- aka - why I do not feed (much) vegetables/fruits or grains:
Dogs do not have an essential requirement for carbohydrates. In their natural habitat, dogs consume prey that is high in protein with moderate amounts of fat and minimal amounts of carbohydrate (1-2%) are utilized in the diet (soluble or insoluble fiber). Although dogs can use carbohydrates as a source of energy, the limitations of substituting animal-origin nutrients with plant-origin nutrients in dog foods are being increasingly realized. Recent research has shown that high-carbohydrate diets are responsible for many cases of canine diabetes. In fact, not only diabetes but many serious health problems in dogs have a dietary factor. Some are caused by diet, and all are affected by it. Diet-related diseases include: obesity, chronic vomiting, pancreatitis, arthritis, heart disease, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, urinary tract disease, hyperthyroidism, skin and coat problems and cancer.
Dogs lack salivary amylase, the enzyme responsible for initiating carbohydrate digestion. Many pet owners and pet food manufacturers insist on adding vegetables or grains to a dog's diet claiming that they would eat them along with the stomach and intestines of their prey. However, this does not take into account that the amount of vegetable matter in small prey is small and more often than not, the stomach and the intestines are not eaten from large herbivorous prey.
Dogs do have a metabolic requirement for glucose. This requirement can be supplied either through endogenous synthesis (endogenous synthesis refers to the synthesis of a compound by the body) of glucose or from carbohydrate food sources. Metabolic pathways in the liver and kidney use other nutrients to produce glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis. This glucose is then released into the bloodstream to be carried to the body’s tissues. The dog can maintain normal blood glucose levels and health even when fed a carbohydrate-free diet.
- Dr. Corinne Chapman, www.carnivora.ca