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The Truth about Grain-Free Diets and the Connection to Disease & Pet Diets

Our team at Highlands-Eldorado Veterinary Hospital is here to play a vital role in helping you make informed decisions about your pet’s diet and nutrition needs.
In general, we recommend all dogs eat dog food that meets the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) guidelines. Our team will help you with brand recommendations based on your pet’s health needs. In recent years, there have been connections with taurine, an ingredient in pet food, grain-free and grain-containing diets with life-threatening diseases, such as Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM).

What is DCM?

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is considered to be a genetic and life-threatening condition in which the heart’s ability to pump blood decreases because the heart’s main chamber is enlarged or weakened. New research from the FDA indicates that DCM can be caused by your pet’s diet. There is discussion around a spike in taurine deficiency-related canine DCM, especially whether diet plays a role and whether a simple food switch may be our most effective therapy and preventative.

Recommended Brands

It’s important to keep in mind that all recommended diets are formulated by a veterinary nutritionist. The diets manufactured by the brands below, meet the WSAVA guidelines:
  • Purina: ProPlan, Purina Dog Chow, Purina One
  • Hills: Science Diet
  • Royal Canin
  • Eukanuba

Ingredients to Avoid

The common thread of ingredients to avoid appears to be legumes, pulses (seeds of legumes), and/or potatoes as the main ingredients.

Our Role

First and foremost, we are here for your pet family to make personalized dietary recommendations. Our doctors take into consideration age, breed, lifestyle, and other factors, while only recommending brands that we feel comfortable utilizing for our own dogs.

Additional Resources

Visit for more details and frequently asked questions and answers regarding concerns with diet and DCM. If you have any direct questions or concerns about your pet’s diet or nutrition, please reach out to our team at (214) 726-0838.
Regardless of breed, background, or diet, if your dog is showing possible signs of DCM or other heart conditions, you should seek veterinary care as soon as possible, even accessing emergency care after-hours. If you have questions or concerns with your pet’s diet or nutrition, please reach out to our team at (214) 726-0838. 
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