|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.
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