Feeding Your Pooch A Healthy Diet
July 14, 2021
What Should We Be Feeding Our Dogs?
A look at the dog food aisle can be very confusing. There is so much contradictory information about diets for our pooches and it’s hard to know if we should we be feeding all meat, raw meat, grains or no grains?
In terms of the dietary needs, we are quick to equate wolves and domestic dogs. Wolves eat meat, therefore dogs should eat meat, right? Seems simple enough.
Dogs Are Omnivores
Many people believe dogs are carnivores but true carnivores, such as a cats will die if they don’t eat meat. Research shows that dogs are omnivores, who derive nutrition from both plant and animal sources.
Wild dogs will eat rotten fruit, vegetables and even the half-digested contents of their prey’s stomachs.
Dogs may prefer steak, but their digestive system is also geared for rice and potatoes. Dogs have evolved to eat a more varied diet and the shift matches the genetic changes seen in humans showing that dogs and humans share similar evolutionary stories.
Dogs were likely domesticated around 15,000 years ago. At this time, humans were hunter-gatherers, and eating (and feeding their canine companions) mostly meat. With the development of agriculture about 12,000 years ago, people began to eat more starches (i.e., plant foods), and, unsurprisingly, so did their dogs.
The hungry wolves would have been attracted by the garbage dumps full of food scraps, taking advantage of this convenient new food supply. The wolves would have to adapt not just to being near people, but also to eating their food, which now included starchy grains and vegetables.
The wolves who could digest starch would have had an advantage and today’s domesticated dogs are probably descended from them.
How Does This Affect Your Pet’s Diet?
Dogs do not need meat in order to live. They can survive solely on non-meat sources and are at ease consuming a variety of different food sources.
Essentially, this means that you need to focus on providing the right balance of nutrients to your dog, and this does not have to be exclusively from a meat-based source.
What Should You Feed Your Pooch?
Modern dogs are not wolves and because of human intervention and selective breeding, they come in all shapes and sizes with varied dietary requirements.
An all-meat diet means that there are no fruits, vegetables or supplements and just like humans, our pooches need a varied diet to be healthy.
A balanced diet, which all things in moderation should contain protein (from an animal), vegetables, whole grains and fats (omega 3 fatty acids for skin and brain function).