Carbohydrate-Based Dog Foods; A Source of Energy or Toxins??

Carbohydrate-Based Dog Foods; A Source of Energy or Toxins??

grainsCarbohydrate-based dog foods, are they a source of energy, or toxins for your dog? Is the 30 to 70% allowable carb ratio in commercial dog foods, which commonly includes wheat, corn, barley, rice, and oats, often contaminated with molds, ok with you? According to Dogs Naturally Magazine, these molds can easily grow and produce a very potent carcinogen (aflatoxins). The aflatoxins are very stable and high-temperature processing steps will not render them benign. Exposure to these toxins, even at low doses, can wreak havoc on your dog’s system, causing anemia, liver or kidney failure, cancer, and premature death.

Even if your dog’s food is “Grain-Free” it is not carb free, and can still be contaminated by mold spores. Aren’t dogs supposed to be carnivores? Do you think they would eat these carbs in the wild, and in these amounts? These are questions I have asked myself, and the answer is always NO!

Dogs Are Not Meant to Eat Carbs

If dogs are not meant to eat carbs, then why are commercial dog foods loaded with them? Simply because they are cheap fillers. It’s about profit, and not about what’s nutritionally appropriate. Although there are pet food companies that I believe are working hard to offer the best nutrition possible, they still have to keep their costs competitive in order to stay afloat.

“Dogs and cats are by nature carnivores. Kitties are obligate carnivores. Dogs are scavenging carnivores. These two carnivore species don’t even have a carbohydrate requirement. We are putting into their bodies a bunch of foods that are metabolically unnecessary, that are setting up the same degenerative processes that are occurring in human bodies,” Dr. Karen Becker, DVM

The Truth Behind Carbs for Dogs

We only know what we’ve been taught to believe by the pet food companies right? Is it all true, or is it all a bunch of marketing hype for profit? Out of curiosity, I started quietly lurking into my Facebook friends posts talking about how great the kibble was they were feeding, and that everyone should feed it to their dog. I started doing my own research into these foods ingredient lists and was appalled at what I had learned! These foods, considered superior and/or premium quality were nothing of the sort. They were FULL ofNo carbs carbs, which equals SUGAR! The pet food companies are not required to list sugar in their ingredient list, but trust me when I tell you it is there!

“Sugar, of course, causes an insulin release. Insulin then causes blood sugar to drop. Cortisol is then released to rebalance blood sugar. So dogs and cats are dealing with this whole cycle of carbohydrate ingestion, insulin release, and cortisol release. The metabolic syndrome that’s occurring in people – leptin resistance – is absolutely occurring in pets as well. We’re seeing diabetes in dogs and cats, most certainly, and obesity that leads to musculoskeletal issues and secondary organ degeneration. The whole cycle is occurring in pets.” Dr. Karen Becker, DVM

Why Do Veterinarians Encourage Commercially Processed Foods?

Veterinarians encourage what they believe to be a healthy, complete and balanced commercially processed diet by what they are taught in school. Unfortunately, the people teaching them are not nutritionists, but associates of pet food companies. This would definitely explain why a Vet would have you feed a grain dense, prescription diet over a species appropriate, whole food diet directed at your pet’s illness. As a matter of fact, they go as far as discouraging giving any type of human food at all, saying it is not good for them. Really??

Ok, so now’s the time to get educated! We ALL need to know that a diet full of carbs does NOT make up a healthy, species-appropriate, complete and balanced diet for our dogs. In fact, they don’t need carbs at all!

A Homemade Diet is Best –  If Done Right

I am a firm believer in Dr. Karen Becker’s education regarding a home-prepared diet for our dogs. She explains it in an easy to understand way, making it not so overwhelming. The key is that you don’t have to do it all at once. Start slow. Even if you switch out a raw-meattablespoon of kibble for a tablespoon of veggie puree, that’s something your dog didn’t have before, and it gets the ball rolling! There are many options available so you can offer fresh, home-prepared food to your dog.  There are even companies that will custom prepare it for your dog, and deliver it right to your door! Whatever works for you and your lifestyle, there is a solution! So don’t worry, and don’t give up, it’s easier than you think!

  • Start with a recipe that is approved, and/or created by an expert in dog nutrition. This is absolutely critical as feeding an unbalanced diet can have devastating consequences to the health of your pet. I can’t say enough about Dr. Karen Becker‘s book Real Food For Healthy Dogs and Cats where she has some VERY simple recipes to get you started!

Her book provides feeding plans and recipes for a meat-based diet, including appropriate levels of vegetables, fruits, and supplements.blueberries They are also nutritionally analyzed to ensure they are complete and balanced. These recipes are meant to nutritionally mimic what your dog might eat in the wild, using ingredients that are easy to source and prepare in the comfort of your own kitchen! And, you can serve these meals cooked or raw, whichever you are most comfortable with. The bottom line is, you have total control over what your dog is eating, therefore, you will start seeing some amazing benefits!

“Home cooking is the best thing you can do. Second best is to know the company you’re purchasing from really well so you’re able to discern that the ingredients it uses are U.S.-sourced, human-grade, preferably organic, and of course, species-appropriate – meaning, carbohydrate-free.

These are usually very small companies. The majority of commercially prepared pet foods I can truly wholeheartedly recommend are brands no one has ever heard of. You will never find them at the grocery store. You will not find them at big-box stores like Petco or any of the PetSmarts around.

spinach…Needless to say, you’ve got to really read the labels very, very well. My rule of thumb is this: when you read the label on a dog or cat food, if you can’t pronounce an ingredient or wonder what it is, if you’re not able to clearly discern exactly what it is, don’t put it in your pet’s mouth.” Dr. Karen Becker


In summary, we all need to pay very close attention to what we are feeding our dogs. If you choose to feed a dry kibble, make sure you know how to read the label, so you know exactly what your dog is eating. My page here on Understanding Dog Food Labels will help you know what to look for. Studies are proving that illnesses are at an all time high in our pets due to commercially processed, carbohydrate (starch) dense diets. To stop these illnesses in their tracks, you must change your pets diet! Remove ALL carbs (starch, fillers), chemicals, additives, drugs and poisons etc. from your dogs dish and watch them thrive!

As you can tell, I am quite passionate about feeding my dogs a healthy diet. I want them to be around for a long time, and it’s up to me to ensure they are getting the absolute best diet I can afford to feed them. There IS better health for our dogs outside of these commercially processed dog food bags!

You can get more information on these diets and how to get started on my pages below.

Homemade Dog Food

What is a Real Food Diet for Dogs

Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below. I would love to hear from you!

For the LOVE of dogs,

Marlaina 🙂

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