Last month the NY Times did an in-depth story on dog food brands that might be linked to canine heart disease according to the FDA. Most of the brands listed are labeled ‘grain free’.
The trend of grain-free dog foods and treats has been growing. And there is often a misconception that any and all grains are bad for dogs. The NY Times quotes Dr. John deJong, saying, “the whole grain-free thing is a popular myth. If they look at the dogs’ relatives in the wild, like coyotes, wolves and hyenas, they live on their prey. Those animals they prey on are typically herbivores, so they are ingesting grains anyway.”
At the Old Dog Cookie Company, we get asked about grains and carbohydrates - a lot. Why do we use grains in our diabetic treats?
We carefully researched and purposefully selected all our ingredients for their nutritional and healing benefits. In doing so, we opted to use rolled oats and stone-ground whole-wheat flour in our products. We found that these grains contain more nutrients than replacement ingredients such as peas, legumes seeds, lentils and potatoes which are often found in many grain free pet foods.
For example, rolled oats are high in protein, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins E and B complex. The stone-ground whole-wheat used in our products contain B and E vitamins, minerals and is high in fiber and rich in unsaturated fatty acids.
These ingredients (grains) provide soluble fiber that is key in controlling sugar balance. This fiber helps to slow the rate of food metabolism which helps a diabetic dog better manage insulin requirements.
Grains and Carbohydrates
For our diabetic customers, they are often worried about carbohydrates and confuse grain-free for carb-free. But grain-free does not mean carb-free. Ingredients such as peas, legumes seeds, lentils and potatoes can also be high in carbohydrates.
We all agree that diet plays a large role in managing diabetes. While there is a lot of debate on social media and forum sites about the value of ‘low carb’ vs. ‘no carb’ diet, veterinarians agree that diabetic dog owners should consider strategies that are likely to slow the delivery of glucose into the bloodstream. In moderation, complex carbohydrates (as opposed to simple or highly refined carbs) along with high fiber foods (pumpkin, unsweetened applesauce) can help slow the delivery of glucose.
Diabetic Dog Treats
Our diabetic treats use complex carbohydrates (rolled oats and stone-ground whole-wheat flour) that are sourced here in the United States. This combined with our other ingredients help slow the rate of food metabolism, allowing your dog to better manage its insulin requirements. Other ingredients we use include unsweetened apple sauce which is high in fiber and contains pectin that boosts a dog’s immune system; dandelion root which helps reduce amounts of sugar in the blood, squash as a source of vitamin A; and kelp which helps thyroid function and promoted healthy skin.
Our cookies are low in calories (2 calories for our tiny treat and 16 calories for the regular sized treat). We are proud to say that many veterinarians recommend our products and offer them to their diabetic dog patients.
We know the challenges of having a diabetic dog and understand the critical roll diet plays in maintaining healthy glucose levels. We also understand how hard it can be caring for a diabetic dog and having to provide daily insulin shots. We carefully researched, selected ingredients and developed our diabetic cookies as a way to reward our own dog after each shot – without interfering with her treatment.
We always recommend that our customers consult with their vet about their dog’s specific dietary requirements. Each dog has unique needs. Although grain free or carb free might be good for one dog it might not be good or necessary for another.
In this blog we try to touch on one of our most frequently asked questions, "how many treats a day should I give my dog?"