11 Ways Carbs Hurt Your Dog

26th Mar 2013


Veterinarians increasingly claim that carbohydrates, particularly grains, cause primary health problems for dogs and strongly recommend diets high in protein and fat but low in carbohydrates including starches.

Since dogs are carnivores, they have evolved to thrive on diets that are primarily meat-based (rich in amino acids) with few carbohydrates and no grains. Many reasons account for this.

  • Dog's digestive tracts are short, designed for quickly digesting animal protein and fat but not carbohydrates.
  • Complex carbohydrates including grains and starches such as sweet potatoes are difficult to digest and less easily absorbed into the blood stream, thereby, reducing metabolism efficiency and lowering immune system functioning.
  • Their teeth are sharp for grabbing food rather than grinding and crushing grain. This characteristic of carnivores, in combination, with the lack of enzymes such as amylase in their saliva to break down carbohydrates, results in lengthy metabolism of grain-based foods.
  • Since dogs have difficulty predigesting grains and are able to take large bites, breaking down complex carbohydrates in their stomach and small intestine is inefficient, and complex carbohydrates can pass through undigested.
  • On the other hand, grains take longer to digest, may not be entirely digested in the small intestine so it can remain in the colon.
  • As a result of staying longer in the dogs' digestive tract, complex carbohydrates require more energy to process the food, thereby increasing hunger and leading to weight gain.
  • This slow digestion process can also cause irritation and spasms in the large intestine.
  • While carbohydrates provide energy through sugars, fat offers better energy for stamina and endurance.
  • Grain-based foods may also lead to kidney failure that may not be detected until there is over 75% damage.
  • Grains and starches contain phytates that block mineral absorption of calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron and iodine.
  • Carbohydrates like grains and starches metabolize into glucose (sugar) and convert into fat, resulting in health problems such as hypoglycemia, hyperactivity, diabetes, obesity, and many other serious illnesses.

Unfortunately, people often don't recognize when their dogs are obese or overweight. In one study cited by USA Weekend Magazine, for example, professionals diagnosed 80% of the dogs as obese. Yet, only 28% of these dog owners recognized this problem. Other studies suggest that 25-44% of dogs are overweight or obese, obviously a trend dangerous to dog health.

Instead, dogs need unprocessed fruits and vegetables to provide nutrients that contribute to easy digestion and absorption of these nutrients, which also, help to enhance your dog's immune system.

Yet, the vast majority of dog food, including premium brands, has been formulated with a high level of carbohydrates including grains and starches. Even new premium "healthy" dog foods are loaded with starches such sweet potatoes, giving your dog too many carbohydrates turning into sugars.

Not surprisingly, consumers have accepted these ingredients, because the vast majority of pet foods contain them, cost is reduced, and the convenience of food already formulated in a bag or can is easy to use.

More importantly, most dog owners don't recognize that this diet leads to an ineffective immune system and can result in developing diabetes, obesity, and many other illnesses. In addition, if your dog has a serious illness, its immune system will be less able to fight it with grain-filled food. Part of the reason for this is that the mutated cells use carbohydrates by taking amino acids from healthy cells. Plus, protein is an important factor in cell repair.

While veterinarians blame carbohydrates on health problems, two exceptions exist. Puppies just being weaned off of their mother's milk and mothers nursing their puppies need carbohydrates for glucose. However, fairly soon after puppies are weaned, they no longer need these carbohydrates.

Healthy Dogma PetMix is grain free as well as potato free! For more information click here.