Warning: 16 Pet Foods Linked to Heart Disease in Dogs

As a result of the ongoing Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigation into a possible link between heart disease in dogs and “grain-free” dog food often including “legumes such as peas and lentils,” the FDA has listed 16 pet food brands that have been named most frequently in its investigation (source).

  • The brands most often named in the FDA’s reports were: Acana (67), Zignature (64), Taste of the Wild (53), 4Health (32), Earthborn Holistic (32), Blue Buffalo (31), Nature’s Domain (29), Fromm (24), Merrick (16), California Natural (15), Natural Balance (15), Orijen (12), Nature’s Variety (11), NutriSource (10), Nutro (10), and Rachael Ray Nutrish (10).


  • Over 500 cases of dilated cardio myopathy (DCM) are under investigation. Symptoms include lack of stamina, coughing, and difficulty breathing. If untreated, DCM can lead to an enlarged heart or heart failure.


  • The FDA found most reported cases ate pet food containing peas, lentils, chickpeas, and different kinds of potatoes.


  • The FDA has not asked pet food companies to recall products. Instead, the agency shared reports with the companies “so they can make informed decisions about the marketing and formulation of their products.”


  • Dog owners were warned of the potential link in 2018, when the FDA began receiving reports of DCM cases in breeds rarely diagnosed with the condition.

What else:

The FDA advises pet owners to bring dogs to the veterinarian if symptoms of DCM (lack of stamina, coughing, and difficulty breathing) or other heart conditions are noticed, and to check with the vet before switching foods. If the dog is suddenly very weak or collapses, an emergency veterinarian should be immediately sought. If DCM is caught early, (and not related to the dog’s genetics) heart function can recover.


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