Did you know that dogs have a high acidic content across their digestion system (the pH level in a dog’s stomach is about 1, In humans, it’s more like 5–6)? Nature had them designed as carnivores, hence they can effectively deal with protein, fat and bone.
POOP FACT SPOILER (a bit grouse but so true ) Dogs are not designed to digest and metabolize carbohydrates or whole vegetables! This is why you will see seeds and grains expelled whole, in your dog’s faeces. Or if you feed a whole carrot, you’ll similarly witness chucks of that carrot turn up in their stools.
THIS is also the reason why carbohydrate and starch-heavy kibble results in copious amounts of poo — much of the kibble that enters a dog remains undigested and is expelled almost in the same state. As my little one says (and she is only 5!) “it comes out looking the same way it came in”
In humans, carbohydrate is (generally speaking) metabolised into glucose and is quickly absorbed for energy — and then stored as fat when not needed (there goes all my stress eating chocolate hips storage )
KNOW THE SCIENTIFIC FACT Dogs metabolize meat and fats for glucose, they don’t need carbs for this reason!
Keep in mind that CARBS are the quickest way for dogs to put on unnecessary weight (lol just like my chocolate addiction). Carbohydrates with a high glycaemic index also provoke an unnatural and over time, a dangerously high insulin response and often lead (just like in us humans) to a post-digestion lack of energy (think about that overwhelming feeling from all you can eat sushi buffet when you are SO STUFFED with rice you can bearly breath).
NOW A WORD ON FIBER
Dogs don’t need and shouldn’t have high carbohydrate foods, THEY DO NEED FIBER — just as humans do. Fibre is mostly indigestible and most types have no or little nutrient value but it does play an important role in the digestive process. The presence and type of fibre in the digestive tract determine how fast food passes (ever heard of saying eat some celery to stop the runs and get hydrated?). Depending on the type of fibre, it can either speed up the process or slow it down.
The role of fibre in diet can get a little complex but in essence its important that dogs get some fibre. The best option is to mimic the fibre a dog might find in the wild from eating prey animals — say, a little grain and partially digested vegetable matter from stomach contents. But nature has something even better designed for the dogs! - Fur, bone, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments all act like fibre in the dog’s intestines. Plus they supply needed calcium, chondroitin, collagen and glucosamine!
So here comes the big question: How can you intridece the needed fiber in your dog’s diet? Well its quite simple choose foods that already have it or simply add a few spoons of veggie pure and/or need animal organs and parts listed above (we'll chat about the offal - the organ part of the butchered meat, next time). Even adding a spoon of unprocessed oatmeals is good. Regardless of how we provide a dog with fibre, it's important not to over do it — as most kibble diets do. Too much fibre and you’ll be left picking up copious amounts of large poos; and your dog won’t be getting the nutrients they need.
ITS A SCIENTIFIC FACT Did you know that dog’s digestion fundamentally happens in the stomach and their small intestine, as it does for us (although we start our digestion in the mouth by starting to break up the starchy foods with saliva but keep reading I'll elaborate on it a bit more next). Dogs hold their food in their stomachs for a lot longer than we do. That’s why they feel ‘full’ for longer! Once their food is broken down, the nutrient contents are extracted in the lower intestine and passed into the blood. But do keep in mind that this, together with the larger intestine, is only about 5% the length of ours.
Going back to the wisdom of my five-year-old “what comes in should come out” In a dog’s world food passes through very quickly. There isn’t enough time for digesting and metabolizing much of any vegetable matter (unless it is already in semi-liquid form like pureed or juiced). This nature intended feature of the short intestinal tract is also an added protective feature to prevent bacteria from your dog’ food (think decomposing rabbit or bird; or next door’s cat’s poo buried in your garden or how about these tasty food scrupsnin the garbage bin you forgot to store under the sink anfter cooking) from entering their bloodstream.
Another interesting thing that I want to mention is a dog’s inability to break down carbohydrates in the forms of corn, wheat and other grains (including rice, especially white rice). I bet you are surprised here as 9/10 vets will tell you to add rice to your dog’s diet for helping out with poop consistency and/or diarrhea), is that dogs DONT POSSESS THE AMYLASE ENZYME in their saliva or stomach juices as we do (remember our human digestion starts in the mouth). Amylase is required to break down the starches in carbohydrates and us humans, that process it by nature’s intention start in the mouth. Not so for dogs. Instead of the amylase enzyme dogs have SALIVARY LYSOZYME which is important for killing bacteria in food.
FUN SCIENTIFIC FACT This is the very reason why we tend to get tooth diseases such as cavities from the sugars resulting in carb metabolism; yet dogs get gum disease from the starches in carbs that tend to stick to their teeth, causing plaque and tartar build-up along the gum line.
So you got to this far reading! I am impressed please leave a comment or like for my post if you like my raw food blurbs it incorages me to write more for you
Well, I bet at this point you might be wondering why, if carbohydrate is unnecessary for dogs, so many brands of kibble contain so much of it, many with well over 40% carbs. There are two reasons why kibble is often carbohydrate-based. First, carbs are cheap (corn, wheat, oats, soy and rice). Second, they are used to prevent the extrusion processes (extreme heat and extreme pressure) disintegrating the kibble biscuit in its making. The starchy stuff is what keeps a kibble biscuit together.
The last OFF NOTE My final thought to capture here, is that grain-free doesn’t always mean carbohydrate-free. Its not grains that are problematic for dogs, it is carbohydrate. This means SO-CALLED GRAIN FREE KIBBLE IS MISLEADING, especially when it's still rich in carbohydrates.
The photo used is a credit to all-mighty google