The Food and Drug Administration is investigating evidence that links certain types of pet foods to heart disease in dogs.
Early evidence shows that pet foods containing peas, lentils, other legume seeds or potatoes as main ingredients can potentially cause canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a disease in a dog's heart muscle that can lead to congestive heart failure.
The problem is most commonly found in dogs that have a genetic predisposition for DCM, so mainly large and giant breeds like Great Danes, Newfoundlands, Irish Wolfhounds, Saint Bernards and Doberman Pinschers. It's less common in smaller breeds with the exception of American and English Cocker Spaniels.
That said, dogs not genetically linked to the disease have gotten it, with the FDA saying it's been identified in Golden and Labrador Retrievers, a Whippet, a Shih Tzu, a Bulldog, Miniature Schnauzers, and mixed breeds.
Symptoms of DCM include lethargy, weight loss and possibly a cough. It typically takes months to years of eating foods with the aforementioned ingredients before the disease takes hold.
If you are feeding your dog foods containing peas, lentils, other legume seeds or potatoes, the FDA recommends you consult your veterinarian for possible dietary changes.
If caught early, dietary changes can improve a dog's heart.