Discuss ways to improve the quality of your dog's life and longevity through proper nutrition; a place for all of your questions and answers about feeding your pooch!

Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times. Non-informative posts criticizing a particular brand or another poster’s choice of food are not allowed in this Forum. References to any brand of food as "junk," "garbage," or other harsh names will be removed.


Member Since
Barked: Thu Aug 15, '13 11:47am PST 
Maned Wolves, Coyotes, as well as other canids are classified in the Carnivora order but many eat vegetable matter of their own accord in the wild in their natural habitats, INCLUDING grey wolves. They eat vegetable matter DIRECTLY, not from the intestines of prey animals. Some sub-species more than others, and the ratio of vegetable matter they eat goes up in the warmer seasons. Berries, grass, etc. Studies analyzing grey wolf diet proves this. While vegetable matter doesn't play a huge part in their natural diet, it still plays a part.

Research has also shown that grey wolves and dogs produce the starch digesting enzyme, Amylase, in their pancreas, and contain genes that signal the digestion and USE of carbohydrate as a food source. This has also held true for domestic dogs.

Research has shown that not only do they consume vegetable matter, but that their bodies process it and turn it into energy. Unlike the pebbles/plastic/trash argument. While a dog may consume pebbles, their body is unable to process it and convert it into energy. This isn't food, it doesn't perform a function, this is a DISORDER called Pica.

So wouldn't this indicate that some degree of vegetable matter would be part of a species appropriate diet for the domestic dog?


Semper Vorax
Barked: Thu Aug 15, '13 5:56pm PST 
this is a long debated argument around here. Basically, the order of Carnivora is a grouping of dentition, more than anything. The root ancestors of all modern carnivorans were meat eaters. That does not mean that any of them are today. It happens to be the case that MOST of them still are, some more than others. Pandas are almost completely vegeterian. Skunks have gone to insects, raccoons are notoriously omnivorous. Cats are obligate carnivores, it's just a matter of if they like to chase them down or eat them already dead. Bears are omnivorous. Seals are almost entirely carnivorous except for certain types like elephant seals.

Canids sort of occupy a happy medium in terms of carnivoran evolution. They're not the swiftest, they're not the strongest, they're not the biggest or even the smallest, and certainly not the most agile. They're not brilliant climbers, they're not specialized in dentition or claw structure compared to other carnivorans. Easy, happy, adaptable medium. Dogs are even more average than wolves.

But what does that have to do with the diet that they prefer? if you put a steak, a slice of bread, and a plate of carrots and broccoli in front of a dog, it will go for the steak first. They're programmed by nature to prefer high protein, high fat, low sugar diets. Humans are programmed to go after high fat, high sugar, and then equal in high carb/highest protein. That's why kids (hwho haven't got that pesky superego nagging them about healthful or cultural choices) love candy and pasta first, or that hamburger, plain with fries and a coke. Ask a poor person what he chooses to eat, and it will be high carb, high protein, high fat. Is that natural choice of high protein high fat, low carb the best for the dog?

WE don't know for sure. Our natural choices given no societal nagging about healthy choices would have us eating the swill out of fast food restaurants and snack aisles. WE know better because we have researched this. Dogs do not have that capability. What they choose might not actually be the best for them. Dog society does not chastise its members for getting fat or sitting around all day. That's a completely human thing to do.

Ask a person in the 19th century what's best for a dog, and it's simple: whatever I(the human) don't eat. Some scientists think that Dogs entered human society as midden dogs, and once they started interacting and living with humans instead of dwelling on the margins in the wake of humans, it was human diet that changed because a dog could get at food that humans had trouble with. They could protect food that humans would be at great risk defending.

Ask a person from 1930s onward, and kibble is best for the dog. It was advertised, cheap, could be made from ag waste, and hey, it was ready made for our convenience. Dogs live more closely with us now than at any other time in history with the exception of a few nomadic cultures. We are just now discovering what is actually best for them.

In the meantime, it's a matter of each family to discover what is good for their particular animal. Some dogs thrive on high protein, some do not. Some love veggies and fruits, and others tactfully lick the dressing off and bury the plant matter in master's shoes. Some dogs get very sick on even the smallest amounts of fat, while other dogs could survive for a lifetime on seal blubber and yak cream.

Member Since
Barked: Thu Aug 15, '13 9:38pm PST 
My dogs would go for the veggies or bread first on the plate. I've tested it. Fruit would be their first choice, however. One's favorite food is oranges, the other's is watermelon and cheese. This is an easy and quick source of energy. Neither of my dogs are overweight.

What I posted isn't about whom you ask and people's opinions, which is how you're making it sound. I'm talking about what research has uncovered.


I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Fri Aug 16, '13 10:59am PST 
Not a huge part? Really just trace amounts. My dog probably eats more plant matter than what these researchers found European wolves eat when he puts his raw meat on the grass and it gets covered with clippings.
http://www.kirj.ee/public/Ecology/2009/issue_2/ecol-2009 -2-141-152.pdf

Whole prey contains all that carnivores need to thrive. The few nutrients that are low in the basic skeletal meat/bone/low variety of organ diet that most raw feeders can offer are present in the rest of the prey animal.

Dr. Mech doesn't find that gray wolves eat much of the contents of the gastrointestinal tract. Search inside this book and others that may be partly viewed online, this is a random search I made and bookmarked.
http://books.google.com/books?id=_mXHuSSbiGgC&printsec= frontcover&dq=mech,+david&hl=en&ei=f8vQTIq4IIHGsAO04dyiCw&sa=X&oi=bo ok_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Bones%20fro m%20prey%20are%20required%20by%20wolves%20&f=false
http://www.nal.u sda.gov/awic/zoo/WholePreyFinal02May29.pdf

That said what really matters is what your dog needs. Some may do much better with some plant fiber or even fur. Some may need zero plant fiber or even get sick if it is in the food.

Member Since
Barked: Fri Aug 16, '13 2:46pm PST 
"Dr. Mech doesn't find that gray wolves eat much of the contents of the gastrointestinal tract. Search inside this book and others that may be partly viewed online, this is a random search I made and bookmarked. "

Agreed, but I stated that. They shake out the entrails but can't seem to help digesting it when it's smaller prey items. While dogs can of course get all their required nutrients simply from animal products, it would seem that they've (and wild canids) recognized that they can also get some directly from plant sources and it's easier pickings than hunting. Seems that it's become a viable option to improve chances of survival to expend fewer calories in their search for calories.

Interesting how our dogs enjoy green tripe though. Well, most of them. I like the Buffalo Caviar green tripe compressed bones if anyone is interested. Great little chewing activity for the dogs to work on and not too many dogs allergic to buffalo, even my beef allergic poodles. Wish I could recreate it myself but I can't find tripe that isn't loaded with fat and it never seems to dehydrate right.