Dogs are omnivores (sorry to burst your bubble)
Nope. Dogs are opportunistic carnivores, not omnivores.
In the fifteen thousand years it’s now believed dogs have lived beside humans, they’ve evolved. So, too, have humans. We’ve shifted from that Paleolithic, hunter-gatherer diet to one that reflects an agrarian condition.
In the case of dogs, we’ve found a few genes that reflect this adaptation. So, too, have we found genes that indicate a neurologic adaptation to cohabitation with humans. But just a few genes’ difference is regarded as an adaptive shift to a condition. These alone can’t possibly alter the entire digestive evolution of a species.
Indeed, dogs still have plenty of traits that are 100 percent carnivorous:
- Dogs’ teeth are adapted to a carnivorous diet (for tearing muscle and crunching bone to extract marrow).
- Many of their innate behaviors are carnivorous in nature. Consider digging, for example. Like wolves, dogsdig to hide parts of meals for future ingestion.
- Dogs, like many large mammalian carnivores, are metabolically able to survive for long periods of time between meals.
- Dogs have a lot of flexibility in metabolic pathways to help make up for a feast-or-famine lifestyle and a wide range of possible prey.
The result of these findings, argues Dr. Hendriks, is that the dog is undeniably a true carnivore. The dog just happens to have an adaptive metabolism as a result of living with humans for millennia.
Knowing that dogs are optimized for eating meat can make it easier to recognize better dog foods.
Even though dogs do demonstrate a notable omnivorous capacity, we believe it’s important to give preference to meat-based products. That’s because…
Whether you believe they’re carnivores or omnivores, dog’s possess an undeniable carnivorous bias
Meat-based dog foods are closer to a dog’s natural ancestral diet. They’re more like the real thing.
Dogs ARE very adaptable, but just because they can survive on an omnivorous diet does not mean it is the best diet for them. The assumption that dogs are natural omnivores remains to be proven, whereas the truth about dogs being natural carnivores is very well-supported by the evidence available to us.