First Advisor

Luis A. Ruedas

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biology and University Honors




Dogs -- Food, Dogs -- Nutrition -- Effect of wheat-free diets on, Dogs -- Myocardium -- Diseases, Taurine -- Physiological effect




Grain-free diets for dogs are becoming increasingly popular, but concerns are emerging following the FDA’s recent investigation that there might be a link between grain-free diets and DCM in dogs with no known genetic predisposition. Contrary to the majority of the public thought, dogs do nutritionally require grains, and there is rarely a medical reason to switch to a grain-free diet. Not all cases of DCM are linked to diet, and many dogs who are fed grain-free diets do not develop the disease; the extent of this issue therefore is not entirely known. This review aims to explore what is known about DCM and grain-free diets and discuss the issues in researching this potential tie. DCM is linked to grain-free diets mainly through inadequately low taurine levels, due to the grain-free substitutes that have skewed macro nutritional ratios and poor bioavailability.


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