You probably wouldn’t dream of giving your dog a bite of a donut, or a piece of the cupcake you brought home from the office. You might, however, be tempted to hand over a piece of bread or your morning bagel, thanks to your dog’s puppy-dog eyes.
But did you know that “little bites” and treats impact your dog’s blood sugar, as do the carbohydrates in their food?
Not all carbohydrates are created equally. Simple carbohydrates like the ones found in sweets and bagels, are rapidly digested, do not contain fiber, and are empty calories without many nutrients. Complex carbohydrates digest slowly, which keeps blood sugar stable. They also take longer to digest, and keep dogs (and humans) satisfied longer. A human or a dog should consume plenty of complex carbohydrates and very few simple carbohydrates.
It may seem unlikely that you would feed your dog simple carbohydrates like sugar, jams, soft drinks and candy. However, some brands of pet foods and treats contain simple carbohydrates, like corn syrup or cane molasses. These simple carbohydrates are empty calories that can cause unnecessary blood sugar spikes.
Foods containing carbohydrates are ranked on the Glycemic index on a scale of zero to 100 based on how much they raise blood sugar levels after being digested and absorbed. Foods high on the scale are simple carbohydrates that are digested more rapidly and cause more dramatic fluctuations in blood sugar, with a faster rise and then drop. Foods low on the scale are complex carbohydrates that are digested more slowly and have a more gradual and steady rise in blood sugar as well as a slower drop.
Dogs are impacted by carbohydrates similarly to humans; Their bodies break them down into sugars which are absorbed into the bloodstream, and then insulin created by the pancreas helps the body use that sugar as energy to power their body. Just like humans, dogs are likely to feel better when they consume foods lower on the Glycemic Index because they will not experience the dramatic spikes. They are also likely to feel full longer.
Dogs develop diabetes mellitus if their pancreas is not able to produce enough insulin to turn food into energy or when their body fails to utilize insulin correctly. Diabetes in dogs is not caused by diet or being overweight, nor can it be controlled simply by diet. However, there is a benefit to dogs who are on insulin for diabetes mellitus to keep the blood sugar as consistent as possible in order for the insulin to work more effectively.
Even without diabetes present, humans and dogs should consume foods low on the scale to keep blood sugar more even instead of going through dramatic spikes throughout the course of a day. All dogs can benefit from more consistent energy and foods that keep them satisfied longer whether they are working dogs, sporting dogs, or simply a beloved family member.
One of our favorite brands of dog food that is low on the Glycemic Index is Canine Caviar. Canine Caviar is a true holistic pet food that provides the ingredients for a healthy, happy lifestyle for your pets. Their holistic pet foods are organic and alkaline based and made with ingredients that are on the lower end of the Glycemic Index.
The grain in the Canine Caviar Holistic Beneficial Grain formulas is Pearl Millett; in their Holistic Grain-Free dinners they use Chickpeas in the Open Sky formulas and Split Peas in the Wilderness and Wild Ocean varieties. Both Split Pea and Pearl Millet are found in the Large Breed Puppy formula. As you can see in the diagram, Split Peas, Chickpeas, and Pearl Millet all ranked low on the Glycemic Index scale!
The botanicals found in Canine Caviar also ranked extremely low on the Glycemic Index, with Kelp and Alfalfa at zero, Parsley and Rose Hips at two and Papaya at three on a scale of 100. It is important to note that there is not a separate Glycemic Index for canines; these values are from human research.
If you are looking for a food that considers all aspects of your pet’s health through nutrition and is low on the Glycemic Index, look no farther than Canine Caviar…and maybe skip giving your canine friend that piece of bread from your sandwich, no matter how cute you think their puppy dog eyes look!
Check out some our favorite Canine Caviar Foods below, or CLICK HERE to see all of their well-balanced and delicious foods!