One (of many) things we pride ourselves on here at Healthy Everyday Pets is our point of difference in our low-carbohydrate formulas. Like us humans, our pets need to have their diets carefully considered in making sure their needs are being met.
When selecting your pet’s food, whether it be your dog or cat, having an understanding of what nutrients they need to not only survive but to flourish and live a healthier, longer life is crucial. Insider knowledge or not, the fact of the matter is: the Pet Food industry is unregulated. Meaning the quality of the products being made is murky water in terms of transparency. Lucky for us, we’re uber passionate, transparent and work with one of Australia’s leading Animal Nutritionists, who has over 30 year’s experience in the Pet Food industry. In saying this, we work on the notion that food is medicine and our recipes are a reflection of this.
So, what’s the deal with carbohydrates? Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients that provide the body energy and help it function. Followed by Fat and Protein, which are the two other energy-providing macronutrients. To understand the structure of carbohydrates we must first note that carbohydrates are molecules made from just three elements: carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. The smallest and simplest form of carbohydrates are sugars, known as Monosaccharides (e.g. glucose) and disaccharides (e.g. sucrose). Other carbohydrate molecules, known as complex carbohydrates, are much larger and include polysaccharides such as starch and dietary fibre (including prebiotics).
For dogs, it is argued small amounts of carbohydrates are needed in their daily diet as they provide energy in the form of glucose and are the main source of dietary fibre. Without any carbohydrates, the body will take amino acids away from other processes in the body. Dr Karen Becker, a well-known veterinarian states that studies conducted with wild dogs and cats found that dogs normally consume about 10% carbs and go safely go up to 25%. Whilst for cats, they can consume roughly 5-7%. Becker notes that while energy contribution from carbs is low, compared to fats, that carb sources (vegetables and fruits) also provide natural antioxidants, vitamins, phytonutrients such as prebiotics, and fibre both soluble and insoluble. Therefore, low to moderate amounts of carbs can contribute to a healthy gut and in turn a healthy diet.
During the early life stages, simple carbohydrates are absorbed from the small intestine and converted into glucose with little to no digestive breakdown. However, senior dogs and cats can be quite intolerant to lactose and have limited capacity to digest raw sugar as they slowly lose the beta-lactamase enzyme after weaning.
Complex carbohydrates are subcategorised into starches and fibres which provide slow-release energy. Complex carbs can be found in fruit and whole-plant vegetables such as quinoa, barley, potatoes and sweet potatoes. By including these kinds of carbohydrates into the diet, enzyme production is encouraged. Fibre also increases diet bulk promoting satiety (an issue in many of our obese and overweight pets) and also maintains a normal transit time for food to move through the gut. This is one of the proposed reasons many cats and dogs will eat small amounts of grass, possibly as an extra source of dietary fibre.
Feeding your pets, be it dog or cat, a diet that is high in carbohydrates, has been found to lead to obesity, joint problems, poor organ function, gut problems, low energy, skin issues etc. Ultimately, this could mean, a shorter life span for your four-legged friends. Making the transition to a low-carbohydrate diet is made easy with Healthy Everyday Pets. We offer a range of dog and cat food which is low in carbohydrates, high in protein and low in sugar. Our recipes include a specific digestive enzyme blend to further supplement the dog and cat’s natural enzymes and to provide dietary assistance with HEP’s already low source of carbohydrates.