We all see those DIY, home-made, special recipes for dog treats all over the internet. On one hand, I'm happy to see all these folks taking the time and effort to make treats for their dogs. On the other hand, some of the ingredients these savvy DIYers choose to include in the mix should be skipped.
When staring into our dog's eyes with warm intent to satisfy their hunger and show love, we lose our sense of common. That's right, we begin to think that they should eat heavily starched diets like us, live an indoor lifestyle like us and in some cases even dress like us. It is the by-product of pure love, but we must remember that these pups have different nutritional needs and have evolved from a completely different digestive tract than our own.
Amylase is a digestive enzyme that is predominantly released by the pancreas, in modern dogs, and left in the small intestines to break down and begin the absorption of nutrients from starchy foods.
Amylase in humans goes as far as being present in the saliva when our mouths come in contact with any starch or carbohydrate in general. We are much better equipped to digest starchy foods and our bodies waste no time in the process.
Interesting enough, there was a study on this Amylase enzyme in modern dogs vs. primal wolves conducted by researcher Erik Axelsson of the department of medical biochemistry and microbiology at Uppsala University in Sweden.
They found that modern, domesticated dogs are producing more amylase and related enzymes than their wolf counterparts. Dogs have indeed began to adapt to the 'human' diet of starchy foods.
Since modern dogs are now producing more enzymes to adapt to the 'new diet', will it effect their health?
Dogs are incredibly resilient and and their bodies do definitely adapt to environments. Just look at the different physical properties of this species. But, if an abundance of a certain food group is in our pup's diet, they lose their bio-diversity. They begin to produce more enzymes from the pancreas than they are equipped. It imbalances the organ's functions and this causes inflammation or commonly known as Pancreatitis.
I am not saying that there shouldn't be any starch or carbohydrate in the diet. Dogs have evolved to be much more complex in their diets. Unfortunately, we have over done the starches in the diets for dogs which I believe to be a large contributing factor in the high cancer rates and organ problems devastating the canine community. Not only is the food overworking their pancreas and other organs but there is another factor that I believe to be the main culprit in malnutrition : Overly processed foods.
When we are feeding 'WonderBread' type of starches that pose zero nutritional benefits, not only is the dog trying to metabolize the somewhat foreign starch diet but they are also digesting a product that voids nourishment back to the cells that just used all the energy to break the food down. It is a hole being dug that will not be refilled.
When you choose nourishing, sprouted grains or starches or legumes, we are refilling that hole. Hopefully, you can choose whole foods that are not overly processed or grown in the unnatural ways. Find a way to utilize mother nature's nutrients in foods. When it comes down to it, the available whole, organic nutrients in the foods you feed your dog far outweigh the actual food group you feed your dog.
Meats, organs, fats and bones are truly all that is necessary to sustain a healthy diet in a dog. But, if those meats, organs and fats are overly processed voiding them of natural, organic nutrients and enzymes then it is no better than feeding them a compete grain diet.
What we are looking at here is a 'rawvolution'. Whether they are starches, meats or fats, dogs are ready to utilize it with enzymes ready to go. Just make sure that you are using whole foods that are nutrient rich. Make sure your starch ingredients are sprouted or come from non GMO, non Pesticide operations. Find a meat source that has been fed appropriately without a bunch of chemical injections. Do not worry about the calories as much as the quality of the nutrients in your ingredients.
Obese and unhealthy dogs can get back to a normal healthy state by simply reducing the amount of overly processed products. Help them regain their bio-diversity in their digestive systems by adding in whole foods, ideally raw. Keep them hydrated through their food. Unhealthy dogs drink water just to flush the worthless sludge build up in their digestive system unlike healthy dogs that drink water to re hydrate their cells for optimal performance.
So the next time you're in the kitchen preparing your dog treat recipe, think closely about the ingredients and on a deeper level, think about how those ingredients have been processed and grown. Health has never been surface level, it goes much deeper and works in more complex ways than we can imagine. But what we do know is that life feeds life and treats go beyond the simple 'snack' we have learned them to be.
Single ingredient or very limited ingredient treats are ideal, as they stress the pancreas and liver the least. It means less enzyme production and less work for the digestive system. Check out our wide range of single ingredient treats and chews that are very lightly dehydrated to retain the most nutritional value. We may not be able to call our treats recipes but we can call them healthy and processed with nutrition in mind.