Evaluating health effects of pulses in dog food

Capacity Building Priority

Regulatory Modernization

February 2021 to August 2021
Fund I: Complete

Cluster Contribution


Pulse Canada

AGT Food and Ingredients

BSM Partners


To comprehensively study the role of pulse ingredients and grain-free diets in dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs to address knowledge gaps from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) investigation in 2018.

Project Summary

With minimal research conducted from the 2018 FDA investigation to examine the association between pulse ingredients and rates of DCM—a thinning and stretching of the heart chambers—in dogs, the sales of grain-free dog foods have declined, which as a result, has limited the use of Canadian pulse ingredients in dog food.

Pulse Canada, AGT Food and Ingredients, BSM Partners and other research grantors are focusing their efforts on reducing the research gap in canine diet and nutrition, particularly, knowledge gaps related incidence of canine DCM and pulse ingredients in dog foods.

Beginning in February 2021, the partners have set out to understand the relationship between pulse ingredients and dogs' heart health by comparing dog foods with and without pulse ingredients.

Results and Impact

  • Partners are in the process of evaluating the dietary effects on cardiac function and various metabolic pathways to deduce plausible mechanisms of action.
  • Should the results prove adequate nutrition and cardiac function, this will lead to the promotion of pulse-based ingredients for dogs' health and wellness, the re-opening of the US dog food market to Canada's pulse sector—strengthening the sector and Canada’s economy, while offering dog owners across North America new options for their dogs. Results are yet to be published.