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Natural Diet of the Carnivore
Dogs are adaptable and opportunistic, and will eat pretty much anything that is edible to survive, but recent studies have shown that dogs are actually carnivores – meat eaters – and not the omnivores – meat and plant eaters – that we’ve previously been told. While dogs have been part of our lives for an estimated 14,000 years, this is but a blink of an eye from an evolutionary perspective: dogs still share some of the genetic makeup of the gray wolf, its ancestor, and this is most obvious when observing their anatomy and physiology: their powerful teeth, acidic intestines, and short digestive system. This last point is a key indicator that dogs are carnivores: the short GI tract does not allow for fermentation, a trait found in omnivores and herbivores that enables them to break down carbohydrates through fermentation.
Dogs are predators and have evolved to be meat-eating machines. The natural diet of the Timber Wolf, one of dog’s closest living wild relatives, is made up of deer primarily, as well as beaver, rabbit, rodents, and other small animals. When food sources are lean, wolves and wild dogs can supplement their diet with eggs, fish, fruit, seeds, nuts, and grasses until the hunting is better.
Next article in series – Not all foods are created equal.