Monday, November 7, 2011

Are Potatoes, Chick Peas, and Tapioca Biologically-Appropriate Foods for Pets?

In the wild, dogs and cats are carnivores. They get the majority of their nutrients from meat and poultry, including organ meat, bone, and animal fat. Because of this, some experts argue dogs and cats don’t need grains at all, citing that grains are not “biologically-appropriate” foods for pets. This has helped fuel the current grain-free trend in pet foods.

Dogs and Cats in the Wild are NOT Grain-free

Meat-eating predators in the wild eat nearly their entire prey, including the intestines. This supplies them with additional nutrients from predigested

fruits, vegetables and yes, grains, in the stomach of their prey, and from the little that they will forage in the wild. So actually the most natural diet for dogs and cats is not one that is grain-free, but rather one high in animal protein and low in carbohydrates.

A Starch is Still a Starch

In order to make a dry food hold that is easily fed to pets, manufacturers must use a starch of some kind. A starch is a complex carbohydrate found chiefly in seeds, fruits, tubers, roots and stem pith of plants, notably in corn, potatoes, wheat, and rice¹. Grain-free kibble still contains starch from one or more of these sources, not because of the nutritional value, but because it makes the kibble stick together and hold its shape.

There is a dizzying array of starches in pet foods on the market today. Grain-free manufacturers are migrating from potato, to tapioca, to peas and chick peas.  While some in the pet community will advocate grain-free foods as better for pets, are potatoes, chick peas, and tapioca really biologically-appropriate foods for dogs and cats? A starch is still a starch, regardless of the source, and these starches are a major source of carbohydrates in dry kibble pet foods.  


Millet in Pet Foods

A high protein - low carbohydrate ratio is the proper criteria for selecting a pet food. Grain-free kibbles meet that criteria but they also contain starches not commonly eaten by carnivores in the wild. Instead, millet is a starch that is more likely to be eaten by predators in the wild, either directly or through their prey. This grass seed is similar to one a carnivore might consume from eating the stomach of a bird or herbivore. It is much more likely to occur naturally in a wild dog or cat’s diet than chick peas or potato, so will be more familiar to their digestive systems.

Further, millet is low in sugar and carbohydrates. The grain contains less natural sugar than other starches frequently used in pet foods. Plus millet contains NO gluten, a relatively common allergen for pets. Millet is the starch in Nature’s Logic dry kibble formulas for dogs and cats. Our diets also have NO corn, wheat, or soy. It is by avoiding these ingredients, not by going grain-free, that pet owners prevent common allergies. For more information about our 100% natural pet foods, visit www.natureslogic.com .

1. http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=starch

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