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SHOULD WORKING DOGS EAT CARBOHYDRATES?
BY THE HUNTERS NATURAL NUTRITION TEAM
WHY WORKING DOGS SHOULD EAT CARBOHYDRATES
It’s likely you’ve heard someone at some point talk about how useless carbohydrates are in the working dogs diet – but this is completely false. A common misconception is that dogs cannot digest carbohydrates, but in fact, dogs have a well evolved digestive system that is very much ready and waiting to digest carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are a beneficial addition to any dogs diet and as nutritionists, we refer to them as a ‘functional’ food as they contribute to a well balanced diet.
Carbohydrates form the primary source of energy for cells and are made up of simple or complex carbohydrates depending on their structure. Take glucose as an example. Many people view glucose as a sugar when in fact, it is actually a type of simple carbohydrate. It’s very easy to label carbohydrates as useless when in fact, what they actually do is provide you dog with numerous benefits. Fibre is a good example of this. Fibre is an important prebiotic that helps support healthy gastrointestinal functioning, and they come from the carbohydrates found in complete feeds. So as you can see, whilst there is some truth in dogs having a limited requirement for specific carbohydrates in their diet, carbohydrates as a whole contribute to the reason why feeds such as our Field Performance Chicken deliver a complete and balanced diet.
HOW DO DOGS DIGEST CARBOHYDRATES?
Enzymes are what break down our foods. In us humans and most other mammals, our body begins to digest carbohydrates from the moment they enter our mouth. This all happens because of a smart enzyme called ‘amylase’. In dogs however, amylase is not produced in the mouth. This may be the reason why so many people think dogs cannot digest carbohydrates, when in fact their digestive system simply works differently to ours. In dogs, the digestion of carbohydrates begins in the ‘duodenum’ instead, where an enzyme called (you guessed it) amylase begins to break them down. Amylase works to break down these carbohydrates and convert them into the many different types of simple carbohydrates such as ‘glucose’ and ‘maltose’. As digestion continues, these now simple carbohydrates are broken further down until a point comes where they can be absorbed and utilised by your dog – the same as in humans.
…CARBOHYDRATES BRING MUCH VALUED NUTRITION TO A WORKING DOGS DIET INCLUDING ENERGY FOR PERFORMANCE & DIETARY FIBRE FOR HEALTHY GASTROINTESTINAL FUNCTIONING
BUT CAN DOGS EAT CARBOHYDRATES?
Absolutely and we believe they should. As we’ve already mentioned, not all dogs have a specific dietary requirement for carbohydrates, but collectively they provide essential nutrition that support your dogs overall health and normal functioning – where else would your dog get the fibre he needs? Carbohydrates and the working dog is a good match. They provide your dog with numerous benefits, some of which we have already mentioned. It’s important to remember however that dogs, just like us will benefit from a balanced diet. This is why it’s so important to not just feed your dog a kibble that contains more carbohydrates than meat. Take the time to check your dogs feed and understand what it is your exactly feeding him. Look at our Field Performance Chicken. Over half of the bag (55%) is just pure meat, with the remaining 45% being made up of essential vegetables, botancials and of course, much needed carbohydrates, which in this feed is provided by sweet potato – a high source of valued fibre and vitamins B6 and A
NEED ADVICE ABOUT YOUR DOG EATING CARBOHYDRATES?
Have a question about dogs eating carbohydrates? Along with this question and any others you may have, we offer free nutritional advice online. To get advice, simply complete our nutrition advice request form online and our team will respond with advice and recommendations tailored to your dog.
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