Glycemic Index is a way of measuring the tendency of a specific food to raise the blood sugar level. The higher the index, the greater the risk of an unhealthy rise in blood sugar for your pet. Carbohydrates are rapidly absorbed by cats and dogs and converted to glucose. It’s the rapid rise in blood glucose that triggers the insulin response in the pancreas. This is the similar effect of feeding a child a high sugar diet. There has been a dramatic rise in diabetes in cat and dogs over the last 30 years, but providing a proper diet can help prevent its onset.
Carbohydrates There is no known minimum dietary carbohydrate requirement for dogs. This does not mean that they can’t digest and metabolically use them. The digestion starts in the panaceas by producing and storing four major digestive enzymes. They include trypsin, chymotrypsin, amylase, and lipase . The trypsin and chymotrypsin break down protein molecules, the amylase breaks down starches, and lipase does the same to fats and triglycerides. The function of the enzymes is to break down food in the intestine into smaller molecules. Breaking down the molecules of food into smaller sizes is an important part of the overall digestive process and allows nutrients to be absorbed by the cells that line the intestine. The nutrients are then passed from those cells into the bloodstream.
Simple and complex carbohydrates are digested in the same way in cats and dogs and rapidly converted to glucose. The glucose is used as quick source of energy that is stored in the muscles and liver in the form glycogen. Any extra left in the blood stream is then stored as fat. It’s this glucose in the blood stream that creates the demand for insulin made in the pancreas and that in time can lead to developing Diabetes Mellitus. This is much the same for humans living on a high sugar diet. Small amount of carbohydrates are very beneficial dogs, but in cats the damage they do far out ways any benefit they receive. If cats and dogs are fed a natural diet based on quality meats high in protein and fat they can convert these at a slower rate to meet metabolic requirement for glucose, decreasing the insulin levels in the blood stream, but at the same time delivering vital amino acids needed to fuel and repair there organs, muscle and bones.
Guideline layout by the F.E.D.I.A.F. European Pet Food Industry Federation (June 2012)
Waltham Book of Dog and Cat Nutrition (2nd edition, 1988)
Enzymes are the life force of a food, helping us to digest it and absorb nutrients. Foods in their raw state naturally come with some of the needed enzymes for digestion, but the enzymes found in raw fresh food are destroyed with heat between 40-47 celsius. The enzymes are not destroyed by freezing. This effectively means that all natural enzymes in high processes kibbles, dried or canned food are completely lost. This means the bodies of our dogs are forced to work harder by producing more enzymes to be able to absorb the nutrients they need.
PetPlus Is a especially formulate probiotic for dogs designed by Susanna McIntyre an experienced holistic veterinary surgeon. Nutriment recommends the use of PetPlus with all our foods. The over use of antibiotic in some vets practice strips away much of the natural flora in the gut. It’s vital that that this is rebuilt for balanced health and the body to recover from illness.
Raw food is full of enzymes. They are essential for life, so every living cell has plenty. As they are destroyed by heat, processed food has no enzymes, so the body has to make them in order to digest the food. This is an energy expensive process, and particularly hard work for the pancreas.
In Pet Plus, we’ve used Protease for protein digestion, Amylase for carbohydrate digestion, Lipase for fat digestion and ProCerelase for the digestion of vegetation.
On a processed food diet, these enzymes are critical for the proper digestion and assimilation of the nutrients, as enzymes are rendered inactive by the heating involved in the production of processed foods. Also, many processed foods are bulked out by cheap cereal based fillers which are very difficult for dogs to digest.
Fed a raw food diet, the enzymes in Pet Plus help with the digestion of the raw food, especially the vegetation. Dogs are not good at digesting vegetation. They would normally access most vegetable nutrition from the intestinal contents of their prey, where it has already been well chewed, partly digested and is full of vegetation-digesting enzymes and probiotics. So the ProCerelase is especially important.
Dogs And Cats Need Probiotics
Lactobacillus Acidophillus is one of the best probiotics for dogs. It colonizes the gut easily, creates an environment that discourages pathogens and does not transfer antibiotic resistance, unlike some other probiotics. We decided not to use several different probiotics as they would then be competing with each other to colonize the gut, which would be rather silly.
About Suzi McIntyre Since founding the British Veterinary Dental Association in 1988 and teaching, writing and researching veterinary dentistry, Susanna has developed a profound interest in the relationship between food and health in both people and animals.
Susanna has been running a veterinary dental referral service from several veterinary practices in South Wales since she moved there 15 years ago. There is so much that can be done to help pets with dental problems!
Broken or decayed teeth do not necessarily need to be extracted. They can be treated with vital pulpotomies, root canals and fillings, where appropriate. Periodontal disease and chronic feline gingivostomatitis (FGS) can be prevented by proper nutrition which also plays a crucial role in the treatment of these unnecessary and debilitating conditions.
Nutrition For People and Pets
During the last 18 years, learning about the irrefutable link between nutrition and health in both people and pets has completely changed Susanna’s clinical approach. She now follows naturopathic, holistic principles in all her treatments. Improving nutrition and hydration are the most important areas to address when treating anyone who’s unwell. There is no condition that benefits from poor nutrition!
As a society, we are now so technologically advanced, we can find a drug to remove the symptoms of most disease processes, but we often neglect to find the underlying cause. In our predominantly convenience based culture, poor nutritional status is nearly always one of the problems, as people rely so heavily on processed foods, both for themselves and their pets.