The University of Guelph has experts who can speak about a recent warning to dog owners from the U.S. FDA about grain-free pet foods and their possible link to a form of heart failure, called canine dilated cardiomyopathy, or DCM.

Prof. Kate Shoveller is an expert in animal nutrition, protein and amino acid metabolism, and energy metabolism with the Department of Animal Biosciences at the Ontario Agricultural College.

Shoveller worked in the pet food industry for years to develop foods with better availability of protein and energy. Her current research provides research-based information for feed manufacturers to improve the health of pets and livestock, including pigs, horses, cats and dogs.

Shoveller is the Chair of the Companion Animal Nutrition section of American Society of Animal Science and a board member of the Canadian Society of Animal Science. She recently published a review paper on the link between pulse ingredients and canine DSM.

Dr. Sarah Dodd and her dog Peppa

Dr. Sarah Dodd is a veterinarian and PhD candidate in the Ontario Veterinary College’s (OVC) Department of Population Medicine who studies pet nutrition. She can explain some of the suspected problems with grain-free diets and amino acid deficiencies.

She studies the suitability of plant-based pet foods and recently completed research that examined how interested pet owners are in switching their animals to vegan diets.

Dodd recently appeared on CBC’s The National to discuss the warning and the research behind it. The Canadian Press also spoke with Dr. Dodd about the FDA warning. Dodd was also interviewed on CTV NewsChannel to discuss the DCM symptoms dog owners should watch for.

Dr. Shari Raheb

Dr. Shari Raheb is a veterinarian and senior resident in veterinary cardiology with OVC and can explain canine heart conditions and which dog breeds are most at risk, as well as some of the symptoms to watch for.

According to the FDA warning, grain-free diets have been linked to canine dilated cardiomyopathy, or DCM, a potentially life-threatening heart disease. This comes as grain-free diets grow in popularity among dog owners interested in a “more natural” diet. The FDA has listed several dog food brands linked to the problem.



Sarah Dodd

Dr. Shari Raheb

Prof. Kate Shoveller