoundlands, Irish Wolfhounds, Saint Bernards and Doberman Pinschers have a genetic risk for canine DCM, a disease of the heart muscle that often leads to congestive heart failure. The disease is less common in small and medium breed dogs, except American and English Cocker Spaniels.

The FDA said it's concerned about recently reported cases of DCM in Golden and Labrador Retrievers, a Whippet, a Shih Tzu, a Bulldog, Miniature Schnauzers, and mixed breeds.

Early reports suggest that for periods ranging from months to years, these dogs' main source of nutrition were foods with peas, lentils, other legume seeds or potatoes as their main ingredients, the FDA said.