Can Your Dog Survive on a Starch-Rich Diet?

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It is believed that the modern domesticated dogs evolved from wolves about 11,000 years ago. The evolution involved better adaptation of starch digestion. Genetic changes came into play for this to happen. Dogs nowadays can digest a wider variety of foods. Carbohydrates, in reasonable amounts, are good for dogs. However, in excess, can cause obesity and high blood sugar levels. It can also lead to a number of digestive problems as well. Your dog should be given a wholesome meal consisting of minerals, vitamins, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

The science behind a dog’s ability to digest starch

The enzyme amylase helps to break down carbohydrates. It is produced in the saliva. The carbohydrates are broken down before they reach the stomach. Amylase is abundant in omnivores and herbivores, however, not in carnivores. (Starch is plant-based). Dogs are considered carnivores, this is affirmed by biology. This basically means that dogs cannot produce the enzyme amylase in their saliva. However, thanks to evolution, it is produced in their digestive system and added to the small intestine and in the pancreas. This helps dogs to digest starch.

All about carbs

Carbs can provide energy to your dog. (The carbs are broken down into glucose molecules in the small intestine. For the majority of the body cells, glucose is the primary energy source. Glucose is also required for the normal functioning of the nervous system and the brain. The stored glucose in the body is released in the form of glycogen). If your dog is very active, you can involve a moderate amount of carb in his/her diet. However, if your dog is not very active, then it is better not to include starch in his/her diet. The stored glucose can turn into fatty deposits, and this can make your dog obese.

Carbs can provide texture and structure to the dry kibble, which makes it easy to eat, as well as make it shelf stable. Starchy carbohydrates can keep your dog from being hungry for a long time. It also helps to abrade the teeth surface and thus prevent tartar build-up. The beneficial fiber present in the carbs can keep your dog full. It can help with weight loss and prevent obesity. Even though dogs do not require carbohydrates, including them in your dog’s diet in moderation can be helpful. According to Dr. Susan G. Wynn, grains contain certain fibers that help with the growth of probiotic bacteria in the gut, which is good for your dog. They also contain various essential minerals and vitamins.

Common carbohydrate sources such as barley, oats, potato, whole wheat/corn, and so on will usually be listed on the dog food bag.

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