Do cats and dogs need carbohydrates?

Do cats and dogs need carbohydrates?

This is a common concern raised by pet parents who are used to feeding commercial diets that include carbohydrates (grains, potatoes, vegetables, etc.).

The short answer is that neither cats or dogs need carbohydrates to survive.  The AAFCO Nutrition Profiles for both have no stated minimum requirements for the inclusion of carbohydrates.

But, my #furfam has been eating carbohydrates for years and seem to be doing fine.  What gives?

Both cats and dogs are members of the order Carnivora denoting that both evolved from early carnivorous species.

This is where the similarities end between cats and dogs

• Cats
are obligate carnivores indicating that there are no metabolic adaptations to allow them to thrive on a carbohydrate rich diet.  Instead after extended periods of time their digestive flora alters to favor bacteria that can break down carbohydrates into nutrients that are bio-available to the hosts native metabolic pathways - this is an inefficient process that may also produce adverse effects as it is not the preferred nutrient absorption mechanism.

• Dogs
are facultative carnivores indicating that there have been a limited number of metabolic adaptions to allow them to consume carbohydrates putting them at an advantage over obligate carnivores when consuming carbohydrate rich foods. However, it is important to recognize that these adaptions are only a partial adaptation and do not make dogs omnivores such as humans.


But but... my #furfam is doing fine!
It is true that no two animals are identical and may survive or even thrive on non-species appropriate diets.  We personally have been known to indulge in junk food.

At Balanced Blends we are risk adverse when it comes to our #furfam and have formulated our Species Balanced™ dinners to be as appropriate as possible #becausetheyrefamily
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