Though thought otherwise, dogs are actually omnivores, not carnivores. Hence, they can eat carbohydrates and digest them. Dry dog food is a good source of carbohydrates, containing between 30 to 70% carbohydrates in a meal. This is a reliable carbohydrate source for dogs. That being the case, many people prefer preparing their dog’s meal at home and often do not rely on dog food. When preparing your dog’s meal, you should try to ensure and maintain a ratio of 30% fat, 30% protein and 40% carbohydrates. As you can see, a substantial part of a dog’s balanced diet should be carbohydrates.
So what are some of the best carbohydrate sources for dogs that can be included in their meals? When it comes to carbohydrates that humans consume, not all of these carbohydrate sources are good for dogs. Hence, we thought it would be best to provide you with a good list of carbohydrates that are both safe and nutritious for dogs, that you can easily include in your dog’s meal plan for better nutrition and health.
Hence, without further adieu, let’s dive in and have a look at the best sources of carbohydrates for dogs. Most of these are components of many dog foods, hence you know that they are safe and practical for dogs to consume.
Barley is a great carbohydrate source that is considered safe for dogs to eat. It has a low cholesterol content and is high in fibre. The fact that it is low in cholesterol makes it one of the most heart-friendly choices you can make when picking carbohydrates for dogs.
Dogs should look to consume between 20% to 40% of their diet in carbohydrates. If your dog is getting plenty of meat-based protein, you could consider feeding your dog a carbohydrate source on an occasional basis.
That being the case, the high fibre content in barley makes it one of the best choices for your pooch’s digestive health to be included in meals. The fibre facilitates smooth bowel movements and helps prevent constipation. You should try to balance your dog’s diet to include 2% to 4% fibre to ensure that their digestive health is in check. Feeding them barley can be a great way to ensure this.
Barley contains both soluble and insoluble fibre that works to slow the passage of food and soften stool, making it easier for food to move through the digestive system.
A 100 gram serving of barley contains 73 grams of carbohydrates. Since the amount in grams of carbohydrates to be condumed varies based on the size and breed of your dog, it is good to measure in a ratio to other nutrients such as protein and fat. 20% to 40% of your dog’s diet should include carbohydrates.
Oats are a great source of nutrients for your pooch. When feeding oats or oatmeal, you have to be very careful to ensure that the oatmeal isn’t flavoured. It should not contain any additives as these additives could have negative effects on your dog’s wellbeing.
Oats are a great source of fibre and contain carbohydrates, protein and fat. The fact they contain all three nutrients makes them especially beneficial for your pooch. 1 cup, which is 90 grams of cooked regular or instant oatmeal contains about 32 grams of carbohydrates, 4 of which are fibre. This fibre that is found in oats works to keep your pooch’s digestive tract in optimum health.
As a general guideline, you can feed your dog one tablespoon of cooked oatmeal for every 20 pounds of weight. Hence, the amount of oatmeal should be decided on the size of your dog.
Oats are an excellent source of energy for your pooch. They contain manganese, phosphorus, coppers, vitamin B1 and biotin. Biotin is especially important for your dog’s skin and can work to ward away skin infections and keep your dog’s skin healthy. Your dog cannot manufacture biotin themselves and have to be attained through diet; such as through oats.
3. Brown Rice
Though thought to be carnivores, dogs are actually omnivores. Even wolves have been known to eat berries in the wild. This means dogs can eat grains and digest them without any issues.
Brown rice is a perfect grain to include in your dog’s meal. It contains a helpful dose of carbohydrates and fibre. Brown rice also contains fat and protein in trace amounts and is a valuable source of thiamin, niacin and pyridoxine.
Thiamin is an essential vitamin for dogs and should be a part of the diet to maintain optimum health. Thiamin is required by the brain and other energy organs to function properly. It plays a role in carbohydrate metabolism, which is why is it considered an essential vitamin. Brown rice is a good source of thiamin and will work to keep your pooch’s internal organs in good health.
It is full of natural fibre which helps with your dog’s digestion and contains vitamin D and B which are essential for heart health. All in all, adding brown rice to your dog’s diet will provide a valuable carbohydrate source, which not only brings with it energy but many other aspects of health for your pooch.
4. Whole Wheat
As mentioned earlier, dogs are omnivores and can safely eat and digest grains. Whole wheat is a type of grain that is an excellent source of digestible carbohydrates. Whole wheat could be a valuable source of energy for your dog and is also a reliable source of protein.
That being the case, wheat does not favour all dogs. Some dogs experience skin irritation or bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is best to stop feeding them wheat and consult a veterinarian.
Whole wheat has very low sugar content. It is high in fibre and protein and is a reliable source of healthy carbohydrates. The fact that whole wheat contains protein is especially valuable for your pooch. Apart from the fact that whole wheat is a reliable source of carbohydrates for energy, it has a good percentage of protein that will help with muscle function.
Whole wheat also contains a host of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. The antioxidants in whole wheat help to fight free radicals in your pooch’s system, thereby preventing the negative effects of oxidative stress.
Whole wheat also contains selenium, manganese, phosphorus, copper and folate, all of which play various integral roles in your pooch’s body. For instance, folate helps in utilising amino acids in the building of new proteins. It is important in normal blood formation and immune function and plays an essential part in tissue growth.
Whole wheat can be a valuable source of carbohydrates for your dog, which will work well as an energy source, containing good amounts of fibre to facilitate good digestion.
5. Whole Corn
Whole corn is considered safe for your dog but in small amounts. It is one of the most popular cereal grains in the world and contains various vitamins and minerals which are all beneficial for health.
However, corn is not easily digested by the dog’s gut, hence feeding them corn in large amounts may cause intestinal blockage and problems with digestion.
That being the case, whole corn can be a valuable source of carbohydrates, just so long as it is fed in moderation. They contain folate, thiamin, phosphorus, vitamin C and magnesium. Vitamin C for instance is especially useful for a healthy coat and skin. Vitamin C also helps to protect cells from damage and can ward off diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Whole corn also contains carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin which are integral in maintaining good eye health. All these nutrients can be very valuable for your dog, hence whole corn in small quantities work as a good carbohydrate source that will provide your pooch with energy and bring with it many other health benefits.
Raw potatoes should never be fed to dogs. This is because, raw potatoes contain a toxic compound called solanine, which could have disastrous effects on your pooch’s health. Cooking potatoes thoroughly enables the reduction of solanine levels.
When feeding your dog potatoes, you should ensure that it is well boiled or baked and make sure that you don’t add any spices or seasoning to the potatoes. Simple well boiled or baked potatoes can be a good source of carbohydrates.
Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C and B6. Vitamin B6 has various functions in your pooch’s body including the supporting of amino acid metabolism. The vitamin also helps to reinforce bladder health, which can be especially useful for ageing dogs.
Though potatoes are a good source of carbohydrates, they do contain the toxic compound solanine. Even though solanine concentration is reduced when cooked, there are still trace amounts of solanine in cooked potatoes. Hence, it is best to feed your dog small or moderate portions of potatoes, as large amounts could be unsafe for your pooch.
Potatoes contain a good amount of fibre and plenty of carbohydrates. It can be a safe carbohydrate source for your pooch, just so long as you prepare it properly. Goes without saying, you would not be feeding your dog raw brown rice, hence don’t feed your dog raw potatoes either.
Millet is a grain that is high in B-vitamins, iron and phosphorus. They are completely safe for dog and is a healthy source of carbohydrates.
Milliet is easier for your dog to digest than wheat. It is a common ingredient in dog food and can work to provide your pooch with a healthy dose of nutrients including B-vitamins. B-vitamins help facilitates a host of functions in your pooch’s body, including energy metabolism and ion channel activation in neural tissue.
Iron, which is another nutrient found in millet, is a necessary component of red blood cell production and can lead to a better number of red blood cells. The better of a red blood cell count your pooch has, the better cardiorespiratory health they will have.
Millet is rich in fibre and protein, which is why it is considered more favourable when compared to rice. It is a valuable carbohydrate source that provides with it a good amount of protein and fibre.
Lentils are a good source of carbohydrates and include other nutrients such as iron, fibre and plant-based protein. It is safe for your dog to eat lentils and can work as a great low-calorie, high-fibre choice for dogs.
Lentils are best served in moderation in small or moderate amounts. They should be soaked and well-cooked without any spices or seasoning. You can mix lentils with meat protein and vegetables to make a great homemade meal for your pooch.
The fibre in lentils helps to ensure proper digestion and better digestive health, while the iron in lentils helps improve red blood cell count and better blow flow. Lentils are a healthy source of carbohydrates which doubles as a good source of protein. This is why lentils are especially beneficial as a carbohydrate source.
A small portion of lentils go a long way in providing your pooch with some essential nutrients. You don’t have to feed them a lot of lentils, just feed them lentils in moderation and they will reap all the benefits of this amazing carbohydrate source.
Starchy vegetables such as carrots are also great for your dog’s wellbeing. They contain a good amount of healthy carbohydrates which include natural sugars and brings with them a host of healthy vitamins and minerals.
It is the vitamin and mineral content of carrots that makes them such a beneficial source of carbohydrates for dogs. They contain a good amount of vitamin K, potassium, fibre, vitamin C, calcium and iron.
Carrots are a valuable source of carbohydrates due to the impressive nutrient profile they contain. Each mineral and vitamin in carrots help your pooch in one way or the other. They help boost overall health, enabling the better function of various systems in your pooch’s body.
For instance, vitamin K is an essential vitamin that plays an integral role in the coagulation of proteins needed for blood to clot. Vitamin C on the other hand is essential for healthy skin and coat and will work to improve immune health, thereby keeping infections and diseases at bay.
Though carrots do not contain as many carbohydrates as grains, it is a valuable source of carbohydrates considering the other vitamins and minerals they bring with them.
Milk is more of a reward as opposed to something to include in everyday meals. Milk is an excellent source of nutrients and is considered very valuable for your pooch’s health. However, it contains a lot of fat and sugars which makes it unhealthy in large amounts.
Overindulgence aside, milk can be a reliable source of carbohydrates and is an excellent source of protein and calcium. The calcium in milk helps to improve the health of bones and teeth, while the protein helps improve muscle strength and function.
Milk is a well-rounded carbohydrate source that is considered a great treat for your dog on an occasional basis. You shouldn’t feed your dog milk more than a few tablespoons, a couple of times a week.
To understand better, how milk should be incorporated into a dog’s diet, we recommend that you read this article on, ‘Can You Give Dogs Milk? Can Dogs Drink Milk?‘
What Happen When You Feed Your Dog Too Many Carbohydrates?
Feeding your dog too much carbohydrates could cause digestive issues. Dogs though omnivores do prefer a meat-based diet. Though they are able to digest and use carbohydrates, overfeeding them carbohydrates can cause digestive issues and obesity.
What is more striking is the fact that overfeeding carbohydrates is just as bad as overfeeding them fat due to the fact that both these elements will lead to obesity. Carbohydrates include sugars which when over consumed may lead to obesity and may bring with it various complications brought about by obesity.
Overfeeding your pooch carbohydrates will lead to weight gain, poor metabolic health and an increased risk of heart disease. Hence, be sure to check with your veterinarian if you are unsure of the amounts that you should be feeding.
The amounts of nutrients depend on the size of the dog, however, should be of the ratio 30% fat, 30% protein and 40% carbohydrates. Some dog owners prefer to increase protein and fat content and lower carbohydrate content, which is also considered safe. So long as you are feeding your dog at least 20% carbohydrates and no more than 40% carbohydrates, your pooch should be fine.
Though popularly thought to be carnivores, dogs are actually omnivores, which means they can digest grains and plant-based food. Though dogs do not require carbohydrates and are primarily a protein-based animal, they do have much to gain by including plant-based carbohydrate sources in the diet.
Plant-based carbohydrate sources provide them with an extra fix of nutrients including various vitamins and minerals, all of which help boost your pooch’s health. These vitamins and minerals all play integral roles in the body, thereby ensuring that your pooch is maintaining optimum health without running into deficiencies.
Remember, the amount of carbohydrates you should be feeding your dog depends on the size of your dog. Bigger dogs eat more, while smaller dogs eat less.
We aimed to provide you with a good list of carbohydrates that will make it easier for you to prepare your dog’s meal at home. These 10 sources are all valuable in their own right and will provide your pooch with a good amount of energy deriving carbohydrates with various other nutrients.
We hope you found this article useful and that reading this word to word has helped you better understand how to feed your pooch for better health.