vet told me wolves eat stomach contents

This is a dedicated place for all of your questions and answers about Raw Diets. There are also some really cool groups like "Raw Fed" on the topic you can join. This forum is for people who already know they like the raw diet or sincerely want to learn more. Please remember that you are receiving advice from peers and not professionals. If you have specific health-related questions about your dog's diet, please contact your vet!

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Barked: Tue Aug 7, '12 2:37pm PST 
my vet told me i must add vegetables to the raw diet for it to be balanced because wolves ate the stomach contents of their prey. can someone provide with evidence to disprove this? because it just kind of worries me.

Work? What's- that?
Barked: Tue Aug 7, '12 2:46pm PST 
Your vet is full of crap. All you need to defeat that nonsense is some common sense.

This is a myth that has been spinning around for a decade or two, perpetrated by the people who are trying to get dogs on vegan diets. Because obviously if a wolf pack kills and downs a moose, and consumes the entire carcass, including the .05% that the stomach contents make up of that animal, that means it's a dietary requirement, probably the only thing they need.


Wolves actually graze on more grass than what they eat in stomach contents. It's to keep their bellies full. Wildlife researches estimate that wolf packs only catch about one out of every 100 animals they try to down, and even then, only a small number of those are they actually able to kill (they abandon some catches because they are too dangerous to try and kill).

An animal is not defined by what it WILL eat (many domestic dogs would be "poopivores" if that was the case), but what it is DESIGNED to eat. Both from a biological and anatomical perspective, the domestic dog is about as much a carnivore as you can get.


Wolves shake out the stomach contents of large prey and eat the stomach lining. Why would any self-respecting predator actually choose to devour plant matter bathed in hydrochloric stomach acid? They'd suffer severe chemical burns to their entire upper digestive tract.

In an animal such as a rabbit, they do eat the stomach contents, but this is not so much a result of attempting to do that as it is the stomach being too small to reasonably separate the contents from the stomach. They just devour it whole.


A balanced raw diet is based around the 80/10/5/5 ratio, and keeping enough variety in protein sources.

80% meat, 10% bone, 5% liver, 5% other secreting organ. Make sure at least one of your protein sources is red meat (feeding just chicken and turkey is nutritionally sparse).

The ratios really only need to be rough. I don't even really keep track of it anymore after feeding this way for a year and a half now. I just feed whatever seems right. Still have a healthy and strong dog. There are some breeders who have been feeding prey model for decades.

Pureed veggies may be good if your dog needs fiber or bulk in his diet but that's about it.

Edited by author Tue Aug 7, '12 2:52pm PST


Do you even- lift?
Barked: Tue Aug 7, '12 2:55pm PST 
L. David Mech, considered to be the world's leading wolf biologist, states wolves do not eat the stomach contents of large prey. From his book, Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation:

"Wolves usually tear into the body cavity of large prey and...consume the larger internal organs, such as lungs, heart, and liver. The large rumen [, which is one of the main stomach chambers in large ruminant herbivores,]...is usually punctured during removal and its contents spilled. The vegetation in the intestinal tract is of no interest to the wolves, but the stomach lining and intestinal wall are consumed, and their contents further strewn about the kill site." (pg.123)

"To grow and maintain their own bodies, wolves need to ingest all the major parts of their herbivorous prey, except the plants in the digestive system." (pg.124)


That's proof enough for me, but it's also worth noting that most vets don't receive much education on canine nutrition period, much less on raw diets, so I would take nutritional advice from any vet with a grain of salt.

Edited by author Tue Aug 7, '12 3:02pm PST


Ember FDX

Go Go Devil- Bunnies!
Barked: Tue Aug 7, '12 3:00pm PST 
Is this a conventional vet, or a holistic vet?

Either way, wolves don't eat the stomach contents themselves. You could make an argument for adding a low fiber content on the basis that they do eat what's attached to the stomach lining, as well as what's in small prey stomachs, loads of fur and often feathers, and forage for some roughage (although most dogs do that on their own anyway).

I tend not to put much weight on conventional vets say nutrition-wise, although I suppose that's unfair. There are medical reasons to add fiber to any diet, especially when you get into holistic care. And in holistic care, there is often not an overt illness the way there is in conventional care, which is why I asked... If you're seeing a holistic vet who suspects kidney weakness, for instance, they may order extra fiber.

The world is my- food bowl!
Barked: Wed Aug 8, '12 6:11pm PST 
From personal experience, I can tell you that this myth has been debunked. My dog Charlie has discarded the stomach contents of almost every rabbit that he has eaten.

From what I understand, dogs will consume the entire stomach of some small prey because it's difficult to nit pick through the organs, but with larger prey they will avoid the half-digested matter.

On an equally disgusting note, Charlie does chomp right through those poop-filled intestines. Gross dog.

Barked: Wed Aug 8, '12 6:32pm PST 
He was a conventional vet. Also he told me that i must feed a supplement to avoid a phosphorus calcium imbalance. Is he incorrect on this as well?

I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Wed Aug 8, '12 7:16pm PST 
He is absolutely incorrect on that as well. When Max gets 10% bone his calcium/phosphorus are precisely where they belong and they are in balance.

Since feeding raw can go from premade patties that include a lot of veggies and supplements to homemade BARF that is mostly chicken backs and necks with pureed veggies with ground meat to people offering occasional bones with some meat to occasional meat with a little bone to people who only read the first couple steps of feeding raw and are stuck on feeding chicken backs and such to raw feeders like us who have worked very hard to understand what dogs need and do our best to give it to the dogs vets need to be cautious about saying raw fed dogs are fine. Teeth probably get clean on dogs fed lots of bony chicken but they are missing out on some minerals and vitamins and getting far more calcium and phosphorus than required.

dog-sitter in- charge.
Barked: Wed Aug 8, '12 9:25pm PST 
when i give ghost a whole rabbit (about 7lbs) the whole thing is eaten, fur, stomach, intestines, everything, but he normally leaves the stomach and intestines for last and seems rather reluctant but eats them when other dogs or outside crows start looking.. laugh out loud

I want to play!
Barked: Wed Aug 8, '12 10:59pm PST 
Saya has refused to eaten one rabbit stomach and intestines, and once a whole quail intestines she ate the quails stomach she usually eats all of the quail.

Her second bunny meal she ate it all.. Not sure if first time was due to being new to eating whole bunny or what.. These are little bunnies though not big adults..

I plan to buy an adult from hare today next time I order in the winter so we'll see.

Clown Dog
Barked: Tue Dec 4, '12 7:37pm PST 
i always wondered which theory was correct. one thing i would like to do, and i suppose you can as well. is watch a documentary on wolves. and see what they do.? makes sense to me, smile
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