Dog laying on the floor with a heart toy next to face


September 29, 2020 Update:

Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs and cats

Proper pet nutrition, safety and well-being for pets is vitally important to everyone at PetPeople. We value the relationship we have with all of you who count on PetPeople for trustworthy recommendations and information. If you have questions about DCM, we hope the latest information we have on this rare and scientifically complex disease will be of help. 

What is DCM?

Canine DCM is a disease that causes thinning of cardiac muscle that results in a decreased ability to pump blood through the circulatory system, possibly leading to heart failure. 

What do we know?

On September 29, 2020, Kansas State University facilitated a scientific meeting of researchers, academics, veterinarians, members of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and pet food manufacturers, to present research on DCM in dogs.

Important take-aways from the 9/29/2020 meeting  

The FDA:

  • Acknowledged that prior messages on this subject were repeated inaccurately by third parties and that complex scientific messaging was lost in translation
  • Reiterated that DCM is a scientifically complex, multifaceted disease
  • Stated that the development of DCM in dogs has a clear genetic component and potentially other factors such as nutrition may contribute 
  • Confirmed no enforcement or regulatory actions will be taken against grain-free foods

Our perspective:  

  • The implication of grain-free foods in the development of DCM is an over generalization not supported by the robust scientific evidence. A misplaced focus on grain-free foods distracts from identifying the multiple potential factors that cause DCM.
  • Research demonstrates that a dog with a genetic predisposition to developing DCM and/or has other conditions, such as diabetes, digestive issues, or obesity, play a role in how the dog accesses essential nutrients in food and may contribute to the possibility of developing DCM.
  • Presentations made on 9/29/2020 reinforced that millions of dogs have been eating grain-free diets for years and have thrived. This provided important perspective – DCM affects less than 1% of the 77 million pet dogs in the U.S. compared with cancer that will affect 1 in 4 dogs and obesity that will impact 1 in 3 dogs. Sound nutrition must address the overall health of the dog.
  • We are pleased the FDA clarified grain-free foods are not unsafe or dangerous and no regulatory action has been taken or will be taken.
  • Grain-free foods are safe, nutritionally complete and designed for optimal health.

Actions to consider

While the FDA is searching for a cause for these DCM incidents, there are some sound nutrition steps you can consider that can support a healthy immune system and GI tract.

Rotational feeding

  • Vary what you feed throughout the year by feeding foods with different proteins and carb sources. Don’t be afraid to mix brands.
  • Throw Fresh Ingredients Into the Mix.
  • Don’t rely on one type of food to provide all the nutrients your dog needs. Include frozen raw food, goat’s milk with its healthy probiotics, or simply add a sprinkle of a freeze-dried protein or a meal-topper with your kibble.​​

One Diet/Food Does Not Fit All

PetPeople has always believed that no one diet or type of food is right for every dog or cat. That’s why we carry a variety of foods from canned, grain-free, grain-inclusive, raw, dehydrated and freeze-dried.

We’re here for you and your pet

​PetPeople associates are available in our stores to discuss your concerns and help you understand all available pet nutrition options.

PetPeople offers a 100% food guarantee. If your dog is doing well with your current feeding regimen, you may not want or need to switch. If you’re not comfortable feeding the food you are currently using, please bring it back and we’ll be happy to recommend other pet nutrition options for you to consider and try based on your specific concerns and your pet’s specific dietary needs.

As a trusted resource in providing information about pet health, we’ll continue to keep you updated with the latest information on this important issue.  

Thank you!