Grubby Paws - For Your Pets Healthy Eating

Carbohydrates - As Few As Possible

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Carbohydrates are usually the first source of energy available to the body. Proteins and fats also provide energy but carbohydrates are called upon first.

According to the NRC guidelines, “Carbohydrates provide an economical source of energy in the diet of dogs.”

Carbohydrates are divided into two broad groups:

  1. SIMPLE CARBOHYDRATES or sugars, and


Simple carbohydrates are made up of single sugars, or two sugars joined together and are found in grains such as corn, wheat and rice.

  • Simple sugars are quickly absorbed into the blood stream, causing a rapid rise in blood sugar levels.
  • This rapid rise causes the body to produce a sharp rise in insulin levels and results in the sugars being converted into fat.
  • The rapid rise in blood sugar levels is usually followed by a rapid drop, leading to feelings of hunger and weakness.


Complex carbohydrates have more than two units of sugar joined together and are found in potatoes, beans, as well as many other vegetables and fruits.

  • Complex carbohydrates can take a long time to break down in the stomach or pass through undigested, creating voluminous stool.


Dogs and cats have no nutritional need for carbohydrates and are evolved to use protein and fat as energy sources.

  • The natural diet contains almost no carbohydrate at all, and the small predigested grains, fruits & vegetables in the stomach of a prey animal make up a very small fraction of the total diet.
  • Today‘s high carbohydrate pet foods lead to blood sugar fluctuations, insulin resistance, and are widely considered as a leading cause of obesity, diabetes and a host of other health problems in cats and dogs.
  • Conventional dry dog foods have a very high carbohydrate content, with most foods exceeding 40-50% in total carbohydrate content.
  • Almost half of typical dry dog foods is non-essential, simple sugars! This important fact is often lost on consumers as pet food makers are not required to claim carbohydrate content on their packages.
  • Carbohydrate intake above the daily needs of the dog (which regularly occurs with conventional pet foods) prompts internal enzyme factors to store the extra carbohydrate as body fat.
  • The Association of American Feed Control Officials‘ (AAFCO) nutrient profiles show that carbohydrates are not essential for dogs and cats, and that no minimum level of carbohydrate is needed in their diets.
  • According to Dr. David S. Kronfeld, carbohydrates need not be supplied to adult dogs, even those working hard as the liver is easily able to synthesize sufficient glucose (from protein and fats).
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