Dog Food – Pulses Ingredients

In this post, we’re exploring the safety of pulses ingredients found in dog food.

What are Pulses ingredients?

Pulses ingredients include lentils, peas, chickpeas, field beans, and cowpeas. These ingredients are not part of the grain family and are common in diets all around the world. They are known for their high protein and nutritional values and are incorporated in many foods we enjoy today such as meatless burgers and hummus!

Pulses ingredients are not only found in human food, due to their nutritional profile, but also many pet food companies incorporate pulses ingredients into pet food, especially grain-free dog foods.

Are pulses ingredients associated with dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs?

Recently, the U.S. FDA released a report associating some grain-free dog foods with a heart problem in dogs called dilated cardiomyopathy.

Dilated cardiomyopathy is a condition that limits the ability of a dog’s heart to generate sufficient pressure to push blood throughout the vascular system. This occurs in some dog breeds more than others and depending on the severity can cause dogs to die prematurely.

Since grain-free dog foods contain pulses ingredients, researchers are investigating all ingredients in grain-free dog foods, as well as the complete nutritional profile of the dogs’ foods to try and determine a cause. Research is currently underway and no casual mechanism has yet been identified.

Do I need to avoid all pulses ingredients in pet food?

Based on current research, you do not need to avoid pulses ingredients in pet foods. Large pet food manufacturers work closely with board-certified veterinary nutritionists to develop safe and nutritionally balanced dog foods that may contain pulses ingredients.

However, it has been noted by some researchers that not all dog food brands employ the same thoroughness when developing dog foods. As a result, some veterinarians recommend people use caution when purchasing and feeding your dog foods from boutique brands that may not have the ability to perform extensive nutritional research and may include exotic ingredients currently under review.

Before making any changes to your dog’s diet, the U.S. FDA recommends you talk with your dog’s veterinarian to ensure your pet gets the best food for their specific needs. 

What causes dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs?

Currently, veterinarians and researchers do not know what is causing dilated cardiomyopathy; however, studies are underway1,2,3.

Researchers are exploring different potential causes, including exotic meats (e.g., kangaroo, duck), grain-free diets, and the potential for nutritional deficiencies such as taurine.

Do humans need to be concerned about consuming pulses ingredients?

While humans should not consume pet food, pulse ingredients are part of a healthy diet and medical professionals encourage people to make pulses ingredients part of an everyday diet.

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