High quality nutrition is paramount to a healthy fit dog, especially one that works. The carbohydrate debate is a controversial one in the performance dog arena. Therefore we decided to do some research and present some facts.
According to the National Research Council and compared to the other two major nutrients — protein and fat — no carbs are considered essential for a healthy canine diet. Dogs don’t need corn, wheat, barley rice or potatoes, either. Yet surprisingly, carbs represent the dominant nutrient found in most dry dog foods.
Most dog feeds are too high in carbs: Carbohydrates are used in abundance in most dog feeds for many reasons, but primarily they are included because they are a relatively inexpensive source of energy and can help to keep the price of dog food more affordable. Carbs are not inherently bad, but they should make up 1/3 or less of the daily calories for most normally healthy pets.
Low carb feed is recommended for the average dog. Carbohydrates aren’t bad for dogs; in reasonable amounts, they can actually provide a practical source of energy. However, the issue lies in their quantity. Using a dogs ancestral diet as a model, the total amount of carbs consumed by a dog’s evolutionary predecessor is significantly less than what’s become the norm for today’s kibbles. One sensible source estimates natural carbohydrate consumption for a dog’s ancestors at around 14 percent of their total diet. Yet on average, today’s dry dog foods contain somewhere between 46 and 74 percent carbohydrate!
A low to moderate carb feed is recommended for elite performance dogs such as greyhounds. Dr Ben Holding a greyhound nutrition adviser recommends a 25% Protein / 40% Fats / 35% carbohydrate based diet for elite performance dogs such as greyhounds.
What’s your take on Carbohydrates?
1) Lindblad-Toh K, Wade CM, Mikkelsen TS, et al, “Genome sequence, comparative analysis and haplotype structure of the domestic dog”, December 2005, Nature 438 (7069): 803–19
2) Brown S., Taylor B., “See Spot Live Longer”, 2007 Creekobear Press, Eugene, OR USA, pp 51-61
National Research Council, National Academy of Science, “Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats”, 2006 Edition, National Academies Press, Washington, DC, p 317
Keep them FIT,