NEW YORK – Pet food containing peas, lentils, other legumes and potatoes might be causing heart disease in dogs, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in a warning to pet owners.
The FDA said Thursday that it has received “highly unusual” reports about canine dilated cardiomyopathy, which can cause an enlarged, weakened heart and eventual heart failure in dogs. The cases occurred in breeds — such as golden and Labrador retrievers, a whippet, a Shih Tzu, a bulldog and miniature schnauzers — that aren’t genetically prone to the disease, but that ate certain pet foods containing legumes or potatoes as their main ingredients.
The FDA said it is already in contact with pet food manufacturers that make the foods, without naming them. The FDA is investigating any link between the food and the sick dogs.
Wendy Vlieks, a spokeswoman for Nestle SA’s pet-food brand Purina, said the company has not been contacted by the FDA. While the ingredients mentioned in the warning are not the main components in the vast majority of Purina’s products, Vlieks said, company veterinarians are watching the cases closely.
J.M. Smucker Co.’s in-house veterinarian is working with the FDA to conduct research into potential causes of the disease, company spokesman Ray Hancart said in an email.
The agency said pet owners and veterinarians should report any canine heart disease cases in dogs not predisposed to the disease through the FDA’s electronic safety reporting portal.