A study published in Scientific Reports has found a significant link between canine consumption of peas and the development of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).
What is DCM?
DCM is a lethal condition that is most prevalent in breeds such as Doberman Pinscher, the Great Dane, the Golden Retriever, the Boxer and the Cocker Spaniel.
The condition in question causes a dog's heart muscle to enlarge. As the heart dilates and becomes larger, it becomes harder to pump, which can lead to heart valve leaks or a build-up of fluids in the chest.
According to the study, peas aren't the only legumes that can cause DCM. As it turns out, lentils and chickpeas have also been found in grain-free dog food for years—and could be responsible for hundreds of dog deaths. Dr. Lisa Freeman, the author of the study explains that:
Until we know the exact cause, we want to be cautious of all the ingredients the FDA is investigating. Peas might be a good clue as to where we can be looking. As one more piece of the puzzle, this doesn’t give us the final answer, unfortunately.
But it gives us things to follow up on. This research helps us narrow down the targets to look at so we can focus on the most likely causes and get to an answer more quickly and prevent other dogs from being affected.
Table foods strongly discouraged
For this reason, scientists who conducted the study have been urgently discouragingdog owners to feed their canine friends leftovers. Although many veterinary organisations have said that giving your pets human food once in a while should not be cause for concern, new health advisories are currently being discussed.