Diet and DCM

The FDA is trying to see if there is a relationship between diet and DCM. Follow our coverage of the topic here.

DCM Info, This Way

Zignature’s Statement on DCM

Zignature is a US based pet food company that we have had in store for years. They have a very clean ingredient panel and do not include chicken in any of their formulas. They were named in the July 2019 update from the FDA but we have heard countless customer success stories while feeding Zignature. Here’s what they said:

On June 27, 2019, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) issued its third status report on its investigation into any potential connection between certain diets and Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), a type of heart disease, in dogs. While DCM impacts less than one percent of U.S. dogs, with .000007% being supposedly related to diet, we recognize that these studies are of critical importance to those families whose beloved dogs have been afflicted by this heart diseases.

As you review the FDA’s most recent report, it’s important to understand the following:

  • Most dogs in the U.S. have been eating pet food without apparently developing DCM.
  • The FDA continues to believe that the potential association between diet and DCM in dogs is a complex scientific issue that may involve multiple factors and that the actual cause has still yet to be determined.
  • The overwhelming majority of impacted dogs belonged to breeds genetically predisposed to DCM, a disease that was first discovered in the 1980’s well before the grain-free diets were available for pets.
  • The DCM cases reported to the FDA included dogs who ate both grain and grain-free diets.
  • The FDA states that chicken is the number one protein of affected dogs, as you know, Zignature does not use chicken.
Read Zignature's Full statement here.

Nulo goes further and provides some data showing the AAFCO minimum requirements for an adult maintenance formula and how they exceed in every way.

What is Canine DCM?

DCM is a disease of a dog’s heart muscle and results in an enlarged heart. As the heart and its chambers become dilated, it becomes harder for the heart to pump, and heart valves may leak, 
which can lead to a buildup of fluids in the chest and abdomen (congestive heart failure). DCM is prevalent in certain breeds, especially larger dogs.

How do I know if my dog has DCM?

Please contact your veterinarian to determine if diagnostic tools such as echocardiograms are deemed prudent for your dog. If your dog is showing possible signs of DCM or other heart
conditions, including decreased energy, cough, difficulty breathing and episodes of collapse, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

Is this an issue only for boutique brands of dog food?

No. The pet food advocacy website, the, has taken a close look at the data that the FDA has released and found that the FDA received a significant number of DCM reports from the largest pet food producers.

Is there a link between exotic proteins and DCM?

Based on the most recent data released by the FDA, and contrary to previous speculation, that does not seem to be the case. Most of the cases (more than 50%) reported to the FDA were for foods containing chicken, lamb and salmon.

How does Zignature formulate its food?

Our meticulously designed diets have been formulated by a thought-leading team of veterinarians, PhD animal nutritionists and veterinary research scientists to deliver the safest pet products on the market that exceed the industry’s AAFCO guide for balanced and thorough nutrition.

Has Zignature been contacted by the FDA? Are you cooperating with the agency?

We want to do all we can to help the scientific community determine if there is any tie between a dog’s diet and dilated cardiomyopathy. We intend to share any data we collect through our customer care line with the FDA to help further their investigation.

Why are you continuing to use legumes in your diets?

Millions of dogs that suffer from severe allergies from gluten are able to live healthy lives because of grain free solutions like Zignature. As no one has been able to determine if or what the association may be between a dog’s diet and this rare cardiac condition, we believe it’s important that we continue to serve the millions of dogs that thrive on our diets.