Should my Bulldog be eating Grain-Free?
Choosing the right food for your French or English Bulldog is a difficult task. Most pet food companies are masters of marketing and are ready to promote "trendy" diets, even if they aren't really the healthiest for your pet. This has recently been discovered to be the case with grain-free dog food.
Grain-Free diets have exploded in popularity over the last few decades for being allergy free and treating various skin conditions. Even for dogs with no food allergies or sensitivities, they are now frequently preferred to other types of kibbles. Unfortunately the same diet that is healing your dog’s skin condition is thought to be the cause of the genetic condition dilated cardiomyopathy, (DCM).
What is DCM?
Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a condition in which the heart muscle weakens. This causes the body's capacity to contract correctly and pump to deteriorate, eventually leading to congestive heart failure and possibly death. The ingestion of foods containing peas, lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes as key ingredients was a common thread among affected dogs.
With more dog owners switching to a Grain-Free diet, Veterinary cardiologists have seen an increase in the number of dogs diagnosed with DCM. It is now believed that deficiencies in some amino acids (such as taurine and carnitine) from this Grain-Free lifestyle are believed to be causing an outbreak of this disease in dogs that wouldn't normally be susceptible.
What does this mean?
There isn't enough evidence to directly link grain-free diets to the development of DCM. However, there have been numerous accounts of dogs with DCM whose condition improved or fully resolved after switching from a Grain-Free diet to a Grain-Friendly died and adding a particular amino acid supplementation (Taurine). The simple answer is that we don't know why this is happening, but it looks that dogs who primarily eat Grain-Free diets are more prone to get DCM.
How does this affect my Frenchie?
French Bulldogs are susceptible to become taurine deficient while eating a Grain-Free diet which can lead to a DCM diagnosis. Frenchie lovers around the world have been plagued with health problems after switching to a Grain-Free diet including congestive heart failure and paralysis in the back legs. Some English and French Bulldog owners should avoid high gluten grains (rye, oat, barley, wheat) in favor of low gluten grains (quinoa, milo, rice, millet.) We love rice in my household for the added health benefits!
What Should You Do if Your Frenchie Is on a Grain-Free Diet?
If your dog is on a Grain-Free diet, your veterinarian or even a veterinary cardiologist should keep an eye out for any signs of cardiac disease. If your dog has a food allergy, there are alternatives to grain-free diets and unusual ingredients to have no known health risks. You don't need to turn your life upside down if your using a Grain-Free food that you love, consider adding a mineral supplement or some fresh rice and veggies to their diet! I hope this article was helpful, thank you everybody!