Could Grain-Free Diets Cause Issues for Dogs?

A happy beagle dog rolling around in a corn field with his tongue out.
A happy beagle dog rolling around in a corn field with his tongue out. Photography ©androsov58 | Thinkstock.

We often see human trends trickle down to pets, so it’s no surprise that grain-free and gluten-free pet foods have become popular. However, this latest food fad of grain-free diets might have created a problem that wasn’t there before.

Closeup photo of grains.
Grain-free diets may cause health issues for dogs. Photography ©cmannphoto | Thinkstock.

The number of Golden Retrievers diagnosed with taurine deficiency and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) seems to be on the rise, and at least one researcher, Josh Stern, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, who receives funding from the Morris Animal Foundation, is investigating a possible link between certain grain-free diets and taurine deficiency and DCM. A genetic component is also suspected.

So, how do you choose dog food in light of the information surrounding grain-free food? Check out this helpful guide.

Thumbnail: Photography ©androsov58 | Thinkstock.

Jackie Brown is a freelance writer from Southern California who specializes in the pet industry. Reach her at

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Dogster magazine. Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? Subscribe now to get Dogster magazine delivered straight to you!

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