Fat Fueled And Fat Adapted Dogs Eating Ketogenic Food

Story takeaways:

  • When dogs eat kibble filled with biologically-inappropriate carbs, they are forced to use sugar (glucose) for fuel which is entirely sub-optimal.

  • Carbs-turned-sugar/glucose in a dog's body makes them fat, not the presence of fat itself.

  • When dogs eat raw, fresh, Ketogenic food, they are able to become fat fueled and fat adapted...using their fat for fuel. This is optimal.


In the space of dog nutrition (and human nutrition!), the word fat often comes with a negative connotation.  

It makes sense...dogs become fat when they store up too much fat in their body. Dogs do NOT become fat simply from eating fat! 

How is that? 

To answer that, we have to look at two terms: fat fueled and fat adapted.  

When a dog uses fat for fuel in Ketosis, they do not store excess fat, but instead become fat fueled and fat adapted.

HOW A DOG’S BODY PROCESSES CARBOHYDRATES 

Before we discuss the terms fat fueled and fat adapted, let’s look at how a dog’s body gets energy when consuming a large number of carbohydrates. 

When a dog eats carbohydrates (simple or complex), these carbs are transformed into glucose (sugar) in that dog’s body. Pet MD explains the basic way that dogs use carbs for energy here: 

“Dogs are able to convert certain carbohydrate sources into simple sugars that are easily absorbed...Carbohydrates are broken down in the small intestine into glucose molecules. Glucose is the common energy source that can be used by the majority of body cells...Glucose can be stored in the body for release later in the form of glycogen. If the animal eats too much and exercises too little, this stored glycogen will convert into fatty deposits in the body and cause obesity.” (source)

It is common knowledge that glucose is the preferred as an energy source for dogs (and humans!) in that dogs will use stores of glucose first before using stores of fat for energy.  

In the presence of glucose, a dog’s body will release the hormone insulin from the pancreas to regulate blood sugar levels. Then, insulin forces muscles and tissues to soak up excess blood glucose. Over time, the body can only store so much glucose...and these extra stores are deposited directly into fat cells.  

This process of... 

  1. storing all fat and

  2. storing extra glucose-turned-glycogen as fatty deposits in the body 

                                              ...leads to an accumulation of fat, a bodily state that leads to diseases like diabetes and obesity.  

The point being: when dogs use carbs (processed as glucose-turned-glycogen) for energy, their system is not operating optimally. When high amounts of biologically-inappropriate carbs are found in a dog’s body, that dog has to metabolically work overtime to find a place to store all of the extra glucose. Over time, much of this glucose is stored as fat. 

This accumulation of fat is what makes dogs fat, not the presence of fat itself. 

 

WHEN DO DOGS EAT CARBOHYDRATES? 

On what diet, for the most part, are dogs forced to sugar-convert (through Glycolysis) instead of fat-burn (through Ketosis)? 

Eating kibble. 

By its very nature, kibble is composed of carbohydrates because:  

“Structurally, carbohydrates (starches in particular) are essential to dry pet food processing; commercial extruded pet foods use starches to give the food structure and texture. Even some canned dog foods contain a carbohydrate source...

In addition to keeping kibble together, carbohydrate-rich ingredients are included in many commercial dog foods because of their relatively low cost, caloric contribution (4 calories/gram) and ease of sourcing. This helps keep the price of the food attractive to cost-conscious dog owners.” (source)

In order for kibble to be kibble, it has to be held together by starches and processed at very high temperatures in order to kill bacteria (good and bad) from poor quality meat sources. This is not because it is healthy for the dog, but because it is convenient for pet owners.  

It’s worth repeating...dogs have no biological need for carbs. AAFCO themselves have confirmed this fact.

Big Pet Food likes to reinforce the fact that dogs can eat carbohydrates. YES, dogs can process carbohydrates...but all kinds of metabolic stress are wreaked on the body when forced to process biologically-inappropriate food. 

No matter the source of the carbohydrates (whether it’s lentils, rice, tapioca, grains etc.), all carbohydrates in a dog’s body are processed as glucose. This state of Glycolysis, of sugar converting, is the exact opposite of what it means for a dog to be fat adapted.  

When dogs are forced to process carbs-turned-glucose, they store all of their fat and are in a constant state of metabolic stress: this is entirely sub-optimal. Forcing dogs to live in a sub-optimal state is clearly having long-term negative effects on canine health (see our article on rising metabolic disease rates here.)

 

FAT FUELED AND FAT ADAPTED 

So...what is the alternative to forcing dogs to process highly-inappropriate carbs and live in a sub-optimal state of health?  

The answer: raw, fresh, metabolically-appropriate foods that allow them to become fueled by fat.  

When dogs eat a diet high in fat, adequate in protein, and low carb, their bodies use fat for fuel as opposed to storing fat and converting glucose for fuel.  

Glycolysis (getting energy from carbs through sugar converting) is the exact opposite of Ketosis (getting energy from fat through fat burning).

Ketogenic food (like B&C’s food) is high fat, adequate protein, and low carb in order to promote Ketosis, putting dogs in the best position to become fat fueled and fat adapted. To read more about how Ketosis works and how dogs can use fat for fuel, check out our article Science Dive: Keto Dog Food. 

When dogs are allowed to use their fat for fuel by going Keto, they do not have to process biologically-inappropriate carbs: this is optimal. Allowing dogs to live in an optimal state puts them in the best position to live long, healthy, disease-free lives.

 

WORKING WITH, NOT AGAINST, DOGS’ BODIES  

For many of us, our dogs are family members. Dogs love humans so much (and vice versa) and have an incredible bond with us. Since dogs love us… 

If they eat biologically-inappropriate food, they will not complain.

If they are forced to survive instead of thrive, they will not leave us.

If they are getting fat because of their food, they will not say or do a thing...they will continue to love us more and more each day.

That’s why it’s our responsibility to feed our dogs what they biologically require, instead of what is convenient.  

We have to work with our dogs’ bodies by giving them the best possible, most metabolically-appropriate food...not against their bodies and force them to survive off of biologically-inappropriate carbs. 

Our dogs cannot speak up for themselves, so we have to be their voice, guardian, and advocate. We have to do what’s right for the sake our dogs because their future and their health is in our hands...and in their bowls.  

 

JOIN THE RAW, KETO FOOD REVOLUTION 

We believe the right, most ethical way to feed our dogs is with Ketogenic raw food because it puts dogs in the best possible position to thrive using fat for fuel. 

We are tired of seeing dogs suffer from health issues easily preventable with a proper diet.

We are tired of the dogma surrounding fat and are determined to revolutionize how we feed our dogs, right now.

If you’re feeling inspired, motivated, and excited to join our dog food revolution, BECOME A TRIBE MEMBER RIGHT NOW.  

Take a stand against kibble and for biologically-appropriate fresh foods. 

Take a stand to spark a KETO Revolution, for the love of your dog. 

Power To The Paws, 

Your Bones & Co. Tribe 


Have specific questions about your dog’s health? While B&C cannot give medical advice, we recommend seeking advice from a Holistic Veterinarian for your best furry friend (BFF). B&C is here to be a resource for you while you learn more about raw food, Keto, and dog nutrition!

Bones & Co.