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9 Best Dog Foods to Avoid DCM in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

Written by: Jessica Rossetti

Last Updated on May 15, 2024 by Dogster Team

9 Best Dog Foods to Avoid DCM in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

A Brown Dog Eating Its FoodDCM stands for dilated cardiomyopathy. If a dog is diagnosed with DCM, their heart muscle is enlarged and weakened, potentially causing valves to leak. Over time, this leads to congestive heart failure. In 2018, the FDA announced that it was investigating reports of DCM in dogs 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 allergic to grains, so always speak to your vet before making any changes to your dog’s food. If you’re considering switching to a new food, here are the best dog foods to avoid DCM. You can browse these reviews to see if there’s a brand that will work well for your dog today. Once you find one you like, ask your vet about adding it to your dog’s diet.

Disclaimer: The foods reviewed here were chosen because they have certain characteristics that might help with some of the causes or consequences of this medical condition. However, they are not a medical treatment or a substitute for medical treatment. Keep in mind that each medical case is different and what works for some pets may not work for others. Your veterinarian is the right person to advise you on the best diet for your pet’s individual case.

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A Glance at Our Top Picks (2024 Update)

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Dr. Tim’s Heirloom Ancient Grains Dry Dog Food Dr. Tim’s Heirloom Ancient Grains Dry Dog Food
  • Poultry Free
  • Made with vets and canine nutritionists
  • Supports metabolism
  • Budget Buy
    Second place
    Evanger’s Super Premium Dry Dog Food Evanger’s Super Premium Dry Dog Food
  • Large bag for the money
  • Includes prebiotics and probiotics
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Third place
    Annamaet Original Option Dry Dog Food Annamaet Original Option Dry Dog Food
  • High protein and low fat
  • Include prebiotics and probiotics
  • Omega fatty acids for skin, coat, and brain health
  • Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Holistic Dry Puppy Food Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Holistic Dry Puppy Food
  • Complete and balanced for puppy development
  • Gentle on digestive systems
  • Contains glucosamine for healthy joint development
  • Farmina N&D Ancestral Grain Mini Breed Dry Dog Food Farmina N&D Ancestral Grain Mini Breed Dry Dog Food
  • Low-glycemic recipe won’t spike blood sugar
  • Contains omega fatty acids and antioxidants
  • High-protein, low-fat recipe
  • The 9 Best Dog Foods to Avoid DCM

    1. Dr. Tim’s Heirloom Ancient Grains Dry Dog Food – Best Overall

    Dr. Tim’s Heirloom Ancient Grains Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Pollock, salmon meal, millet, quinoa, spelt
    Protein content: 32%
    Fat content: 18%
    Calories: 409 per cup

    Fish, eggs, and pork are blended to make up the high protein content in Dr. Tim’s Heirloom Ancient Grains Dry Dog Food which is why it is our top pick for best dog food to avoid DCM. This wholesome recipe is crafted for sedentary to moderately active dogs, working with the metabolisms of a more casual lifestyle. Ancient, unchanged grains like spelt and millet are added for nutritional support. The recipe promotes digestive and immune system health with the addition of BC30 probiotic support. Omega fatty acids, EPA, and DHA support brain health and mental clarity while keeping coats healthy.

    The recipe was formulated by a Ph.D. canine nutritionist and a small animal veterinarian. There is no poultry in this food, so it’s a good option for dogs with poultry sensitivities.

    Pros
    • Formulated by a canine nutritionist and veterinarian
    • Poultry free for dogs with sensitivities
    • Supports metabolisms of sedentary to moderately active dogs
    Cons
    • Expensive

    2. Evanger’s Super Premium Dry Dog Food — Budget Buy

    Evanger’s Super Premium Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, chicken fat, oatmeal
    Protein content: 26%
    Fat content: 15%
    Calories: 406 per cup

    With no artificial ingredients or preservatives, Evanger’s Super Premium Dry Dog Food is the best dog food to avoid DCM for the money. You can purchase a 4.4-, 16.5-, or 33-pound bag, depending on how much you need at a time to match your dog’s size and age.

    Evanger’s formula is complete and balanced, meeting AAFCO standards for dogs of all life stages. Real chicken is the first ingredient, and the prebiotics and probiotics promote healthy digestion. Ingredients like carrots, cranberries, parsley, blueberries, and oatmeal provide antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

    The kibble size is small, around the size of large peas. Although is suitable for all breeds, larger pus may prefer a bigger pieces.

    Pros
    • Large bag for the money
    • Includes prebiotics and probiotics
    • No artificial ingredients
    Cons
    • Small kibble size
    • Bland smell

    3. Annamaet Original Option Dry Dog Food

    Annamaet Original Option Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Salmon meal, brown rice, millet, rolled oats, lamb meal
    Protein content: 24%
    Fat content: 13%
    Calories: 406 per cup

    The Annamaet Original Option Dry Dog Food is not only suitable for avoiding DCM but also ideal for dogs with poultry allergies. Its protein content is made up of salmon, lamb, and fish meal, giving your dog a high-protein food that is also low in fat. Cranberries, blueberries, and apples add to the vitamin and mineral count. Annamaet also includes prebiotics and probiotics for gut health.

    This whole-grain formula is fortified with omega fatty acids to support the skin, coat, and brain. The chelated chemicals in the recipe help your dog absorb minerals that are vital for immune system health. The L-carnitine in the food works to metabolize fat to promote healthy muscle mass.

    The kibble size has recently changed and is much larger than it used to be. It’s too big now for some small dogs that previously ate this food.

    Pros
    • High protein and low fat
    • Include prebiotics and probiotics
    • Omega fatty acids for skin, coat, and brain health
    Cons
    • Kibble has increased in size
    • Expensive

    4. Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Holistic Dry Puppy Food

    Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Holistic Dry Puppy Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken meal, brown rice, oatmeal, dried beet pulp, chicken fat
    Protein content: 25%
    Fat content: 13%
    Calories: 466 per cup

    Chicken and menhaden fish make up the protein content of Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Holistic Dry Puppy Food. Antioxidant-rich ingredients blend with glucosamine and essential fatty acids for healthy puppy development and joint function. The brain and nervous system are supported by the addition of EPA and DHA.

    This balanced recipe provides the proper amounts of protein, fat, and carbs to keep puppies energetic and growing strong. Oatmeal and flaxseed aid digestion, and Dr. Gary’s is gentle on puppies’ sensitive stomachs. It’s suitable for puppies of all sizes.

    Since chicken is the first ingredient in this recipe, the formula is not an option for dogs with poultry allergies. If your dog is not allergic to chicken and can tolerate grain, this is a healthy formula to avoid DCM.

    Pros
    • Complete and balanced for puppy development
    • Gentle on digestive systems
    • Contains glucosamine for healthy joint development
    Cons
    • Not suitable for dogs with poultry allergies

    5. Farmina N&D Ancestral Grain Mini Breed Dry Dog Food

    Farmina N&D Ancestral Grain Mini Breed Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Lamb, dehydrated lamb, whole spelt, whole oats, dried whole eggs
    Protein content: 28%
    Fat content: 18%
    Calories: 395 per cup

    The Farmina N&D Ancestral Grain Mini Breed Dry Dog Food is perfect for small or mini breeds. This low-glycemic, limited-carb recipe may also be a suitable option for diabetic dogs. Check with your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet.

    Farmina is helpful in avoiding DCM in dogs because it contains no legumes but still offers premium nutrition. The recipe is 60% animal ingredients, 20% organic spelt and oats, and 20% fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and minerals. The formula is GMO-free. Omega fatty acids promote skin and coat health, while antioxidants from pomegranates and berries help fight off free radicals in your dog’s body.

    The kibble size is tiny and not made for large dogs.

    Pros
    • Low-glycemic recipe won’t spike blood sugar
    • Contains omega fatty acids and antioxidants
    • High-protein, low-fat recipe
    Cons
    • Small kibble size may be unsuitable for large breeds

    6. Nature’s Logic Dry Dog Food

    Nature’s Logic Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Lamb meal, millet, chicken fat, pumpkin seed, yeast culture
    Protein content: 32%
    Fat content: 15%
    Calories: 393.86 per cup

    Nature’s Logic Dry Dog Food is a pricey option for those looking for a formula that will help dogs avoid DCM. This grain-inclusive recipe contains probiotics and digestive enzymes that aid digestion. Lamb is the first ingredient, but those looking to avoid poultry should know that chicken fat is also included in the formula.

    Lamb meal from grass-fed lamb helps boost the recipe’s impressive protein content. It contains no peas, lentils, potatoes, or wheat. The formula is also eco-friendly and uses renewable energy to produce the kibble and packaging.

    Nature’s Logic is made for dogs of all life stages and sizes, which is convenient. You don’t have to keep switching foods as your dog ages. However, the kibble size is small, so large dogs can eat and swallow it too quickly.

    Pros
    • Contains probiotics for digestive health
    • Made with renewable electricity
    • High protein content
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Kibble may be too small for large dogs

    7. FirstMate Dry Dog Food

    FirstMate Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Lamb meal, oatmeal, brown rice, chicken fat, tomato pomace
    Protein content: 25%
    Fat content: 10%
    Calories: 489 per cup

    The gluten-free and low-glycemic formula in FirstMate Dry Dog Food won’t spike blood sugar. It doesn’t contain peas, potatoes, or wheat, but 70% of the protein is from free-range Australian lamb. The other 30% is made up of fruits and grains, including blueberries, cranberries, oatmeal, and brown rice. Your dog can have a low-carb meal while still getting the vitamins and minerals that they need.

    While chicken fat is used in the recipe, it contains no chicken protein. This will help reduce the risk of poultry-related allergies and sensitivities, but it won’t eliminate them. Some dogs with poultry allergies can eat FirstMate without any issues.

    Pros
    • Protein derived from free-range Australian lamb
    • Vitamins and minerals from fruits
    • No chicken protein for dogs with poultry sensitivities
    Cons
    • Still has chicken fat
    • Some dogs don’t like the taste
    • No added probiotics

    8. Tuscan Natural Simply Pure Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

    Tuscan Natural Simply Pure Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Lamb meal, brown rice, rice, canola oil, olive oil
    Protein content: 25%
    Fat content: 13%
    Calories: 482 per cup

    The hypoallergenic formula in Tuscan Natural Simply Pure Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food limits the risk of reactions in dogs with allergies. It is also easy to digest, making it ideal for sensitive stomachs. The kibble is formulated with extra-virgin olive oil for healthy coats and a boost of antioxidants.

    Grass-fed lamb is the first ingredient and the recipe’s single protein source, making it easy for your dog to digest and reduce allergic reactions. Tuscan Natural is made in the U.S.A. by Ph.D. nutritionists. Some dog owners don’t like the odor of this food or the way that their dogs smell after they eat it.

    Pros
    • Made by Ph.D. nutritionists
    • Lamb is the single protein source
    • Hypoallergenic recipe lowers allergic reaction risk
    Cons
    • Some dog owners find the smell unpleasant

    9. AvoDerm Original Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Lamb meal, ground brown rice, ground white rice, oatmeal, chicken fat
    Protein content: 21%
    Fat content: 11%
    Calories: 360 per cup

    The AvoDerm Original Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Recipe uses lamb meal sourced from New Zealand as the first ingredient. Although most of AvoDerm’s ingredients come from North America, it also sources some from France and Peru in its other recipes.

    Like FirstMate, AvoDerm includes chicken fat in its lamb formula, but the company claims that dogs with allergies to chicken protein can safely consume it. The recipe also has vital minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants to support your dog’s immune system and contains no artificial flavors, colors, soy, or wheat.

    Customers were pleased with AvoDerm; some mentioned that it improved their dogs’ coats and reduced itching. However, some dogs disliked the flavor, and a few pet parents mentioned that the formula caused their pups to gain weight.

    Pros
    • Lamb meal is the primary protein
    • No artificial colors, flavors, wheat, or soy
    • Includes vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
    Cons
    • Some dogs dislike the flavor
    • May lead to weight gain

    10. Blackwood Large Breed Dry Dog Food

    Blackwood Large Breed Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Whitefish meal, oatmeal, brown rice, pearled barley, ground grain sorghum
    Protein content: 24%
    Fat content: 12%
    Calories: 375 per cup

    Most of the protein in Blackwood Large Breed Dry Dog Food comes from whitefish to give your dog energy and promote healthy muscles. This legume-free recipe uses oatmeal along with probiotics for healthy, easy digestion. It is cooked in small batches to lock in flavor and nutrients for overall health and wellness.

    There are no artificial colors or flavors in this formula. The protein content is lower than some other brands on this list, but the fat content is also low. The kibble size is made for large or giant breeds. Small or mini breeds may not be able to chew this food.

    Pros
    • Contains probiotics
    • Natural whitefish is the first ingredient
    • Cooked in small batches for the best flavor
    Cons
    • Kibble is too large for small breeds
    • Low protein

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    Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Dog Foods to Avoid DCM

    You may have heard the reports of dogs developing dilated cardiomyopathy, or DCM, after eating grain-free diets, and now you’re looking for a formula without legumes or potatoes. The investigation between a grain-free diet and DCM began in 2018. From July 2018 through 2019, over 500 dogs have experienced issues associated with DCM. DCM is the most common cause of heart failure in dogs, for which there is no cure.

    If you’re unsure what to do, especially if you’ve been feeding your dog a grain-free diet that includes legumes, contact your vet to work with them and find the best food for your dog. If your dog has a grain allergy, grain-free may be your only option. In this case, we recommend you consider the first pick on this list. It’s grain-free but contains no legumes.

    Here are a few more tips for selecting a dog food to avoid DCM.

    Taurine

    Some cases of DCM were caused by a lack of taurine in the dog’s diet. Taurine is an essential amino acid found in animal protein. In the mid-1990s, it was discovered that adding taurine to a dog’s diet if it was deficient could significantly improve heart function.

    The best way to avoid a taurine deficiency in your dog is to feed them food rich in fresh meat, including organs like hearts, livers, kidneys, and lungs. Protein sources like chicken and fish are also rich in taurine. However, beef, lamb, and goat contain lower amounts. Look for the taurine content on the package label, and ask your vet what the daily taurine requirement is for your dog.

    No Legumes

    Grain-free diets tend to use more legumes and potatoes to provide plant-based protein. This also enables manufacturers to use less whole meat in their recipes, saving money. That is why foods without legumes tend to be more expensive. The good news is that there is a formula without legumes for every budget.

    Things to avoid:

    • Peas or any form of peas, such as pea protein
    • Lentils
    • Chickpeas
    • Beans
    • Peanuts
    • Alfalfa
    • Potatoes
    • Sweet potatoes

    Grains

    For a long time, a grain-free diet was promoted to be healthier than one with grains. Dogs were believed to be allergic to grains. While this is true in some cases, it’s more common for dogs to be allergic to the protein source in dog food. For example, you may think that your dog is allergic to grains when they are actually having a reaction to poultry.

    Your vet may suggest a bland diet and then slowly reintroduce ingredients to pinpoint the culprit. If your dog is not allergic to grains, you can safely feed them a grain-inclusive diet, and they will receive health benefits from it. Speak to your vet if you have any questions.

    If you’ve been feeding your dog a grain-free diet for years, developing DCM is not a guarantee. The most important thing to do is ensure your dog gets enough taurine. If you’d like to switch to a grain-inclusive diet or a grain-free diet without legumes, this list has great options.

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    Conclusion

    For the best overall dog food to avoid DCM, we like Dr. Tim’s Heirloom Ancient Grains Dry Dog Food. This dog food uses natural ingredients and is free of common allergens. For a value option, Evanger’s Super Premium Dry Dog Food contains probiotics and prebiotics in the recipe and has a large bag size option.

    We hope these reviews have helped you select the best food for your dog. Remember to consult your vet before changing your dog’s diet.


    Featured Image Credit: cottonbro, Pexels

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