FDA names 16 brands of dog food linked to canine heart disease


The FDA opened an investigation in July of 2018 after reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy.

Sixteen dog food brands are being linked to an investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that suggests they’re associated with a potentially fatal canine heart condition.

Canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a disease of a dog’s heart muscle, which results in an enlarged heart. When the heart and its chambers become dilated, it becomes harder for the heart to pump. It could lead to valves leaking and a buildup of fluids in the chest and abdomen.

The FDA received reports of dogs with DCM between Jan. 1, 2014 and April 30, 2018. An investigation was officially launched in July of 2018.

More than 500 cases were reported, including 560 individual dogs that were diagnosed with the condition; 119 of those dogs died. There were also 14 individual cases involving cats, five of which died.

The food is labelled as “grain-free,” with the main ingredients containing a high proportion of peas, lentils, other legume seeds (pluses), and/or potatoes in many forms (whole, flour, protein). They would be listed as main ingredients (the first 10 ingredients on the label).

More than 90 per cent of the products in cases reported were “grain-free” while 93 per cent of the reported products contained peas and/or lentils.

The following brands have been listed by the FDA:

  • Acana
  • Zignature
  • Taste of the Wild
  • 4Health
  • Earthborn Holistic
  • Blue Buffalo
  • Nature’s Domain
  • Fromm
  • Merrick
  • California Natural
  • Natural Balance
  • Orijen
  • Nature’s Variety
  • NutriSource
  • Nutro
  • Rachel Ray Nutrish

The food comes in the form of kibble, canned, raw and home-cooked, according to the FDA.

Some of the items appear in Canadian stores and online: PetSmart, Petland, Total Pet, Walmart and others.

“We understand the concern that pet owners have about these reports: the illnesses can be severe, even fatal, and many cases report eating ‘grain-free’-labelled pet food,” the agency says on its website. “The FDA is using a range of science-based investigative tools as it strives to learn more about this emergence of DCM and its potential link to certain diets or ingredients.”

The investigation is ongoing and updates will be provided as they become available.