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carbs or not
The Great Carb , Fatty Acid, Debate
There have been reports that the inclusion of certain levels of dietary carbohydrates may be beneficial to certain types of dogs. During gestation and lactation there is an increased need for glucose. Rosmos et al.  noted a reduced number of live pups at birth and the three days after birth in bitches fed carbohydratefree diets. The effect has been attributed to severe hypoglycemia in the bitches at whelping. In contrast, Blaze et al  noted no differences in the ability of carbohydrate-free diets to support Beagle and Labrador bitches through pregnancy and lactation. It is possible that the higher dietary protein levels of the latter study helped to supply an adequate level of glucose through the gluconeogenic process. On the basis of the previous discussion, dietary carbohydrates are not an essential part of the dog's diet. However, in terms of feed processing and supplying of an efficient and cost-effective dietary energy source, carbohydrates such as starch are very important. The ability to extrude a dog food (kibble feeds) and to provide a sufficient gel in a canned food requires the input of a significant level of carbohydrate. Thus carbohydrates are one of the most important dietary factors in a dog food supplying energy as well as the physical characteristics allowing for effective processing-manufacturing. Carbohydrate is one of the six nutrients that your pet gets from their food ingredients. The other vital nutrients are water, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals.Carbohydrates commonly make up 30-70% of dry dog and cat food. They come mainly from plants and grains and provide energy in the form of sugars. Carbohydrates can be divided into two categories: simple and complex carbohydrates .Simple carbohydrates are basically 'simple sugars' which means they are made up of one or two sugar molecules put together. These sugars are relatively easy for your pet to digest and convert to energy. Some examples include sugar found in fruit and milk.Complex carbohydrates are made up of lots of simple sugars that form much longer chains. These require more work to break them down, by specialised enzymes, before they can be used in your pet's body. Complex carbohydrates include fibre and starches like oats and potatoes. Carbohydrates are the nutrients that can be most quickly made into energy, and energy is vital, not just for exercise but for everything your pet's body does, like carrying oxygen in blood. Energy is also very important in maintaining the brain and nervous system. So even though we think of carbohydrate as the 'filler ingredients' can make our pets overweight, they can be very helpful in keeping your pet active and healthy!Excess carbohydrate is usually converted into fatty deposits in the body and, as long as a healthy amount of bodily fat is maintained, these deposits help to protect the body from trauma by 'cushioning' the organs and skeletal structure. I am not and never shall advocate large amounts of carbohydrate in your dogs diet as that makes then obese but they do require up to (approx.) 17% in their diet this matches what is believed to be their ancestral diets.
Long chain ω-3 fatty acids (main source: fish oils) such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA: C20:5, n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA: C22:6,n-3), directly compete with arachidonic acid for lipoxygenase and cycloxygenase enzymes. Subsequent metabolism of eicosapentaenoic acid generates less inflammatory mediators compared to the metabolism of arachidonic acid (C20:4, n-6). Short chain ω-3 fatty acids such as α-linolenic acid (C18:3, n-3, main source: linseed oil) are less efficiently metabolized by dogs and cannot be metabolized by cats to reduce the production of inflammatory mediators . Therefore to assess the antiinflammatory potential of a diet, one should rather look at the EPA and DHA level than at the ω-6/ω-3 ratio.
Rice has long been considered the ideal carbohydrate for gastrointestinal disease because it has a limited branched starch structure (amylopectin) and very low dietary fibre content. Rice has rarely been implicated in adverse food reactions. Furthermore, rice improves the digestibility of dry diets and contains soluble factors that inhibit secretory diarrhoea.I often suggest boiling rice  strain and use just the watery starch residue as it acts fast to stop diarrhoea , add to that apple and the cellulose binds stool and improves motility and cleanses the colon also, an added bonus if you like.
Dietary therapy is a cornerstone in the management of intestinal diseases. Recent publications suggest that feeding rather than dietary rest should be considered for some patients with GI disease. Attention should be given to protein digestibility. Protein hydrolysates might be very useful in the management of IBD and EPI. Fat might not be contra-indicated in most cases of GI diseases. Only long chain ω-3 fatty acids have an antiinflammatory potential and rice is the preferred source of carbohydrate.
Probiotics are live microbial cultures added to foods for dogs and cats. Typical cultures contain Lactobacillus, Enterococcus, and others. Theoretical benefits include recolonization the bowel with good bacteria, inhibiting growth of harmful bacterial pathogens, and an immunomodulatory effect . They are most often used in the management of acute and chronic diarrhoea . To date there is little evidence that probiotics are of benefit. This may be due the challenge of maintaining viability in foods during processing and storage. Also, probiotics have not demonstrated the ability to colonize the gut longterm, thus any effect is short lived.
Of greater promise is appears to be the use of prebiotics in food for pets. Prebiotics are typically oligosaccharides (starches) resistant to digestion by intestinal enzymes. They are selectively fermented by intestinal microbes and influence the composition and health of the GI flora. Examples include mannan-oligosaccharide, fructo-oligosaccharide, inulin and others. Like soluble fibres, they select for "good" microbes in the GI tract. Bacterial fermentation results in production of volatile fatty acids that serve as a preferred fuel source for the intestinal tract . Early data showing clear improvement in clinical outcome has been limited. However, data in other species supports the current level of scientific interest to determine the role of prebiotics in the diets of dogs and cats. Dogs and cats fed prebiotics have reduce levels of pathogenic gut microbes and enhanced indicators of improved immune function 
Before dismissing carbohydrates as a non starter in your dogs diet, consider all of the facts , many people do not get facts they receive anecdotal evidence and assume its 100% accurate- it may be in the eyes of that individual owners perception regards their pet but no two dogs are the same … BARF diets are good for dogs but they too must be balanced and many have deficiencies in vitamins, minerals and that will ultimately lead to general malaise  and in some cases permanent serious health complaints !

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