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

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

Nina Grossman

Share
Published by
Nina Grossman

Recent Posts

  • Sports

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie floating new playoff format to league fans

On Saturday night, the CFL commissioner began his annual cross-country trek in Ottawa

9 hours ago
  • Trending Now

Know what you’re getting into financially before you adopt a dog

Many dog owners find ways to stretch a buck while still giving their pets the care they need

9 hours ago
  • Home2
  • Local Business
  • News

VIDEO: A plane crash in Saanich leads a selection of today’s news stories

A selection of Greater Victoria top stories for Feb. 18

9 hours ago
  • Home
  • Local News
  • News

Resident mistakes screaming teens’ late-night plunge for an emergency

Big week for Oak Bay Police who respond to rampant theft in Oak Bay, host Polar Plunge

10 hours ago
  • Home2
  • Local News
  • News

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the following individuals who were wanted as of Feb.…

10 hours ago
  • Home2
  • Local News

World Cup skier from Okanagan dies suddenly at 19

Kuroda, who made his World Cup debut earlier this year, passed away suddenly Monday night.

10 hours ago