Why do pets need carbohydrates in their food?

Carbohydrates are a critical component of an animal’s diet. These are used by the body as energy sources and are mainly found in grains and starchy vegetables, such as potatoes. There are many opinions about whether dogs are carnivores and should be fed just meat, or if they are omnivores. Without weighing in on this topic, we know that dogs are capable of efficiently digesting carbohydrates and utilising them for energy production in the body, in much the same way humans do. Therefore, most store-bought products will contain carbohydrates as the major source of energy. Rice, maize meal and potatoes are all good sources of carbohydrates.

They must be easy to digest and not present in excess, which can lead to obesity. Foods that use the ‘whole prey’ approach will have lower levels of carbohydrates, relying in part on the protein being broken down for the production of energy. This is also an acceptable approach. However, you will find that even these foods contain some carbohydrates, as proteins cannot be adequately broken down to energy without some carbohydrates in the diet.

We must be wary of feeding our pets diets that are comprised solely of protein sources (such as minced meat, chicken meat or pet’s mince), as they may not be adequately balanced to provide your pet with the healthiest nutrition possible.

Dr Kathryn Knype, veterinarian

Do you have more pet questions, like this one, that you don’t know who to ask? Get the July 2022 edition of Animaltalk magazine, which is filled with frequently asked questions from our readers. Experts answered the questions, so you’ll know that the information is trustworthy. Get your copy now from retail stores, or order a copy from www.coolmags.co.za.

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