Are Our Dogs Carnivores Or Are They Omnivores? That Is The Question!

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Are Our Dogs Carnivores Or Are They Omnivores? That Is The Question!

Are Dogs Carnivores — or Omnivores?

A long-standing debate on the topic of dogs being carnivores — or omnivores rages on today with more fervency than ever before. Our dog's health and nutrition intake are at the center of all critical debate across the entire pet industry. Understanding, the answer to the question of whether or not our dogs eat meat only or can eat just about anything is of the utmost relevance.
Thankfully, historical data points to the one simple truth that dictates the relevance and imperative knowledge that comes with this answer. When it comes to choosing dog food, we must know the answer to this question. It is literally a matter of life or death for our dogs. Therefore, are dogs carnivores or are they omnivores?

All scientific evidence clearly points to the fact that…

Dogs Have a Natural
and Undeniable Carnivorous Bias

Our dogs are wild dogs. Our sweet cuddly pups are direct descendants of the timber wolf of 15,000 years ago1. Wolves only feed on flesh. Therefore, by genetic pedigree, our dogs too maintain the noticeable and distinguishing traits of carnivorous. All dogs have well defined front canine teeth, their digestive systems and their behaviors all confirm this historical fact.

Now, it's not to say that our pups do not have omnivorous abilities. In fact, such 'abilities' have grown over the years. Almost exclusively with the influx of kibble into our dog's diet. 

After all, modern genetic research has proven that there are ten canine genes playing key roles in starch digestion and fat metabolism.2

Nevertheless, a dog still shows unmistakable evidence that its body is optimized for eating meat.

Dogs vs. Cows = Chop vs. Grind

Cows are our typical herbivore - they chew their crud. Chewing from side-to-side with flat back teeth for smoother grinding. Grinding is what's needed for grains and other herb life to filter into smaller, finner, more digestible pieces. 

For instance, humans are omnivores, we can easily chew (carnivore) or grind (omnivores) meats, vegetables and well, just about anything else we want to consume. On the other hand, if you examine your dog's mouth you will not find flat teeth, most common in herbivores. They have ancestral wolf or carnivore teeth, all narrow and pointy. 

Dogs do not, in fact, they cannot chew from. 

No Salivary Amylase

Amylase is a specialized enzyme produced within most herbivores and omnivores' saliva. Amylase is the enzyme that helps starchy carbohydrates break down into simple sugars — before they enter the stomach. Carnivores lack this particular and necessary enzyme for proper digestion of grains and specific fruits and vegetables in their saliva.3

 

A Carnevors Anatomy

Dog's, well, carnivores in general have much larger stomach sacks then herbivores or omnivores do. Another insightful and impressive factor of carnivores and our dog's digestion track is that they exhibit a higher concentration of stomach acid. A higher level of stomach acid ensures that our dogs and other carnivores can quickly and easily digest proteins at a rapid pace. 

Many dog owners debate on the issue of disease-causing bacteria often found in raw meats. Such bacteria may even kill humans but due to the significantly higher levels of stomach acid dogs do not have this issue. The strong acid produced in a dog or carnivores stomach completely kills any such bacteria generated in decaying meat. 

The Evolution Of A Dog's Digestive Track

Yet in spite of this natural carnivorous design, dogs capacity to survive even with the human intercession of 'choice' foods, we see that dogs are capable of thriving on a plethora of food options. 

Today, the dog food marketplace has almost made a mockery of our dog's ancestral needs.

How do dog parents know what to feed their dog's anymore? 

The Truth Is

Knowledge is power. Fully understanding that our dogs are in fact carnivores by design we must make the most educated decisions for our dogs. We recognize that feeding our dog's the right way is the best way.

We one hundred percent back giving preference to a more meat-rich, protein-dense product. 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. Foods such as Smack raw dehydrated dog food, or treats such as bully sticks rather than whole wheat biscuits. It's simple choices we can make that will help determine the outcome of our dog's lifespan and quality of life. 

Footnotes

  1. Lindblad-Toh K, Wade CM, Mikkelsen TS, et al, “Genome sequence, comparative analysis and haplotype structure of the domestic dog”, December 2005, Nature 438 (7069): 803–19 
  2. Axelsson E. et al, The genomic signature of dog domestication reveals adaptation to a starch-rich diet, Nature, 2013 Jan 23, doi: 10.1038/nature11837, Science for Life Laboratory, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology, Uppsala University, 75237 Uppsala, Sweden 
  3. Animal Health Diagnostic Center, Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine 
  4. 11/17/2014 Removed: “So, without salivary amylase, a dog’s carbohydrate digestion can be decidedly more difficult.” 

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