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Essential Nutrients for Dogs and Cats: Carbohydrates

Essential Nutrients for Dogs and Cats: Carbohydrates

When picking a food for your dog or cat, it’s important that you choose one with an adequate amount of carbohydrates. This nutrient includes molecules made of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen, found in all vegetables.

Why are carbohydrates important for dogs and cats?

While it’s true that dogs and cats can live without carbohydrates in their food because they synthesize the carbohydrate they need from amino acids, this nutrient improves the body’s functioning.


Five kinds of carbohydrates

Below you’ll find more information on the various forms of carbohydrates, the unique roles they play in your pet’s health and the kinds of food that provide them.


What role do starches play in my pet’s body?
Starch’s main role in a pet’s body is to provide energy. It helps your dog or cat’s intestines absorb glucose, giving him or her energy.

Which foods are good sources of Starch?
Starches are most often found in plants and vegetables. This carbohydrate can often be found in:
  • Rice
  • Corn
  • Potatoes
  • Tubers


What role does cellulose play in my pet’s body?
Cellulose is also known as total dietary fiber. Pure cellulose helps regulate a dog or cat’s digestive system and keeps everything moving smoothly and promotes a firm stool. Sufficient fiber helps animals produce a feeling of satiety, and helps reduce the formation of hairballs in the sedentary cat.

Which foods are good sources of cellulose?
Fibers can be found in vegetables and plants. In pet food labels, look for ingredients like:
  • Carrots
  • Green beans


What role does FOS play in my pet’s body?
FOS is also commonly known as prebiotics or fructooligosaccharides. Its role in your pet’s body is to promote growth from good bacteria that have beneficial effects on the health of the digestive tract. FOS not only helps improve digestion but it also helps with nutrient absorption.

Which foods are good sources of FOS?
FOS is created by the combination of a fungus and sugar. The fungus releases an enzyme, which can combine with an extra fructose molecule, provided by the sugar.


What role does MOS play in my pet’s body?
Much like FOS, MOS helps to fight off bad bacteria in your dog or cat’s system. It is a non-digestible yeast that keeps bacteria from attaching to your pet’s intestines. MOS also promotes an overall stronger pet immune system.

Which foods are good sources of MOS?
MOS is made up from two sugars, a glucose and mannose. It can be found in the walls of yeasts.


What role does mucilage play in my pet’s body?
Mucilage is classified as a soluble fiber. Its main purpose is to help your pet with digestive transit and helps reduce constipation and ease fecal elimination for healthy bowel movements.

Which foods are good sources of mucilage?
Mucilage is a psyllium fiber, which can be found in several plant sources, such as:
  • Cactus
  • Aloe vera
  • Flax seeds

Learn More

For more information on your pet’s diet and important elements to look for in cat or dog food, contact your local Banfield Hospital and speak with one of our pet experts.

Also, be sure to ask your Banfield veterinarian about which Optimum Wellness Plan® works best according to your pet’s unique nutritional needs.

You can also learn more by reading in the Nutrition section of Banfield.com, including these articles below: Source: 2012 Royal Canin Nutrient Guide