FDA: Grain-free diets could cause heart disease in dogs

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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) We love our dogs here at WCAX News. But the FDA has some new guidelines for dog owners that could change what food you give your best friend.

Veterinarians at VCA Brown Animal Hospital in South Burlington say there are concerns about grain-free diets.

Over the years, experts say they've noticed certain breeds of dogs, like retrievers, miniature schnauzer, and Shih Tzu developing heart disease, which is something that wasn't common before.

Now, the FDA is in the midst of an investigation trying to link heart disease to a grain-free diet.

Symptoms to look out for include decreased energy, cough, difficulty breathing and collapsing.

Vets say to be on the safe side, get your dog on a diet that has grains.

"The chance of a dog having a true grain allergy is-- kind of like people-- is very low, like less than 1 percent. So as long as there is no medical reason to be on grain-free diets, then I would go ahead and make that switch," said Dr. Jacqueline Wagner, an associate veterinarian at VCA Brown Animal Hospital.

Pet owners are encouraged to report cases of canine heart disease to the FDA.