Copper the golden retriever testing his skills in some agility equipment. The FDA says a ‘possible link’ between grain-free pet diets and a heart condition called canine dilated cardiomyopathy is a “complex scientific issue.” (Phil McLachlan/The Free Press)

Grain-free may not be the issue: Greater Victoria pet stores weigh in on FDA report

Local pet food supplier says not enough evidence available to link diet to heart conditions

Greater Victoria pet food suppliers are urging dog owners to stay calm in the wake of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report making a possible connection between grain-free dog diets to heart conditions and early death.

In June, the FDA said some grain-free dog foods may be connected to canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) – an often fatal genetic heart condition. The report included a list of 16 brand name food lines that could be connected.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Doubts intensify for dog owners, vets after FDA report on grain-free food

The FDA noted that the majority of DCM cases occurred in recent years – in fact, of the 515 canine reports it received between January 2014 and this April – 219 were reported between December 2018 and April 30, 2019, and among them were dog breeds not known to have genetic predispositions to the condition.

But the possible correlation to grain-free shouldn’t yet be a cause for panic, says Lisa Nitkin, owner of Pets West in Royal Oak. Because it’s still only a possibility, not a confirmation.

She emphasizes that she is not a veterinarian, but said from the point of view of the pet industry, “we cannot even confirm or deny because there’s not enough information.”

“One of the commonalities is a grain-free diet, but they’re still not getting enough information from that. Is it because of the lack of grain? Is it because of peas or potatoes? Or is it some other vitamin that’s being added or not being added … or is it even because of the food at all?”

READ ALSO: 51 cats and dogs surrendered to the Victoria Humane Society last week

Nitkin sent out a release to media alongside other Greater Victoria pet food suppliers including Island Pet Source, A Pets Life and Four Paws Pet Grocery.

“Unfortunately there has been a lot of speculation and misinformation creating unnecessary panic with pet parents,” the release said. “We would like to provide some balance to this recent news coverage, as well as a local perspective as to how it is affecting people here in Victoria.”

Nitkin told Black Press Media that a number of her customers have asked whether they should make changes.

“The biggest question we get is, ‘should I change my food?’ and …. there’s a lack of information instead of good information,” she said. “If you’re concerned, there is a number of high-quality grains, diets that you can still turn to.

“You have to do what’s comfortable for you, as a pet parent, because that’s your pet baby. Do what’s comfortable.”

READ ALSO: Legend of Victoria dog ‘Cody’ lives on with successful pet drive

She added that any diet changes should be introduced slowly.

“My only concern would be a sudden [diet] change that does cause digestive upset. If they decide to make a change it should over a couple of weeks, not instant.”

It is recommended to consult your veterinarian before making decisions about your pet’s diet or health.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Central Saanich makes moves to alieviate business transit concerns

Councillor calls for enhanced service and long-term transit passes

Science expedition to Canada’s largest underwater volcano departs Vancouver Island

Crews prepared for a two-week research mission to the Explorer Seamount

Saanich sponsors Jeux de la Francophonie giving $50,000 for the French-language Games

Couns. Susan Brice and Nathalie Chambers opposed funding, citing substantive and procedural concerns

Port Renfrew man charged with animal cruelty

Hot coffee poured on dog’s face, say police

Property registration crucial for Oak Bay’s deer contraception program

Got deer? Want them gone? Do your part, register your property!

VIDEO: Black bear caught climbing tree in Langford neighbourhood

Triangle Mountain residents on alert following bear sighting

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

15-year-old with imitation gun caused ‘dynamic’ scene at Nanaimo mall

No one was harmed in Monday’s incident, say Nanaimo RCMP

RCMP investigating alleged ‘sexual misconduct’ by cyclist on BCIT campus

BCIT said they were reviewing video evidence of the incident

New home cost dips in B.C.’s large urban centres

Victoria, Kelowna, Vancouver prices decline from last year

Graphic suicide scene edited out of ‘13 Reasons Why’ finale

Suicide prevention groups support the decision

Nine kittens and cats rescued after being locked in bins in northern B.C.: SPCA

SPCA says cats were starving, and matted with feces and urine

Most Read