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Is Feeding a Grain-Free Food Hurting Your Dog's Heart?


Grain-free diets for dogs have become all the buzz in recent years with lots of dog food companies, bloggers, and pet lovers extolling them as the cure for all that ails dogs. Now, I’m not going to get into all of my thoughts on this trend. (The board-certified veterinary nutritionists at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine have already done that in these articles on their petfoodology blog.) What I will say though is that it tends to be (emotional) marketing that's driving the grain-free pet food craze, rather than science and an actual medical need for excluding grains from the diets of dogs — even those with food allergies. But again, that discussion is outside the scope of this particular article. 

The purpose of this article is to ensure that, if you have chosen to feed your dog a grain-free diet, and especially if it's a food that contains peas, chickpeas, lentils, or potatoes in place of the grains, you are aware of the newly recognized possible link between the feeding of a grain-free diet and the development of Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), a very serious form of heart disease in dogs. DCM is characterized by a distention and thinning out of the muscular walls of the heart, causing it to be a less effective pump to move blood throughout the body. As you might imagine, that’s not a good thing! Dogs with DCM are at great risk of progressing to heart failure. You can learn more about the condition in this article from the good folks in the cardiology department at the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. 

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Topics: Dog Safety, Heart Murmurs, Foods that aren't good for dogs, Foods that are good for dogs, Dog Food, Heart Problems, Heart Failure, Food Allergies

What to Know If You Want to Give Your Dog CBD


Is it a cure-all or snake oil?
 

If you have spent any time researching cannabis for dogs, and specifically cannabidiol (CBD), you have probably found yourself wondering whether these products are safe, and even if they will offer any real benefits for your pained, anxious, or elderly dog.

The simple story about CBD is that there is no simple story about CBD. Though CBD is a non-psychoactive chemical derived from cannabis that won’t get people or animals high like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it still falls into both a medical and bureaucratic black hole where it can be nearly impossible to extract definitive information.

But we have done our best to stare into the CBD abyss and pull out as much as possible to help you decide whether it might be good for your dog. As you’ll soon see, vets are placed in a difficult position when talking about these products, but you will hopefully walk away from this article with enough information to help you make a more-informed decision.

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Topics: Dog Safety, Dog Emergency, Dog, Warning Signs, Pet First Aid, Anxiety in Dogs, Pain management, Foods that aren't good for dogs, Arthritis in dogs, Marijuana toxicity, marijuana

Marijuana, Cannabidiol & Dogs: Everything You Want (And Need) To Know


As of 2017, more than half the states in the country have enacted some form of marijuana legalization and more are expected to follow. But as perceptions about legal weed dramatically shift in the country, it forces us to address the elephant in the room — or, in this case, the dog in the room.

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Topics: Dog Safety, Dog Emergency, Dog, Warning Signs, Pet First Aid, Foods that aren't good for dogs, Marijuana toxicity

The Truth About Avocado For Dogs & Cats


Like many others who have emailed us, you may be thinking that you should avoid avocados around your cats and dogs at all costs. There does appear to be conflicting information out there, doesn’t there?

Avocados seem to routinely show up on “Top 10 Pet Hazard” lists, yet there’s avocado in (at least) one brand of pet food. You’d be right for wondering “what gives?”

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Topics: Dog Safety, Cat Safety, Food, Foods that aren't good for dogs, Myth Busters

Lesser Known Pet Toxicities: Grape, Raisin, and Currant Toxicity in Dogs


Grapes could be one of the scariest toxins for dogs because of the perceived ‘health’ of offering fruit as a treat. While grapes, raisins, and the related Zante currant are perfectly healthy snacks for us humans, they can be kidney-destroying, and therefore life-threatening, to some dogs.

At this point, we don’t know exactly what makes these foods toxic, and we don’t know exactly the number of grapes, raisins, or currants that must be eaten before a dog shows signs of toxicity. Also, it appears that not all dogs are susceptible to this toxicity, and there are currently no ways to predict which dogs are, and which aren’t. What we do know is that, in susceptible dogs, the ingestion of these common ‘people snacks’ can cause acute kidney failure. Kidney failure is an expensive condition to treat, and can cause long-term consequences – even death. So, while we in the veterinary world may not yet know everything there is to know about grape, raisin, and currant toxicity in dogs, we do know enough to strongly recommend that people never knowingly feed grapes, raisins, or currants to their dogs and that they take all reasonable and necessary steps to prevent their dog’s accidental exposure to them as well.

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Topics: Dog Safety, pet safety tips, pet safety, toxicity, Kids and Pets, Dogs, Are Grapes Safe for Dogs, Grape Toxicity, Are Raisins Safe for Dogs, Currants, What are Good Training Treats for Dogs, Are Currants Safe for Dogs, Food, Blog, Foods that aren't good for dogs

Photo Credit: Preventive Vet

Please do not ask emergency or other specific medical questions about your pets in the blog comments. As an online informational resource, Preventive Vet is unable to and does not provide specific medical advice or counseling. A thorough physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinary-patient-client relationship is required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet is having an emergency or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic medical conditions, please contact or visit your veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.

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