Saturday, February 21, 2009

Zero carbs for dogs

From time to time, I touch on the subject of diet. If you look at the books I recommend in the side panel at The Gutendog Press, you will see such titles as "Grow your Pups with Bones" and "Pottengers' Cats". Coupled with my link to Dr. Eades most excellent blog, my furry comrades might cleverly arrive at the conclusion that I support the raw / low carb ways of life.

You would be correct.

It doesn't mean I practice it exclusively. I have, and then I haven't. And then I have, and then I haven't. You know how things go. But in the "have not" periods, we are less optimally sustained.

Recently I scholar.googled this little gem of a study from 1977 -

Metabloic responses to exhaustive exercise in racing sled dogs fed diets containing medium, low or zero carbohydrate by Elaine P. Hammel, V.M.D., D.S. et al.

The superior ability of racing sled dogs fed diet A [protein, fat, carbohydrate in the proportion 39:61:0] to mobilize body fat during a bout of exercise, coupled with their hematopoietic response to training suggests that this is a highly suitable diet or these dogs.

Other features of dogs fed diet A were higher serum concentrations of albumin, calcium and magnesium; these may help to combat tendencies towards hypovolemia, hypocalcemia, and hypomagnesemia. These propensities of a low carbohydrate, high fat, and protien diet may also be advantagious in other dogs subjected to sustained strenuous work, such as foxhounds, gunning dogs and military scout dogs.

What makes this study unique is that they were not trying to make the sled dogs lose weight. Often low-carb studies in dogs (cats, etc) are focused on weight loss, just like in humans. There are several studies showing the effectivity of low carbohydrate diets in getting your dog or cat back to a healthy weight. I will post about those another time.

In this study, they looking at performance. And, carbs were not required there, either.

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