“Are Potatoes Good For Dogs?” Why You Should Avoid Feeding Dogs Carbs
No owner wants his dog to eat something that could harm it, especially in the case of protection dogs used to defend a home. However, the advice on what to feed dogs has reached a saturation point due to the prevalence of advice from dog food vendors. Of course these companies will tell you their food has everything your dog needs, you have money.
The reality is there are several reasons to avoid feeding your dog starches.
- Mycotoxins. These are toxins produced by fungal or mold development, contaminating crops before the harvest or after storage. Many food crops, like grains, peanuts and sunflower seeds can foster mycotoxins.One of the most prolific of mycotoxins would be the carcinogenic “aflatoxin.” A nine-year planetary study revealed that three-quarters of all animal-food-grade grains and grain byproducts had been contaminated by mycotoxins. A separate study indicated that half of the top 48 commercial dry foods had at least five strains of mycotoxin, with no distinction between bargain-priced or premium-valued food. Even the best protection dog can succumb to the rigors of aflatoxins, which strike at vital organs and compromise the immune system. The rigors of exposure to mycotoxins grow over time, building up within the dog’s body.Even though many pet food providers test for mycotoxins and seek certification as proof, this testing does not account for the combinatorial explosion of multiple strains. Frustratingly, grains contain multiple strains of mycotoxin that can feed off each other, amplifying their individual toxicities.
- Antinutrients. These are natural or synthetic substances that inhibit digestion and nutritional absorption. These are extremely common in grains, beans and so on.
- Phytic Acid aka “Phytate” binds to minerals sufficiently enough to deprive your dog of four-fifths of the listed nutritional content.
- Lectins are prevalent within legumes and grains. However, they not only inhibit nutritional absorption but also negatively influence the intestinal ecosystem.
- Gluten contributes to canine AIDS and “leaky gut syndrome.”
- Tannins irritate the GI tract.
- Oxalates foster kidney stones.
- Glycemic Load. Glycemic load is an assessment of the time needed to elevate blood sugar. While a low-starch, low-carb is perfectly acceptable, a diet rich in these aspects, when most dry foods are 30-60% carbs, can lead to an obese, pre-diabetic canine. Insulin is a unique and necessary hormone that taxis sugar between the blood and cells. While this means that your best protection dog has one means of fueling his cells, his body contains several hormones that elevate blood sugar.A dog’s body is better able to raise blood sugar when carbs are few and far between; if the body has a regular reservoir of carbs, the insulin gets “lazy” and its effectiveness inhibited. A dog’s body breaks carbohydrates down into cell-powering glucose, which then his insulin to grab the new sugars and transport them where they are needed; this is the basis for “glycemic load.”Carbs are the only food group that can spike glucose and insulin secretion. Carbs are bad because a long-term habit of spiking causes the body to compensate. This compensation takes its toll on the metabolism, overworking the pancreas into producing additional insulin to combat the body’s growing resistance to that hormone.
As if diabetes were not enough of a deterrent to a high-starch diet for protection dogs, insulin resistance also contributes to thyroid disease and cancer. Since insulin is tasked with storing fat, dogs that eat lots of carbs tend to be fat and have trouble working it off.
Other Hazards of Carbohydrate-Rich Diets
There are five major reasons why you should minimize canine carbohydrate consumption:
- They are the preferred fuel for malevolent bacteria and cancer cells.
- Carbs are incomplete protein sources.
- Many carbs are GMOs that can agitate gut flora, negatively affecting digestion.
- Cereal crops are routinely treated with insecticides that carry the same risks as GMOs.
- Dogs do not need carbs to live, only fats and proteins.
If you care more about your dog’s health bills than his food costs, there are several things that can be done.
A Raw Diet
Plants are fine as long as they are free of phytic acid, have a low glycemic load and can be nutritionally fortified. The absence of peas, tubers and cereals is why most dogs respond to them so well.
Cooking for your dog ensures he gets fresh, unprocessed food. Make sure that your meal plan contains less than 10% carbohydrates; favor protein and fat.
This term should not be confused with “grain-free” as the latter incorporates potatoes and peas. Low-starch dog food is anything that contains less than 15% carbohydrates; unfortunately, this percentage is usually omitted from packaging, necessitating some basic math to figure out.
- When buying food, look for a “Guaranteed Analysis” on the packaging. This is an assessment of the minimum guaranteed nutrients within the food.
- Add up the protein, fat, moisture and ash percentages. If ash isn’t listed, go with 7% for kibble and 2% for cans; ash content tends to fall somewhere within 5%-8% in dry food.
- Subtract the total from 100 and you have the food’s carbohydrate content. Example: One brand of kibble contains 23% protein, 12% fat, 10% moisture and 6% ash for a whopping 48% carbohydrates.
The worst thing you can do for your protection dog’s problematic diet is nothing; you’ll have a lifetime of confusion and misunderstandings as to why your dog develops his health problems. If all you can manage is kibble, try adding an egg or some meat to the bowl-at the very least, you are helping to diminish glycemic load and patch some nutritional gaps. Do not let companies dictate your food purchases; none of them favor canine health over profitability. While quality food costs quality money, you can hopefully see why a good diet contributes to a long-serving protection dog.