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Why a Low Carb, High Protein DOG Diet is VITAL (science papers)


good-dog-treats-roo-tendons After scouring the net for science articles on why it was important to feed carnivore dogs carbs and vegetable matter I was not surprised to find scant evidence in science journals.

The last blog article looks at the flimsy excuses repeated across the web for such dog food manufacturer excuses.

I was however extremely surprised to find science papers written about the benefiters of Dogs having a Low Carbohydrate, High Protein diet. I know this, and evolution and dogs know this, but the financial imperative of the stock market doesn’t.

So here are some incredible (and science based) reviews of science papers written about how a high protein (ie meat based) diets can perform dog health miracles.

IN summary, meat dog diets are believed to help with obesity, slowing tumour growth, diabetes,  pancreas and kidney issue prevention. 

Note, because of the size and power of the dog food industry that is hell-bent of feeding dogs cheap grain monopolises dog study grants, the number of studies that actually look at the pro case for meat in a dogs diet is not as prolific (on the open internet anyway). However, these few studies and their possible implications should be mind-blowing.

 The benefits of meat in dog food dog treat diets

The first paper released in 2007 is titled:

“A High-Protein, High-Fiber Diet Designed for Weight Loss Improves Satiety in Dogs”  Ref 1

This is the experiment background and hypothesis ” Weight-loss programs for dogs are often hampered by increased begging and scavenging behavior that ensues when food intake is restricted. Hypothesis: A diet formulated to contain a high content of both protein and fiber is more satiating than diets that contain only high fiber or high protein.” Ref 1

NOTE while this paper carefully seems to skirt around the source of protein (ie that it should be meat) that is implied by the data shown in the previous article and shown again in the appendix of this article. That is,  Grains (wheat and rice showed) can not on their own even achieve the MINIUM aafco requirements for any life-stage of dog.  When their low bioavailability is factored into their REAL digestion levels it is obvious that meat (beef and chicken shown) must be added to at least achieve their theoretical minimum requirements. That level seems to be around 20-30% meat (quality meat) hence why there is any meat in commercial dog food.

The title ” High-Protein” they refer to CAN ONLY BE MEAT, because of the above facts.

The hidden inference of the title is that there are a LOT of overweight dogs in modern society. My take on this is that with modern human schedules and our love of the internet, dogs are rarely being walked daily off the lead, and overfed with grain based cocktails inappropriate to their species.

We all know how hard it is for humans to adjust their own behaviour so the likelihood of a paper convincing them to get up an hour or so earlier in the morning to take their dogs for an off lead run is close to zero.  The simplest method is to adjust a dogs diet back to their ORIGINAL DIET. Some people call this an evolutionary diet.  This is not revolutionary, just conveniently forgotten, for convenience sake.

Their hypothesis suggests that if your dog is overweight then a High protein diet (including high fibre) will assist in reduction of weight.

In their experiment, they used Six entire female adult dogs (2 Shetland Sheepdogs, 2 Brittany Spaniels, 2 Labrador Retrievers) for satiety studies AND 105 adult female dogs of various breeds and ages were for the palatability studies.” Ref 1

“Conclusions and Clinical Importance: The (high protein high fibre (HPHF) diet had a satiating effect as evidenced by reduced voluntary intake compared with HP (high protein) and HF (high fibre) diets, and has the potential to lead to greater compliance in weight-loss programs.”

Beyond this salient point, you should also be aware that dog food manufacturers of grain based dog food have realised for decades that virtually NO DOG wants to eat a pile of raw grain. However if you crush it, cook it, add sugar and salt … if you spend millions on getting the formula right, you will make something that is overly palatable for dogs. SO much so that they literally can’t stop eating the artificial concoction- and hence massive weight gains.  They have learned to trick the wild dogs mechanism to stop eating when full, into overeating – which is perfect for profits. And perfect for having a dog whinge at you to eat more grain dog food, even when its full.

While the misinformation over potential kidney issues on high protein diets was discussed in the last blog article how about this SCIENCE PAPER ARTICLE :  “A Low Carbohydrate, High Protein Diet Slows Tumor Growth and Prevents Cancer Initiation” Ref 2

How Low Carbohydrate, High Protein Diet can slow tumurs

This 2011 paper was performed on mice (because they are cheaper to test) and starts with the assumption that ” Since cancer cells depend on glucose more than normal cells, we compared the effects of low carbohydrate (CHO) diets to a Western diet on the growth rate of tumors in mice.” Ref 2

” We found that both murine and human carcinomas grew slower in mice on diets containing low amylose CHO and high protein compared with a Western diet characterized by relatively high CHO and low protein.”

If you are a raw dog food feeder, you will be aware that the amylose protein is at the cornerstone of grain feeders arguments about why dogs are not pure carnivores, because small amounts of this are present in their stomachs (compared to domestic cats).  Maybe the “low amalyse” will actually reduce their chances of tumurs or at least slow the tumour growth until intervention.

They go on to say that ” in a genetically engineered mouse model of HER-2/neu–induced mammary cancer, tumor penetrance in mice on a Western diet was nearly 50% by the age of 1 year whereas no tumors were detected in mice on the low CHO diet.”  REF 2

“Whereas only 1 mouse on the Western diet achieved a normal life span, due to cancer-associated deaths, more than 50% of the mice on the low CHO diet reached or exceeded the normal life span. Taken together, our findings offer a compelling preclinical illustration of the ability of a low CHO diet in not only restricting weight gain but also cancer development and progression. ” REF 2

Now if you consider this in a DOG context, where you can mostly control their diet, and their species-specific and evolution based diet is meat, it kind of makes you wonder why everyone is so supportive of feeding dogs the massive amount of carbs that we do ???

The next study is titled ” Canine and Feline Diabetes Mellitus: Nature or Nurture?”

Can low carb diets reduce dog chances of getting diabetes?

This Queensland uni study seemed to concentrate on cats, because of the prevalence of diabetes in cats. Its proposition is that the risk of diabetes developing in cats  “include advancing age, obesity, male gender, neutering, drug treatment, physical inactivity, and indoor confinement. High-carbohydrate diets increase blood glucose and insulin levels and may predispose cats to obesity and diabetes. ” Ref 3

This should be fairly obvious considering that science has long known that cats are obligate carnivores. So, in theory, that means only meat in their diet.  If you buy commercial cat food, even from a vet, please check the ingredients on your can or satchel to see how much carbs they are consuming.

However, if high carb diets are linked at all to diabetes in cats, surely domestic dogs that are 90% carnivores are also at risk??

“Evidence exists for a genetic basis and altered immune response in the pathogenesis of canine diabetes. Seasonal effects on the incidence of diagnosis indicate that there are environmental influences on disease progression. At least 50% of diabetic dogs have type 1 diabetes based on present evidence of immune destruction of β-cells. Epidemiological factors closely match those of the latent autoimmune diabetes of adults form of human type 1 diabetes. Extensive pancreatic damage, likely from chronic pancreatitis, causes ∼28% of canine diabetes cases. Environmental factors such as feeding of high-fat diets are potentially associated with pancreatitis and likely play a role in the development of pancreatitis in diabetic dogs”  Ref 3

On a side note “did you know that autoimmune pancreatitis (aip) might be linked with grain dog food?”

NOTE High protein dog diets (meat) DO NOT lead to a spike in blood glucose, a carb diet does (ie: excessive grains in your dog food)


YOU have to draw your own conclusions, and if you have been trusting dog food companies to do the right thing for years, you will continue to feed them what dog food companies provide.

All this article is suggesting is that there is very little harm, and a lot of UPSIDE in the act of increasing your dog’s meat protein intake, even by using meat based dog treats as a food supplement rather than just a treat.



Ref 1

A High-Protein, High-Fiber Diet Designed for Weight Loss Improves Satiety in Dogs

Ref 2

A Low Carbohydrate, High Protein Diet Slows Tumor Growth and Prevents Cancer Initiation

Ref 3

Canine and Feline Diabetes Mellitus: Nature or Nurture?

Dog Nutrition
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