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Carbohydrates are organic compounds that consist of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. The basic subunits of carbohydrates are simple sugars. Carbs are either simple (monosaccharides) or complex (disaccharides and polysaccharides). Simple carbs come from starches and sugars and they are a source of immediate energy, being quickly converted to glucose. Complex carbohydrates are stored as glycogen and come from whole grains, fruits and vegetables that contain fiber and take longer to break down.The most important simple sugar is glucose which is also the primary form of carbohydrate which circulates in the blood and is utilized by the body cells for energy.
Carbohydrates have many roles and serve as a source of dietary fiber. They maintain the health of the thyroid, liver, heart, brain and nerve tissue. The process of breaking down and utilizing starch and fats is regulated by carbs. After digestion carbs are stored in the liver in the form of glycogen which controls the energy balance. A proper functioning of the brain and of the nervous system requires carbohydrates. The brain depends on the glucose from the blood. A diet low on carbs might lead to cardiac symptoms and angina. Instead of carbs, proteins and fats will be converted to energy which will weaken the immune system. Shedding and poor hair growth are symptoms of carbohydrate deficiency.
However, a diet based on carbohydrates is bad as well. Carbohydrates are usually unfavorable to dogs, the only exception being the form of lactose found in the milk of a lactating bitch for her puppies and the glucose that is necessary for a proper functioning of the nervous system. Excessive amounts of carbohydrates are metabolized into fats, which can be the main cause of obesity. This is why large amounts of carbohydrates are not desirable in a dog’s diet.
You should take into the consideration that carbohydrates are among the elements that make human diets utterly different from dog diets. Respecting the rules of dog nutrition is very important when it comes to feeding your dog carbohydrates. Try to keep in mind that unlike humans, dogs are unable to store dietary carbohydrates for later conversion into energy. Dogs turn carbohydrates, no matter the source, into instant energy and none is stored for later use. Also, humans are able to assimilate sugars, whereas dogs aren’t.
Corn, rice, wheat, sorghum, millet, barley and oats are the most common sources of carbohydrates. Dog food companies use grains and grain byproducts as the main ingredient in the dog food. They are cheap, but unfortunately can’t replace the proteins and they usually have bad effects on dogs.
It is believed that carbohydrates affect dogs according to their breed. Some breeds can assimilate carbohydrates whereas some can’t and this relates mainly to the native environment of the breed. For instance, dogs from Ireland might be familiar with potatoes while dogs from China might be more accustomed to rice.
To conclude, carbs are important in proper amounts. They provide the necessary energy and help your dog have a healthy life. Avoid feeding to many carbs as it can lead to obesity.
Dog Training Tip #1