DCM, or dilated cardiomyopathy, is a common disease in dogs, especially in large dog breeds like Great Danes and Boxers. DCM in dogs is similar to the DCM experienced in humans. It is characterized by a weakening of the heart muscles and a dilation of the heart’s ventricles. This ultimately leads to a weakened heart, one that is not capable of pumping blood throughout the body as it should.

Research of the past showed that canine DCM could mostly be attributed to genetics, which is why it is much more common in some breeds than others. It also linked DCM to a sedentary lifestyle, which can in part be blamed on the pet owners themselves. The main takeaway from this research is that DCM is not directly correlated to a grain-free diet as many people believe.

After extensive research involving many canines suffering from dilated cardiomyopathy, no conclusive link has been found between DCM and dog food that is grain-free. DCM might have something to do with what you choose to feed your pet, but the blame cannot be put on grain-free foods. Here’s what you need to know about how to avoid DCM with the right kind of dog food.

Choose Foods with High-Quality Ingredients

The main culprit of diseases relating to diet in dogs is choosing food containing low-quality ingredients. Just think about how you choose food to feed yourself and your family. If you’re a health-oriented individual, there’s a good chance you spend some time reading labels to determine what is actually in the food your buying. If there are several ingredients you’re unsure of or flat out can’t pronounce, maybe you put that item back on the grocery store shelves.

You should be doing the same thing when shopping for dog food. Choose a bag of dog food from the shelf, and rather than throwing it in the shopping cart right away, spend some time reading the ingredients. Can you pronounce the ingredients that are listed? If so, this is a good first step. Other perks for choosing dog food are all-natural and organic.

Avoid Vegetarian or Vegan Diets for Your Dog

Even if you choose to avoid animal products in your day to day life, this does not mean you should subject your dog to the same diet. Dogs have been officially labeled as omnivores, meaning they need a healthy combination of both plants and animal products for a well-balanced diet. If you’re against the meat industry, just try to find a dog food company that practices sustainable sourcing for their meat products. It isn’t healthy for your dog to cut meat out of its diet altogether.

The same goes for feeding your dog an all-meat diet; protein is great and all, but dogs also need to consume plant products like fruits and veggies. Your best option is to select a high-quality grain-free food that contains a healthy balance of meats as well as nutritious veggies, legumes, and fruits.