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Dogs Digestion Of Grains And Its Usefulness

Are High Carbohydrate Diets (Kibble And Semi Dry Food) Good For My Dog?
 
My training and degree in Biochemistry is probably why I’m interested in the physiology of Carbohydrate digestion.  I am continually fascinated by  how an animal that is continually fed a high refined carbohydrate diet can adapt to this type of feeding protocol.  Cereal grains are the chief ingredient in most dry and semi-moist pet foods.  There are taste differences between oats, corn, wheat, barley, rice and rye, but these ingredients are all used primarily for their carbohydrate content.  If you feed an un-cooked whole grain to carnivores they will pass through the digestive tract unchanged and thus no nutritional value is achieved.  Milling and cooking the grains breaks down the cellular structure and renders the starches more bio-available.  On the surface this seems to make sense in order to produce  a cheap source of food for the pets but in fact it serves to potentially store up trouble.  Dogs and cats have very little need for carbohydrates as a source of energy.  The real problem develops when the species produces low levels of digestive enzymes to deal with the high starch content.  Therefore, undigested food arrives in the bowel providing nutrients for large populations of bacteria (gas develops as a result).  There are other problems that develop as well.  The grains contain low levels of protein.  They are further degraded by cooking making them as high as 50% unavailable for nutrient utilization.  The result combines proteins with starch to form indigestible polymers like caramel that are a nice brown color, have a high palatability, but are otherwise useless.  Understanding this concept is the beginning of understanding our philosophy on the consumption of raw foods.  Raw foods are what the species is designed to eat and in contrast will totally eliminate the problems that are associated with feeding grains.

posted by Rob Mueller

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