Carbohydrates and Your Dog’s Diet
Over the past few decades, we have heard many different things regarding carbohydrates and their correlation to our diets. Well, rightfully so, these concerns have found their way into our dog’s eating habits as well. Grains, once considered an integral part of a human’s and a dog’s diet, have come into question in recent years due to gluten allergies and intolerance.
Carbohydrates are organic compounds that occur in foods and living tissue, including sugars, starch and cellulose. They contain hydrogen and oxygen in the same ratio as water (2:1). Carbohydrates are broken down in the body and are used to release and expel energy.
So, carbohydrates sound like a good thing, right? Yes and no. They are a part of a well-balanced diet, but not all carbohydrates are the same.
Good vs. Bad Carbohydrates
Good carbohydrates can help us feel energized and fuel the energy we use throughout the day. Still, the intake of too many bad carbohydrates can make us feel sluggish and potentially cause some severe health issues. These concerns can carry over to our canine friends as well.
When it comes to sources of carbohydrates for your dog, they typically come from three sources: starches, sugars and fibre. Starches and sugars help give your dog the energy they need to be active. As with humans, fibre plays a crucial role in helping the digestive system run efficiently.
How Your Dog’s Body Breaks Down Carbohydrates
Monosaccharides are hexagon-shaped simple sugar molecules typically found in sugars and starches. Your dog’s body cannot use the energy from the carbohydrates they eat until the monosaccharides are separated.
Like humans, enzymes are found in your dog’s pancreas and small intestines. These enzymes help your dog break down sugars and starches into smaller, more usable parts. After your dog has consumed carbs, most commonly from grains, the enzymes begin to break down the sugars and starches into monosaccharides.
After the carbohydrates get broken down, your dog’s body will absorb the glucose into their intestines, blood and liver. They are then converted into a readily available energy source.
A Grain-Free Diet Versus a Grain Diet
If you currently have your dog on a grain-free diet or are thinking about doing so, there are a few things you need to consider. Firstly, just because a food is grain-free doesn’t mean that it’s carbohydrate-free. Although they don’t possess grains, these foods do have carbohydrate sources, usually in the form of potatoes, sweet potatoes, lentils, peas or quinoa.
Secondly, no two dogs are the same; hence no two diets are the same. Based on factors such as breed, lifestyle and age, what works for one dog might not meet the nutritional needs of another.
So, Are Carbohydrates Good for Your Dog or Not?
Dogs can process all types of carbohydrates, but not all support their bodies in functionality. The sugars in the simple carbohydrates found in cheaper foods are not helpful to their overall health and can lead to an array of serious medical issues. Avoiding foods with simple carbohydrates and seeking out foods with complex carbohydrates instead can help give your canine the proper nutrients to achieve an overall healthy lifestyle.
How We Can Help?
It’s not that simple carbohydrates are the root of all evil when it comes to dog food. Still, the quality and types of carbohydrates your dog eats can make a considerable difference to your dog’s overall health and happiness. A nutritional overview should be conducted to truly understand what your dog should or shouldn’t be eating to ensure your furry friend is getting the proper nutrients they need.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation, and let’s work together to discover what diet would be the most beneficial to your dog so they can live a happy, healthy and long life.