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Role of Carbohydrates in a Dog's Diet

Snehal Motkar May 12, 2019
Do you want to know the importance of carbohydrates in your pet dog's diet. Here's some information about the functions that carbohydrates perform in a dog's body.

Doggy Tip

If your pup is on a low-carb diet due to some health problems, ensure not to cut down completely on carbs, as it can make your dog lethargic and dull.
Before moving on to the role of carbs in a dog's diet, it is important to understand the need of carbohydrates for canines. It is believed that dogs need zero carbohydrates for their survival. Surprised? So, if your canine friend does not need carbs, then why do all commercial dog foods contain high amounts of carbohydrates?
The answer to this is pretty simple and logical. Firstly, even though carbs are not the most important component in a dog's diet, they aren't bad, in reasonable amounts, for consumption either. Secondly, dog food companies find carbohydrates abundant, durable and cheaper components to be added to the food, which makes the kibble-making process a lot easier.
Some people think that carbs are responsible for hair loss in their pet dog, but that's not always the case. Hair loss in dogs may occur if they are allergic to certain food items, like white rice, corn grain, etc.
Though not an essential food component, carbohydrates do perform certain vital functions in the dog's body, and hence, carbs are good for dogs. Carbohydrates play the important role of promoting metabolism, which contributes to the well-being of the pet. They also ease bowel movements in a dog suffering from constipation.
Carbohydrates are made of sugars, starches and fiber (cellulose) and are supplied through plant sources like grains and vegetables. The sugars from carbohydrates are easily digestible, but the starches need to be cooked for easy digestion and utilization. Though the fiber is extremely difficult for the digestive system of the canine, it has certain benefits.

Functions of Carbohydrates in a Dog's Body

Contributes to Energy Production

The primary function of carbs is to provide enough energy to your pup. Although there are proteins in dog food that are converted into glucose for energy production, it may not be sufficient for puppies and dogs that are lactating, pregnant or severely ill. There may be a need of additional energy in the given phases as compared to an adult active dog.
The energy produced with the help of carbs can be stored and utilized even before the proteins are converted into energy. When there are enough carbs for energy production, the proteins are spared from getting converted to glucose, and perform other vital functions in the body of the dog.
However, when there are no carbs present, proteins are converted to energy and fulfill the body's energy needs, which makes them unavailable for the important task of building the lean body tissues.

Provides Essential Fibers

Fiber is an extremely important component of a canine diet, which performs many roles in the dog's body. Soluble and insoluble fibers ease the passage of food through the gastrointestinal tract. Soluble fibers (prebiotics) are used by the good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract to produce fatty acids.
These fatty acids promote the growth of additional good bacteria, which then become more efficient in getting rid of the bad or disease-causing bacteria.
Dietary fibers promote the health of the gastrointestinal tract by collecting dead cells that are accumulated in the lumen of the gastrointestinal tract. The fibers also make your dog feel full and prevents the possibility of obesity.

Sources of Carbohydrates

❖ Whole corn
❖ Brown rice
❖ White rice
❖ Whole wheat
❖ Barley
❖ Oats
❖ Sweet potatoes
❖ Pasta
❖ Chickpeas
❖ Cereal food
❖ Grain by-products
Although carbohydrates perform the certain important functions mentioned here, it is important to give them in moderation to your adorable pup. While excessive intake of carbohydrates can make your dog obese, an insufficient amount can make it inactive, lazy, and even cause whelping problems.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only and does not, in any way, intend to replace the advice of a veterinarian.