top of page

The Sweet Deception in Store-Bought Pet Food

Carbohydrates: a controversial and often misconstrued component of our furry friends' meals. What are they, and how much should our dogs consume?

Carbohydrates, or "carbs," encompass a variety of compounds. To simplify, we can categorise them into three types: sugars, starches, and fibers. Sugars, like glucose, are easily digestible and quickly enter the bloodstream, causing swift spikes and drops in blood glucose and insulin levels. This can sometimes lead to health and behavioural issues. Starches, more complex than sugars, also break down into glucose with similar health implications if overfed. Fibers, on the other hand, are non-digestible carbs found in plants that support gut and bowel health without affecting blood sugar levels.

Interesting fact: unlike proteins and fats, carbs aren't essential for dogs' survival. Yet, they often form the bulk of our pets' diets. Wild wolves, ancestors of our domestic dogs, consumed a diet consisting of about 1% carbs. Domestic dogs, when given a choice, prefer a diet with about 7% carbs. But shockingly, the average store-bought kibble contains a whopping 30-60% carbs!

Carbs aren't inherently bad. They're like characters in a Wild West movie: some are good, some are bad, and some are downright ugly.

The Good: Fresh fruits and above-ground veggies are non-starchy carbs rich in fiber and phytonutrients. These nutrients aren't essential for survival, but they provide protection against a variety of health issues, including obesity, diabetes, and certain types of cancer, while also boosting immunity and improving mood and cognitive function.

The Bad: Root vegetables like potatoes and cassava contain more starchy carbs. Even though a kibble may be "grain-free," it could still be packed with these hidden sugars. Consumed in excess, these carbs convert into body fat and contribute to health issues like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. If your pet struggles with weight issues or skin conditions, it might be time to review their carb intake.

The Ugly: Starch is also prevalent in cereal and legume grain crops like corn, wheat, barley, and soy. These ingredients are cheap for manufacturers, but they're not suitable for dogs. They contribute to inflammation and increase the risk of degenerative diseases, including cancer.

The starch content in kibble is typically high due to the extrusion process, where a dough is formed and pushed through a metal screw under high heat and pressure. This process requires at least 30% starch to bind the ingredients together.

Even worse are 'refined' grains, stripped of their bran and germ during milling. These grains are calorically dense but nutritionally void, offering no real value to our pets' diets.

In conclusion, carbs aren't the enemy, but it's vital to understand their types, sources, and implications on our pets' health. Make informed choices for your furry friend, and they'll thank you with wagging tails and loving licks!


Recent Posts

bottom of page