Top 10 Best Dog Foods to Avoid DCM
DCM stands for dilated cardiomyopathy. If a dog is diagnosed with DCM, it means their heart muscle is enlarged and weakened, potentially causing valves to leak. Over time, this leads to congestive heart failure.
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In 2018, the FDA announced that it was investigating reports of DCM in dogs that were eating certain foods, many of which were grain free and had a high percentage of legumes in the ingredients. As a result, dog owners have been switching their dogs to a grain-inclusive diet. However, this is not a suitable option for dogs that are allergic to grain, so always speak to your vet before making any changes to your dog’s food.
If you’re considering making a switch to a new food, here are 10 dog foods to avoid DCM. Browse these reviews to see if there’s one that will work well for your dog today. Once you find one that you like, ask your vet about adding it to your dog’s diet.
The 10 Best Dog Foods To Avoid DCM
Eukanuba Senior Large Breed Dry Dog Food
|Chicken, wheat, chicken by-product meal
As your canine enters the golden years of life, consider feeding Eukanuba Senior Large Breed Dry Dog Food. It’s also available in small and medium breed formulations. Older dogs tend to start slowing down a bit, and this recipe contains lower calories and fat to help them stay trim when they do. Eukanuba Senior also features glucosamine to help support your dog’s aging joints and DHA to help keep their brain sharp. Added antioxidants help ward off inflammation and boost a worn-out immune system. Some users felt that the kibble was too big for older dogs, especially those with poor dental health.
- Kibble may be too big for senior dogs with bad teeth
- Also available in small and medium-breed formulations
- Lower in calories and fat to help senior dogs stay fit
- Contains antioxidants, glucosamine, and DHA
Iams MiniChunks Dry Food – Best Value
|Chicken, ground whole grain corn, ground whole grain sorghum
Our choice of the best dog food to avoid DCM for the money is Iams Adult MiniChunks High Protein Dry Food. Iams is a long-time, well-known manufacturer of widely available, cost-effective dog food. This food relies on chicken for its protein content and contains antioxidants, fiber, and prebiotics to support immune and digestive health. Iams food is manufactured in North America but contains some ingredients from China, which some dog owners prefer to avoid. It is made with grain and without legumesand meets our criteria for foods to avoid DCM. Adult MinChunks is highly rated by users, with most finding it a good value. Some noted that the kibble size could be too small for larger dogs.
- Contains some ingredients from China
- Kibble may be too small for larger dogs
- Widely available dog food
- Contains antioxidants, fiber, and prebiotics
- Most dogs seem to enjoy the taste
The Farmer’s Dog Chicken Recipe – Best Overall
|Chicken, brussels sprouts, chicken liver, bok choy, broccoli
Our choice of the best overall dog food to avoid DCM is The Farmer’s Dog Chicken Recipe. The Farmer’s Dog is an online subscription dog food company that specializes in slow-cooked food made up of simple ingredients, shipped right to your home. The recipes are targeted to your dog’s specific nutritional needs, based on their age, activity level, and any health issues. Not all of The Farmer’s Dog recipes are suitable for avoiding DCM concerns, as they contain legumes, so stick to this chicken formula. Because it’s made of fresh ingredients and cooked in USDA-certified kitchens, The Farmer’s Dog is higher priced than some other brands on our list. The company also doesn’t ship to Alaska or Hawaii.
- ExpensiveDoesn’t ship to Alaska or Hawaii
- Individualized nutritional profile
- Simple, fresh ingredients
- Ships direct to your home
Purina ProPlan High Protein Food – Best for Puppies
|Chicken, rice, poultry by-product meal
For puppies, especially breeds who may be prone to DCM, consider feeding Purina ProPlan High-Protein Chicken dry food. It is packed full of chicken protein to help pups build strong muscles. It also contains several other nutrients geared toward supporting a high-energy, growing dog. These include DHA for brain and vision development and calcium to help build bones and teeth. The formula is also easily digested, allowing young dogs to take advantage of all that nutrition more readily. Purina diets are made in the USA, but some of the vitamin and mineral ingredients come from China. Most users gave this food positive reviews, although some noted concerns with frequent formula changes.
- Some issues with consistency/formula changes
- Some ingredients sourced from China
- High in protein for building strength
- Easily digested
- Contains nutrients to support growing puppies
Royal Canin Veterinary Hydrolyzed Protein Dry Food
|Brewer’s rice, hydrolyzed soy protein, chicken fat
For dogs with food allergies or sensitivities, consider Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein (HP) food. Many diets geared toward dogs with sensitivities are made with potatoes and legumes, ingredients possibly associated with the development of DCM. Royal Canin HP is free of these ingredients. Instead, it’s made with proteins that are broken down into particles too small to be recognized by your dog’s immune system, minimizing the chance of an allergic reaction. HP also contains nutrients to support skin health since many allergic dogs suffer from itchy, dry, and damaged skin. This brand is only available with a prescription and can be expensive.
- Can be expensive
- Ideal for dogs with allergies or sensitivities
- Contains nutrients to support skin health
Merrick Healthy Grains Healthy Weight
|Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice
If your pet needs to shed a few pounds while avoiding DCM, the Merrick Healthy Grains Healthy Weight diet might be the right option for you. Many Merrick diets are grain-free and contain concerning ingredients, but this one is pea-and-potato free. It also contains a blend of nutritious, high-protein grains, including quinoa. Added nutrients in this diet include glucosamine for joint health, fatty acids, and L-carnitine to speed up your pup’s metabolism. Most pet parents had positive things to say about this recipe from Merrickand reported that it seemed to help their dogs lose weight. Because it contains chicken, Merrick Healthy Grains is not a good option for dogs with food sensitivities, and a few owners reported their dogs didn’t care for the taste.
- Not a good choice for pets with food sensitivities
- Some dogs don’t like the taste
- Made with high protein grains and meats
- Contains glucosamine, fatty acids, and L-carnitine
- Seems to help dogs lose weight
Farmina N&D Ancestral Grain Dry Food – Vet’s Choice
|Chicken, dehydrated chicken, whole spelt, whole oats
If you’re trying to limit your dog’s carbohydrate intake while still avoiding foods potentially linked to DCM, try Farmina N&D Ancestral Grain Chicken And Pomegranate dry food. This diet is high in protein and contains nutritious fruits and vegetables like carrots, pomegranate, spinach, and blueberries. It is not only free from legumes but also protein by-products, which some dog owners also prefer to avoid. Farmina N&D contains fatty acids to boost skin and coat health. Its made with grains that are also high in protein with vitamins added after cooking for peak nutritional value. The company uses only non-GMO ingredients and free-range chicken. Some users mentioned that picky dogs may not like this food and that the kibble is large and thick.
- Picky dogs may not like it
- Large, thick pieces
- No by-products
- Made with non-GMO ingredients
- Low carb without problematic ingredients
Diamond Naturals All Life Stages Dry Dog Food
|Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain brown rice
If you’re a dog owner who likes to support family-owned companies, consider Diamond Naturals Chicken And Rice dog food. This recipe is made in the USA, although it contains some ingredients from China and has no artificial flavors or colors. Besides the cage-free chicken, Diamond Naturals contains unique fruit and vegetable ingredients, including pumpkin, oranges, papaya, and coconut. It’s also formulated with fatty acids, probiotics and prebiotics for digestion, and antioxidants to boost the immune system. While Diamond Naturals received positive marks from users overall, the primary complaints were related to the taste and potentially increased gassiness in some dogs.
- Some dogs don’t care for the taste
- It may make some dogs gassy
- Made by a family-owned company
- Contains unique and nutritious fruits and vegetables
- Contains fatty acids, probiotics, and antioxidants
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Digestion Dry Food
|Salmon, cracked pearled barley, whole grain oats
For dogs who need a little help regulating their gut health, try Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Digestion Salmon diet. This food relies on a combination of prebiotics, pumpkin, and oats to help keep your pup regular and enhance the natural digestive process. Although it’s made with an uncommon protein source, , the food contains other meat products like chicken meal, so it is not a truly allergy-friendly diet. It’s also contain a nuts in the ingredients, so humans with nut allergies should be aware. Perfect Digestion is free of any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Some dogs may not like the taste of fish-based foods like this one.
- Some dogs don’t care for the taste
- Contains nuts
- Formulated for gut health and improved digestion
- No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
Purina One SmartBlend Classic Ground Canned Food
|Beef, chicken, beef broth, liver
If you need a canned diet that’s free of ingredients potentially linked to DCM, Purina One SmartBlend Classic Ground Beef And Brown Rice food is one option to consider. Available in a 12 or 24-can pack, this is a cost-effective canned food, although wet food, in general, tends to cost more than dry. It contains no by-products but has added glucosamine for joint health. Although this is a beef recipe, it is made with chicken as well, so it’s not suitable for dogs with poultry sensitivities. Most users found that their dogs enjoyed the taste of this food. A few were dissatisfied with the amount of liquid in the cans, however.
- Not suitable for dogs with poultry allergies
- Cans often contain a lot of liquid
- Cost-effective canned diet
- No by-products
- Most dogs enjoy the taste
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Dog Food To Avoid DCM
Now that we’ve covered some dog food options available to help avoid DCM, here are some additional points to consider as you shop.
How Old Is Your Dog?
Each life stage your dog enters will have varying nutritional requirements. Because of this, diets formulated for puppies, adults, and senior dogs will also vary in the nutrients they provide. Help your dog stay healthy by starting your food search among the options for their specific life stage.
Does Your Dog Have Other Health Concerns?
While it’s smart to avoid foods that may be linked to DCM, you also need to take into consideration whether your dog has other health concerns that may impact your brand choices. For example, if your dog is overweight, you’ll want to look for lower fat, lower-calorie food. Dogs with medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, or bladder stones may require special diets, on the advice of a veterinarian. Of course, dogs with food allergies will have very delicate dietary needs.
Is Your Dog At Risk For DCM No Matter What They Eat?
While nutritional factors can play a role in the development of DCM, researchers believe there are other causes as well. Some breeds are predisposed to the condition, leading to the theory that genetics play a role in whether a dog will develop DCM. Doberman pinschers, boxers, great danes, and cocker spaniels are all known to be at higher risk for DCM. If your dog inherits a tendency for DCM, what you feed them is important but may not help them avoid the condition entirely. Speak to your veterinarian to determine what other steps you should take, such as regular heart screenings with a veterinary cardiologist.
Are There Other Ingredients You’re Trying To Avoid?
Besides avoiding ingredients that raise concerns for DCM, dog owners often have other concerns when it comes to dog food. For example, many owners prefer to avoid by-products, although their use in pet food is safe, nutritious, and helps cut down on food waste. Others try to feed only non-GMO products or avoid ingredients sourced from China. You’ll need to take these other preferences into account when you’re selecting dog food.
As our best overall dog food to avoid DCM, The Farmer’s Dog Chicken Recipe offers customized nutrition and fresh ingredients. Our best value pick, Iams MiniChunks, is cost-effective and widely available in most stores. Royal Canin HP allows allergy-sufferers to avoid potential DCM ingredients safely. Purina ProPlan Puppy offers nutrition designed for healthy growth,and Farmina N&D is a low-carb, non-GMO option packed with fruits and veggies. Hopefully, our reviews of these 10 dog foods provideinsight into what diets are available if you’re concerned about avoiding DCM.