Champion Petfoods among 16 brands linked to potential canine heart problems by FDA

by Morinville News Staff

Morinville’s Champion Petfoods manufactures two brands identified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a study on the potential links between grain-free pet foods and a canine heart condition.

Champion’s Acana and Orijen brands, available around the world, are two of 16 identified in the FDA report on canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

The FDA announced last year that it was investigating reports of DCM in dogs eating pet foods, many of which were labelled grain-free, and which contained within the first 10 ingredients high proportions of peas, lentils, other legume seeds including pulses and/or potatoes in various forms.

“We understand the concern that pet owners have about these reports: the illnesses can be severe, even fatal, and many cases report eating “grain-free” labelled pet food,” reads a June 27, 2019 update on the FDA website. “The FDA is using a range of science-based investigative tools as it strives to learn more about this emergence of DCM and its potential link to certain diets or ingredients.”

The FDA says it has received 524 reports related to 574 animals over the past five-plus years (between Jan. 1, 2014 and Apr. 30, 2019). Of that number, 560 dogs and 14 cats were affected with 119 dog and 5 cat deaths reported. Golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers and mixed breed dogs were the most commonly reported in the FDA report.

The June 28 update is the FDA’s third public report on their investigation since last fall.

In a media response on the research, Champion said the FDA update provides no causative scientific link between DCM and products, ingredients or grain-free diets as a whole.

“Our hearts go out to every pet and pet lover who have been impacted by DCM. We take this very seriously and will continue to work internally and with other industry leaders on research into the cause of DCM in order to help pet lovers understand the facts,” reads Champion’s media response. “Our own research and the millions of pets who have thrived by eating our food over 25 years have shown that Champion pet foods are safe.”

Champion’s statement goes on to say that while DCM is a serious condition, it is rare.

“Of the 77 million dogs in the U.S., 0.5% to 1% have DCM, and of those dogs with DCM, fewer than 0.1% are speculated to have DCM related to diet, although that is not scientifically proven,” the response reads. “In the recipes Champion makes, we emphasize fresh and raw meat with total animal-derived ingredients ranging from 60 to 85 percent of the finished product. Legumes are not a significant feature in Champion’s recipes, and never have been.”

Products identified in the FDA work include Acana, Zignature, Taste of the Wild, 4Health, Earthborn Holistic, Blue Buffalo, Nature’s Domain, Fromm, Merrick, California Natural, Natural Balance, Orijen, Nature’s Variety, NutriSource, Nutro, and Rachael Ray Nutrish.

For more information on the FDA’s investigation into DCM and certain pet foods, visit

Those with questions on DCM are invited to call Champion’s Customer Care Line at 1-877-939-0006.

The FDA says it is continuing to “investigate and gather more information in an effort to identify whether there is a specific dietary link to the development of DCM”. They plan to provide public updates as information develops.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Hmmm,another rush to point fingers but no scientific data available to back up the headline. This will take years of dedicated research to validate & pinpoint the causes yet media publishes a press release as fact. Dig deep dear pet owners before you believe an unsubstantiated claim by any Government agency. Where is the data, the research findings, the investigation with proof, is it only me that smells something off here? Below is Champion’s info regarding this announcement, there are many more available, I only chose Champion because they are here in our hometown. Tried unsuccessfully to find who financed this so called study, so perhaps before we let media whip us into a fearful frenzy let’s do our due diligence & remain rational.

    • I agree. 77 Million dogs and 500 dogs affected? The data they appear to be relying on from reading their report, is that the owners reported their dogs were eating this food when diagnosed. Where’s the link between the food and the illness? They need to provide scientific proof and more information otherwise it just appears to be a smear campaign.

    • Katherine Mary-Ellen agreed! I chose Acana because to me it was the next best food to a raw diet with the least additives and fillers. I don’t believe feeding my dog a biologically appropriate diet vs some of the big name foods with so many additives in it is bad for his health.

  2. Let not be like FDA that has no evidence of this.l don’t want to jump in blame anyone.I am sure that Champion pet foods are very good.This May be fake news.lets see what happens.

    • Kristen Cave what stands out in this article besides the total lack of true scientific data is this one paragraph

      “It’s important to note that the FDA looked at 515 reports of canine DCM between 2014 and 2019 and there are 77 million pet dogs in the US, so the vast majority of animals eating grain-free pet food have not encountered any apparent issues.”

      Makes one pause & wonder how this even became “news worthy” & why Canadian news outlets & publications felt it necessary to report, doesn’t it? Thanks for sharing. 👍

  3. Erucic acid – it is in the vegetable oil used in petfood… Research that a bit & you will find it causes heart problems… Hmmm…

  4. What is really the big issue here is the disgusting odor that Champion Foods emits almost daily. Enough to make a human sick! Does anyone know if they are fixing that problem?

Comments are closed.