The topic of DCM in dogs and how it is affected by diet has yet to die down. In fact, it has become more prevalent than ever among the pet owner communities of the world. If you’re unfamiliar with DCM, here’s a quick rundown on this common canine heart disease.

DCM is short for dilated cardiomyopathy, which is a condition in which the heart’s ventricles become enlarged past their normal size. In addition to larger ventricles, the ventricular wall tends to thin when DCM is present. This combination of enlarged ventricles and thinning of the ventricular wall makes the heart much weaker than it should be, so much that it has difficulty pumping blood throughout the body.

The Recent Increase in DCM

DCM has been around for a long time, especially in large dog breeds and a few predisposed smaller breeds like the cocker spaniel. So if this disease is nothing new, why so much talk about DCM lately? The cases of DCM have experienced a huge spike within the past few years, specifically in 2018 and 2019. Many of these cases have been attributed to a lack of exercise, and poor canine diet is also to blame.

This is really not surprising at all when you think about it. Humans are affected by numerous health issues due to lack of exercise and poor dietary choices. Dogs are just as susceptible to disease for these same reasons, especially when it comes to dilated cardiomyopathy. Luckily, it’s fairly easy to help your dog adopt healthier habits, but it’s up to you, the pet owner, to implement these healthier habits.

It’s time to start focusing on your dog’s diet just as you would your own dietary choices. Not only that, but it’s up to you to help your dog get a proper amount of exercise. Go for walks, head to the dog park, or throw a frisbee around in your backyard. Whatever you do, try not to keep your pup couped up inside all day. Lack of exercise is the main culprit of doggy health issues.

How to Properly Read Dog Food Labels

Just as you might read a label for yourself while perusing the aisles of a grocery store, you should also read the labels for food intended for a pet. This is especially true since one of the biggest factors to canine health and well-being is diet and nutrition. Aside from exercise, a well-balanced diet is crucial for maintaining canine health.

But reading labels can feel tedious and difficult since there are hundreds of different options to choose from. As it turns out, reading dog food labels really isn’t that difficult. The first step is to have an idea of the brand you’re hoping to buy, and head directly for that brand as soon as you enter the pet food aisle.

Then, simply check the ingredients. The most important thing is to understand your dog’s specific needs since no two canines are the same. Check the packaging to find a dog food that is specifically geared towards your pooch, like small breed vs large breed or puppy vs dog. If you can’t pronounce a majority of the ingredients, put that bag of kibble back on the shelf.