What You Need to Know About Carbohydrates in Your Dog’s Diet 

As pet parents, you understand that your dog’s health matters. When it comes to their longevity, fetching them the right foods is essential to more years of life and fun together, so it’s important to know the driving ingredients in a healthy dog diet. Proteins and fats often are in the spotlight when breaking down dog foods, but did you know carbohydrates are also a key factor?  

We want to contribute to a world where healthier pets and people live longer together and believe making educated decisions about your dog’s diet and nutritional needs will ensure your dog more time by your side. An important factor in your dog’s nutrition is the role that carbohydrates play in your pup’s diet, the various sources of carbohydrates for dogs, and the important considerations to keep in mind for your canine companion.

bearcarson pets wellness diet
It’s important to pay attention to the amount, and type of, carbs in your dog’s diet. 

The role of carbs for dogs and their importance in canine nutrition 

Along with proteins and fats, carbohydrates in your dog’s diet serve as macronutrients, and can be a valuable energy source for them. Carbohydrates provide glucose, which helps fuel bodily functions and support all physical activities from chasing squirrels to jumping up on the couch. However, dog parents should understand that their pups are primarily carnivorous, meaning that they are mainly meat-eaters. Because of this, most dogs do not need to consume large amounts of carbohydrates to get energy from their diets as long as they are receiving a healthy diet with a proper amount of well-sourced animal protein.

bearcarson role of carbs
Dogs are primarily carnivorous and don’t need to consume large amounts of carbohydrates.

Where carbs come from matters 

Carbohydrates can come in three forms in your dog’s food: sugars, starches and fiber. It’s important to know the differences between them to make sure you’re not barking up the wrong tree with your dog’s diet.

  • Sugars: Sugars are simple carbohydrates, such as glucose, fructose and sucrose. Dogs can make glucose from protein, so adding sugar into their diets may not be necessary. 
  • Starches: Starches are complex carbohydrates that turn into sugar in the digestive system to use as energy. For example, cereal and corn can be considered starches. 
  • Fiber: Just like humans, dogs cannot break down most fiber, but it serves a key role in maintaining a healthy gut. Examples of fiber include whole grains and many vegetables.

It’s worth noting that plant-based carbohydrates contain different amounts of sugar and different types of fiber. Your dog needs “good carbs” that are low-glycemic and fiber-rich to keep them nourished. These types of carbohydrates can keep your dog’s belly feeling fuller for longer and help control blood sugar levels.

bearcarson carbs matter
Try to feed your dog low-glycemic, fiber-rich “good carbs” that nourish their gut and immune system. 

Consider carbs carefully 

While carbohydrates help provide energy, you should be mindful of how much your dog consumes. Large carbohydrate intake can lead to obesity and diabetes which negatively impacts longevity. Unfortunately, many dog food products — even ones labeled “complete and balanced” or “best dog food” — contain excessive amounts of carbohydrates, including insulin-raising starches that do not contribute to your pup’s health. 

It’s important to keep track of the amount of carbohydrates your dog is eating daily and think about lowering that amount as carbs should be consumed in moderation. Before considering a low-carb lifestyle for your dog, consult your veterinarian to determine your dog’s specific nutritional needs.

Understanding your dog’s carbohydrate intake is vital for their wellness. A nutritious diet, including appropriate levels of carbohydrates, will help your dog enjoy a long life by your side. 

bearcarson dog diet carbs
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