While nearly all animal fats include just as many calories as vegetable oils, only two contain essential fatty acids in amounts adequate enough to supply a dog’s nutritional needs. These are the fats from pigs, normally called lard, and horse fat. The tallow of beef and mutton should never be used as the only source of energy for a dog’s diet because of their low content of essential fatty acids. Animal fats contain about 126 calories in every tablespoonful.
One of the most important sources of carbohydrates, both for dogs and people, is the cereal grains. The useful carbohydrate in these grains is for the most part starch. Starch can also be purchased in pure form, and contains about 29 calories per tablespoon, or about 464 calories per cup. Other good sources of carbohydrate energy from cereal grains can be obtained from dry and cooked breakfast cereals, hominy grits, boiled rice, corn meal and in milled form like flour. Cereal grain products should never constitute more than about 50 percent of the dry matter of a dog’s daily diet.
Despite the fact that potatoes have more water in them, the amount of carbohydrates in potatoes is almost the same as in the various cereal grains. Potatoes can be used interchangeably with those cereals that are fed in the boiled state and like cereals potatoes should never constitute more than 50 percent of the dry matter of the diet.
As a source of carbohydrates in a dog’s diet, white or whole wheat bread ranks among the better ”natural” foods available to a dog feeder. It typically is fortified with vitamins and minerals, is appetizing to most dogs, and is always available and easy on the pocket. Some dog owners who feed their pets natural ingredients insist that bread should be toasted before being fed to a dog. While toasting makes the bread slices easier to crumble up and mix with the rest of the diet, the starches in bread have already been cooked during baking and all toasting does is enhance the texture of the bread.
Specialty flour products
A carbohydrate source often overlooked by a dog owner is the specialty products made from flour noodles, spaghetti and macaroni. These have an energy content equivalent to other cereal grain products. And, like rice and hot cereals, they have the advantage of being able to be added dry to a food and then cooked after water has been added. This gives you the option of mixing a large amount of dry dog food at one time, then adding water and cooking small batches as it is needed. Dogs need their vitamins and minerals to stay healthy.