There is STILL so much confusion and controversy swirling around about whether to feed dogs grain-free food or with-grain food! 

Unfortunately, the veterinary community is just as confused, and we’re sad to see many of them fanning the flames of misinformation about what impact if any this over-simplified choice has on heart health in dogs. 

We have heard from our customers that they are getting handouts from their vets insisting that with-grain kibble is the only safe way to feed dogs, but we were even more shocked to see one local vet office actually name Dexter’s Deli and other local independent pet stores in their handout and warn their clients in no uncertain terms to NOT buy any food from us!

Misguided advice like this from the veterinary community has scared and confused pet parents and has them rushing to unnecessarily change their dog’s food to a with-grain kibble, believing that the simple addition of grains will prevent any future heart disease in their dog.


Navigating the CRAZY grain-free myth

Over two years ago the pet industry and veterinarians embarked on a turbulent journey in search of an explanation for a higher reported incidence of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. We first wrote about this issue back in 2019.

Assumptions (coupled with a lack of definitive answers) that the culprit is legumes in grain-free dry food have influenced and scared both pet owners and veterinarians (despite the fact that grain-free kibble has been on the market for nearly 20 years).

Now we have veterinarians touting the unproven conclusion that pet foods with-grain are “heart-healthy and safer for dogs.” This is an overly simplistic and misguided answer that ignores the real problem of how this may even be happening.

The truth is hard to hear for the pet industry and pet parents…

…because the data suggest that feeding a steady diet of ultra-processed pet foods (kibble) could be creating the perfect storm… that this format of food is the contributing factor to the increase of DCM seen in some dogs.

Yet, even with the information they have, veterinarians still encourage pet parents to feed ultra-processed foods to dogs with DCM. These vets are telling their clients that dogs will be protected from DCM just by feeding a with-grain kibble that is either a prescription veterinary diet or a mass-marketed big-name brand (PS: the vets with the biggest megaphones proclaiming this rule work for these companies).

It truly is crazy making – and from the holistic side of pet care that also looks at the science – it makes zero sense, because we are focused on how dogs naturally secure and absorb nutrition.

Are pet foods ‘WITH GRAIN’ okay?

The answer is YES. Grains are fine for most dogs, unless yours is allergic or sensitive to grains. There are many dry pet foods using what are termed “ancient grains” which tend to be better tolerated and are less likely to be contaminated with glyphosate.

Will adding a scoop of GRAIN to my dog’s food prevent heart disease?

The answer is NO. Grains have no benefits for the heart in canines. It is amino acids like taurine that are biologically available only in meat which are responsible for supporting a healthy heart in both dogs and cats. There is no nutritional component in grains that can replace those. Dogs and cats have no functional need for grains at all (or legumes for that matter).

All kibble brands, both grain-free and with-grain, are now adding taurine to make up for what is missing in their ultra-processed food. They are all safe.

But dry pet food manufacturers are continuing the precarious balancing act of “nutritionism” by depending on the addition of synthetic vitamins and minerals to a dough that is lacking all semblance of real food. What if they get it wrong again?

Download our Pet Health Guide on DCM & Dry Food for our recommendations.