Unlike humans, dogs do not commonly develop heart disease or other vascular diseases from excess fat intake.
Fat tastes great to dogs and helps to make meals feel more satisfying. However the importance of fat goes beyond its palatability. Fat is an essential nutrient in dog diets. Dogs need fat for coat health, brain function, reproduction, kidney function, absorption of fat soluble vitamins and other important bodily functions. Because of the popularity of low fat diets for humans, many dog owners wrongly believe that they need to eliminate fat from their dogs’ diets. This, however, is not the case. Unlike humans, dogs do not commonly develop heart disease or other vascular diseases from excess fat intake. Moreover, dogs unnecessarily fed very low fat diets can develop itchy, flaky skin, become lethargic and dull and have digestive problems.
Since obesity is an epidemic among sedentary house pets, owners need to be careful not to feed high fat diets to their dogs.
Like very low fat diets, extremely high fat diets hold peril for the majority of canines. This is because fat contains more than twice as many calories as protein or carbohydrates. Since obesity is an epidemic among sedentary house pets, owners need to be careful not to feed high fat diets to their dogs. Even relatively small amounts of these foods contain too many calories for the average dog. Most dogs do best on moderate fat diets. Puppies, high performance dogs, lactating animals and underweight pets, however, may need diets higher in fat and calories than average house pets. Additionally, obese dogs or dogs with health conditions such as pancreatitis might require special low fat diets.
Carbohydrates provide quick fuel in the canine diet. They are readily broken down by a dog’s digestive system into glucose, the main source of energy for all cells in the body. They also provide essential nutrients and fiber. For this reason, most good canine diets include a moderate amount of excellent quality carbohydrates. Some common carbohydrates in dog foods include wheat, corn, millet, rice, oats, sorghum and barley. As long as these ingredients are fed in small amounts and are not used as cheap protein sources, they can be healthy and beneficial for most dogs.
…dogs on high carb diets are more likely to suffer from gas, bloating and diarrhea.
Although carbohydrates have their place in a balanced canine diet, high carbohydrate diets are less than ideal for most dogs. Dogs eating diets high in carbohydrates may be more prone to obesity than dogs fed moderate or low carb diets. Additionally, dogs on high carb diets are more likely to suffer from gas, bloating and diarrhea. Fortunately, dogs do not need to rely solely on carbohydrates to meet their energy needs. They can also efficiently convert dietary protein into the glucose their cells need for fuel.