Friday, June 30, 2017

Our Domestic Dogs: Omnivores or Carnivores?

No matter how unbelievable it may sound, the fact is, that our modern dogs share 99% of their DNA with the wolf.

However disturbing or fascinating you may find it, this is what it comes down to, regardless of our love or hate of the wolf.

In fact, while the wolf is classified as Canis lupus, the previous taxonomy classification, which used to name dog as Canis familiaris, a whole separate species, has been reclassified and now the domestic dog is classified as Canis lupus familiaris.

Why did I choose this subject and who the heck cares if a dog is classified as a subspecies of the Canis lupus?  Because one major part of their mutually tightly shared DNA is the dog´s orientation when it comes to nutrition. Our domestic dog is a carnivore, just like his ancestors and, yes, just like the wolf.

Contrary to the popular misconception widely distributed by the processed pet food industry, the millions of years of evolution have not changed the dog´s DNA and neither his digestive tract. And the past fifty years or so, of worldwide popularity of commercial processed pet food have not caused an evolutionary change in our dog´s nutritional requirements and organ functions.

This does not mean that a dog is a strict (obligate) carnivore. Both dogs and wolves are occasional scavengers and can be quite opportunistic. There are many reported cases and studies of wolves eating berries, herbs, fruits and scavenging for dead fish, etc. Another words, when there is a shortage of game, they will eat whatever is available to survive. Their diet also varies quite a bit based on where they live and what possibilities they have.

Also remember one important thing: 

Being able to survive on inappropriate diet is a completely different thing than thriving on it.

Our modern dog may like and into certain extend digest and utilize fruits, vegetables and herbs, but for proper body functions, for his vitality, longevity and ability to pass the healthy genes to the next generation, the dog relays on meat sources and animal based protein and fats.
Another words, dogs, just like all other animals of the world, need species appropriate diet, and (not only) their DNA tells us clearly what kind of diet it should be.

Grains, legumes and starchy vegetables, used in so much excess in the production of commercial pet foods are not only inappropriate for our canine companions, but unhealthy, causing disease, nutrient deficiency and malnutrition and significantly shortened life span.

Of course there are so many other factors that play an important role in our dogs´s health, but that is a topic for some other time.

I just wanted to briefly touch base with you today, on this very important fact, so often twisted and altered, for one simple reason – business interest.

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