Grain Free Diets & DCM in Dogs: What You Need to Know

Grain Free Diets & DCM in Dogs: What You Need to Know

We know how special dogs are to their humans, and we know that all owners want what’s best for their dog. We think of our customers’ dogs as part of our big NewRoad pack, and we always strive to to ensure that our owners are equipped with the most knowledge possible to make the right decisions for their dogs. We have decades of industry experience and a panel of PhD veterinary nutritionists we work closely with to be sure that we provide the best possible diets for our NewRoad dogs.

NewRoad Foods Dry Dog Food - Zoe the Border Collie


In recent years, Grain Free diets have emerged as a major segment of the dog food industry. As organic, gluten-free, and paleo diets took off amongst humans, a lot of pet owners became more conscious of what they fed their dogs and started to look for perceived healthier choices. A Grain Free diet will most likely benefit a dog with grain allergies, though, in actuality, less than 1% of all dogs suffer from grain allergies. Most food allergies amongst dogs are caused by meat proteins like beef and chicken, and dairy products. It's unlikely your dog really needs a grain free diet, and therefore we recommend that dog owners consult with their vet before switching to a grain free diet to make sure that it is absolutely necessary.

If your dog does suffer from a protein allergy, our Limited Ingredient diet formulated with a unique protein (Wild-Caught Whitefish) is an excellent option for pups that have sensitives to widely available animal proteins like beef or chicken. We do also have a Grain Free option for dogs with grain allergies. 


This past month, the FDA issued a warning on a possible link between 16 dog food brands and increased incidences of heart disease in dogs eating those foods. You can see the list of brands and the official FDA release here. DCM, or Canine Dilated Myopathy, can result in heart failure, and is believed to have a genetic component that primarily affects larger breeds. At the moment, there’s no firm evidence that absolutely links these grain-free foods to DCM, but many veterinarians are urging caution and advising dog owners to avoid these brands until more is known about the potential link.  The FDA continues to investigate this by conducting rigorous analytical testing on grain-free foods, researching dog’s dietary and medical histories, and working closely with leading academia and veterinary nutritionists.

As a pet owner, it’s recommended that you consult with your veterinarian to jointly choose a diet and brand of food that best supports your dogs needs. It’s important to note that your veterinarian may seek the opinion of a board-certified veterinary nutritionist before giving you a dietary recommendation. Many vets we’ve spoken to err firmly on the side of caution and advise steering clear of grain-free dog foods until more is known about the potential links between grain-free foods and DCM.


We do offer a Grain-Free food, which we’ve formulated over several years and in partnership with veterinary nutritionists. We supplement our Grain Free diet with taurine, which is a type of Amino Acid that is especially concentrated in the heart muscle. Taurine deficiency is a leading cause of DCM, so by supplementing our food with taurine, we ensure better heart health for your pup.

If your dog currently eats a grain-free diet, and you’re not sure what’s best for them, we’re happy to talk you through the process of selecting a new food. We offer a Trial Pack featuring any of our foods and a bag of our Protein Chips for $10, so that you can establish whether your dog likes the food without committing.

If you have any questions about what diet is right for your dog, we are happy to walk you through the process. You can contact us by:

  • Using the Chat function
  • Sending an email to
  • Calling Us at (844) 888-0825
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