November 5, 2020

FDA Provides Clarity About Canine Heart Disease and Diet

Evidence Finds No Causal Relationship to Grain-Free Food; Encourages Industry Collaboration on DCM Research

BOULDER, COLORADO, November 5, 2020 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an update this week that concluded there is no scientific evidence that a grain-free diet causes canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). The agency outlined the multiple potential factors that can, alone or in combination, contribute to dogs developing this rare and scientifically complex disease. The agency concluded that there is nothing inherently unsafe about a grain-free diet. This is good news for pet lovers everywhere who, for years, have seen their dogs thrive on grain-free diets for healthy and wholesome nutrition.

Dr. Steven Solomon, Director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, acknowledged that the “complex scientific messaging” on DCM and diet has contributed to misinterpretation about the safety of a grain-free diet. Dr. Solomon encouraged dog owners to select the diet that works best for their pet’s nutritional needs and previewed more multidisciplinary, scientific collaboration between the industry, veterinarians, scientists and other researchers that will further the understanding of DCM.

“The agency’s latest remarks and findings on DCM confirm that a grain-free diet provides safe and healthy nutrition, and that the risk factors for DCM relate to the dog’s unique health situation. Evidence shows that the absence of grains in a dog’s diet is not linked to the development of DCM, as the presence of grains in a dog’s diet does not prevent against DCM,” said Champion Petfoods Chief Executive Officer Blaine McPeak. “We hope this brings clarity to pet lovers and gives them the confidence and trust to select the best diet for their dogs. "

DCM is a rare and scientifically complex disease that impacts approximately 1% of dogs in the U.S. Historically, DCM has been linked to genetic predisposition, but emerging science has demonstrated an array of factors that may contribute to DCM, including breed, genetics, biology, pre-existing health conditions, digestive issues, obesity, processing of key nutrients, and activity level.

"By the standards of evidence-based medicine, the current science does not provide evidence to support that grain-free diets cause DCM in dogs,” said Krista Howden, DVM, MSc DACVPM, Veterinary Epidemiologist and Senior Scientific Advisor at One Health Scientific Solutions. “Observations made by veterinary clinicians, such as the concerns reported of an association between grain-free diets and DCM, are important to bring forward as they form the foundation for investigating the causality of veterinary diseases and keeping our pets safe. Nevertheless, these observations must be subject to rigorous scientific investigation before conclusions are made.”

The FDA said it is grateful for the significant efforts of experts in academia, the veterinarian community and industry to advance the science of pet nutrition. The agency hopes additional, future studies will aid in the further understanding of nutrition and overall pet health.

Dr. Solomon’s full remarks are available online here:

About Champion Petfoods

Founded in a small town in Alberta, Canada, Champion Petfoods is committed to pet health and sound nutrition guides all we do. At Champion, we have been pioneers in crafting premium food for dogs and cats since 1985. We specialize in making foods that are Biologically Appropriate to nourish as nature intended. That means we start with the finest whole prey ingredients from both fresh and raw animal sources. These, along with everything else we use, have been selected from carefully curated suppliers whom we know and trust. Our foods are crafted by passionate nutrition and health experts in world class kitchens, and as Pet Lovers ourselves, we guarantee the highest quality and safety in every ORIJEN and ACANA product we make. Champion exports to nearly 100 countries worldwide. To learn more, visit

Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Nutritional Standards

At Champion Petfoods, all of our food is formulated by our in-house team of qualified animal nutritionists and veterinary experts to meet standards established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). AAFCO is a non-profit organization that enforces regulations established by the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine and provides nutritional standards for complete and balanced pet foods. Overall, our industry-leading and award-winning quality assurance far exceeds AAFCO standards.

World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Global Nutritional Recommendations

World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) is an association of companion animal veterinary associations with the goal of advancing the health and welfare of animals through raising standards of veterinary care around the world. At Champion Petfoods, we test our foods throughout the manufacturing process for nutritional accuracy, digestibility and palatability, answering the key questions outlined by WSAVA to help pet lovers and veterinary experts select quality dog food.

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