The Link Between Instinct Dog Food and Heart Disease in Dogs: What Pet Owners Should Know


As responsible pet owners, we strive to provide the best nutrition for our furry friends. With countless brands and varieties of dog food available on the market today, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. However, recent concerns have emerged regarding a potential link between certain dog food products, such as Instinct Dog Food, and heart disease in dogs. In this article, we will delve into this issue and shed light on what pet owners should know.

Understanding Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)

Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a serious heart condition that affects dogs. It primarily occurs when the heart muscle weakens, leading to an enlarged heart that struggles to pump blood efficiently throughout the body. This ultimately results in poor oxygenation and circulation to various organs, potentially leading to life-threatening consequences.

Historically, DCM has been linked to specific dog breeds with genetic predispositions; however, recent reports suggest a possible association between certain types of dog food and this condition.

Instinct Dog Food: An Overview

Instinct Dog Food is produced by Nature’s Variety Inc., a company that emphasizes providing natural and raw food options for pets. Their philosophy revolves around mimicking an ancestral diet that consists mainly of high-quality protein sources like meat or fish along with fruits, vegetables, and other beneficial ingredients.

The Connection between Instinct Dog Food and DCM

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) first raised concerns about potential links between grain-free dog foods containing legumes or potatoes as main ingredients and DCM in July 2018. Since then, numerous cases of DCM have been reported by veterinarians across the country involving dogs that were regularly fed with these types of products.

Although there is ongoing research investigating this matter further, initial findings indicate a correlation between grain-free dog foods, including Instinct Dog Food, and instances of DCM. According to the FDA’s update in June 2019, many reported cases involved diets that contained peas, lentils, chickpeas, or potatoes as primary ingredients.

However, it is important to note that a direct causative relationship between these ingredients and DCM has not yet been definitively established. Many factors could contribute to the development of heart disease in dogs, including genetics, underlying health conditions, and even individual variations in metabolism.

The Role of Taurine

One potential factor contributing to the association between certain dog food products and DCM is a deficiency in taurine—a vital amino acid for dogs’ cardiovascular health. While taurine is naturally synthesized by most mammals, including humans and dogs, some breeds have a higher need for dietary sources of this amino acid.

Certain legumes and potatoes used as main ingredients in grain-free dog foods may interfere with taurine absorption or availability. This interference could potentially increase the risk of taurine deficiency in dogs consuming these diets regularly. However, more research is needed to establish a clear link between specific ingredients and taurine deficiency-related DCM.

Guidance for Pet Owners

If you are currently feeding your dog Instinct Dog Food or any other grain-free diet containing similar ingredients mentioned above, there are several steps you can take:

  1. Consult Your Veterinarian: Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss your concerns about the potential link between diet and DCM. They can assess your dog’s overall health status and recommend appropriate dietary adjustments if necessary.

  2. Consider Changing Your Dog’s Diet: If you decide to transition your pet away from grain-free formulas like Instinct Dog Food due to personal concerns or veterinarian recommendations, slowly introduce a new diet over several weeks to avoid digestive upset.

  3. Opt for Balanced Diets: Ensure that any alternative diet you choose provides complete and balanced nutrition for your dog’s specific life stage. Look for products that have undergone Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) feeding trials or meet their nutrient profiles.

  4. Monitor Your Dog’s Health: Regularly monitor your dog’s overall well-being, including weight, energy levels, coat condition, and any signs of cardiac issues, such as coughing, shortness of breath, or exercise intolerance. Report any concerning symptoms to your veterinarian promptly.


While the link between Instinct Dog Food and heart disease in dogs is still being investigated, it is crucial for pet owners to stay informed and proactive about their furry companions’ health. By consulting with a veterinarian and making informed dietary choices, you can provide the best possible care and reduce the potential risk associated with certain dog food ingredients. Remember that individual dogs may respond differently to various diets, so it is important to tailor nutritional decisions based on your pet’s unique needs.

Instinct Dog Food and the Concerns around Canine Heart Disease

Introduction: Dog owners are increasingly concerned about the potential link between certain dog food brands and heart disease in their furry companions. One of the brands that has come under scrutiny is Instinct, a popular manufacturer of natural pet foods. In this article, we will delve into the concerns surrounding Instinct dog food and its alleged association with canine heart disease. We’ll examine the outline below to provide an in-depth understanding of this issue.

Outline: I. What is Instinct dog food? A. Overview of the brand and its philosophy B. Ingredients used in their products

II. The rise of canine heart disease cases A. Understanding dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) B. FDA investigation into a potential link between diet and DCM C. Cases reported by pet owners

III. Allegations against Instinct dog food A. Reports from customers regarding DCM cases B. Examinations of specific ingredients within Instinct products 1. Peas, lentils, legumes, or potatoes as primary ingredients 2. Potential relationship between these ingredients and DCM

IV: Perspectives from experts and authorities A: The FDA’s investigation findings B: Input from veterinary nutritionists 1: Thoughts on grain-free diets 2: Ingredient selection in relation to nutrition guidelines

V: Recommendations for concerned pet owners A: Consultation with veterinarians B: Considering alternative diets C: Monitoring dogs for signs of heart disease

VI: Steps taken by Instinct to address concerns A: Recall announcements or diet reformulations
B: Public responses addressing customer concerns

VII: Conclusion: Summarize key points discussed throughout the article.


I. What is Instinct dog food? Instinct is a well-known pet food brand that prides itself on offering natural, high-quality products for dogs and cats. Their philosophy revolves around providing food that mimics the ancestral diet of pets, emphasizing raw and minimally processed ingredients. Instinct offers a wide range of options, including grain-free formulas and specific dietary formulations to cater to various health needs.

II. The rise of canine heart disease cases In recent years, cases of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a serious heart condition affecting dogs, have been on the rise. Concerns were raised when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched an investigation into a potential link between certain diets and DCM. Reports from pet owners suggested their dogs developed DCM despite having no prior genetic predisposition.

III. Allegations against Instinct dog food Several pet owners attributed their dogs’ heart disease to consuming Instinct dog food. These claims drew attention as some ingredients used in Instinct’s recipes aligned with those allegedly linked to DCM cases. Specifically, concerns arose regarding diets containing peas, legumes, lentils, or potatoes as primary ingredients.

IV: Perspectives from experts and authorities The FDA investigated whether grain-free diets or specific ingredients played a role in the development of DCM in dogs. While the investigation revealed an association between certain diets and DCM, it did not establish causality or single out any particular brand or ingredient as definitive culprits.

Veterinary nutritionists emphasized the importance of balanced nutrition rather than singling out individual ingredients based solely on reports from concerned pet owners. They noted that selecting ingredients based on nutritional guidelines allows diet formulation that meets pets’ requirements while minimizing potential risks associated with unbalanced diets.

V: Recommendations for concerned pet owners Pet owners who are worried about these potential associations should consult their veterinarians for personalized advice tailored to their pets’ specific needs and health conditions. Veterinarians can help guide decisions related to diet and provide recommendations based on their patients’ unique circumstances. Alternative diets, including those with different protein or carbohydrate sources, can be considered after professional consultation.

VI: Steps taken by Instinct to address concerns Instinct promptly addressed customer concerns by proactively engaging with the FDA’s investigation and cooperating fully. They provided transparency in recall announcements or diet reformulations whenever necessary, ensuring pet owners were informed about any changes made to their products. Public responses from the brand reassured customers that they are committed to the health and well-being of pets.

VII: Conclusion As concerned pet owners seek answers regarding potential connections between certain dog food brands and canine heart disease, it’s crucial to approach the topic with an open-minded perspective. While allegations against Instinct dog food have emerged, causality between specific ingredients and DCM has not been definitively established. Pet owners should work closely with their veterinarians to make informed decisions when selecting diets for their beloved companions, keeping in mind individual nutritional requirements and monitoring for any signs of heart disease.

In conclusion, understanding the ongoing investigations surrounding canine heart disease is essential for responsible pet ownership. We encourage readers to remain informed about industry updates and consult professionals before making dietary choices for their furry friends.