One Potato, two potato, three potato, four! How many Spuds are in your dog’s food?
For Prudence wearing a potato on her head highlights why this is better for a dog than eating one!
Since qualifying as a Canine Nutritionist over a decade ago, it astounds me that pet parents are still drawn into glossy brand packaging, rather than reading the labelled ingredients in dog’s food and making informed choices.
With mixed messages about what dogs need to eat to thrive, yet science concurs that dogs are physiologically and biologically designed as carnivores - needing to eat meat.
More and more processed dog foods are containing potatoes and sweet potatoes as cheap fillers, and low-grade protein sources. It allows pet food manufacturers to claim their food is grain free. Billed as healthier, but ‘grain free kibble could be packing in even more carbs!
Use the percentage totals of the ingredients to work out the carb content - typically 70%. Remarkably a Sweet Potato is often billed as a headline ingredient on the packaging!
Clock the additives, colourants, grain content, including rice, and carbs from potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, potato flour, legumes. And look out for vague ingredients like ‘meat meal’ and ‘gravy’!
My Top Tips to consider:
- Read the ingredients label
- Understand that your dog’s digestive system is carnivorous, designed to thrive on animal fat and animal protein, and not starch.
- Work out the percentage of carbohydrates (starch) that’s in your dog’s ‘Grain Free’ meal – often hitting 70%
- Overtime dogs can develop health issues consuming complex carbs. Known as Anti-nutrients, and associated with many health conditions in dogs: obesity, pancreatitis, kidney disease, atopic conditions, allergies, hypersensitivity, periodontal disease and more!
- Avoid feeding overly processed ‘convenience’ foods. Choose fresh whole food ingredients instead!
A dog’s carnivorous digestion is designed to thrive on animal fat and animal protein, and not starch. The effects of eating starch, whether its rice, barley, a potato or a sweet potato is the same. It is pro-inflammatory, biologically inappropriate, and is known as an ’Antinutrient.
The Environmental Working Group highlights that a potato contains its own weight in insecticides and pesticides, like Glyphosate, unless grown in organic soil. The World Health organisation considers Glyphosate as a possible human carcinogen, and a known animal carcinogen.
There’s many other attributes of complex carbs that can have negative effects of your dog’s health and wellbeing, including an overload of Lectins. These are proteins stored in plants, grains, nightingale vegetables like potatoes, which can block the absorption of important nutrients like calcium, iron, phosphorous and zinc. They can also lead to inflammation.
This is why I always discuss diet with my clients. Its effects not only for long term health, but for behaviour. There’s a raft of science that concurs dogs fed a kibble diet are prone to mood swings-sugar peaks and troughs and a lack of concentration and overall energy.
As a Nutritionist qualified to recommend natural ‘species appropriate’ foods I always recommend an ethical, raw, balanced and complete diet, like Paleoridge – complementing and boosting a dogs’ naturally highly acidic, short digestive system, that’s designed to process fresh, whole, functional foods.
If you are what you eat, it’s simply ‘peace of mind’ in a bowl.