What the heck is a facultative carnivore? Aren't dogs omnivores?


Neal: Hey, it's Neal from Growlies. Today I wanted to talk about what is a facultative animal, as opposed to people who think that dogs are omnivores. Let's just quickly cover that topic. Before I do that though, real quickly, head on over to talks.growlies.ca. That's T-A-L-K-S.growlies G-R-O-W-L-I-E-S.ca, and check out series of interviews that are pre-recorded for you to watch at your leisure. They're free, and I hope you enjoy them.

Facultative carnivore or omnivore. Let's start with cats. Cats are what are called obligate carnivores, and that includes lions and pumas and kitty cats. Your little household kitty cat is a cat, and they are an obligate carnivore. That means that their guts, their digestive tract, is in no way acclimated or evolved to handle carbohydrate. Where dogs are considered facultative carnivores, they're not actually omnivores. Anybody who tells you they're an omnivore has a economic reason to call a dog an omnivore, usually because they're selling carbohydrate-rich diets, which are actually inappropriate for a facultative carnivore.

How do we know they're not omnivores? Because you're going to tell me there's a study that show that they're omnivores. I can tell you how they're not omnivore. Clearly, that study was flawed. The study, if you're referring to the same one that I looked up, was actually all about done on pigs by somebody who studies pigs, and then they used that data to talk about dogs and amylase. Amylase being the digestive enzyme that the pancreas makes in order to digest carbohydrate. Some dogs have varying amounts of amylase. Some dogs make a small amount, and some dogs make a little more. Your dog may be lucky enough to have a pancreas that makes a little more amylase.

You know how you know they're not an omnivore and that they're actually something in-between an omnivore, human or pig, where we can eat everything, or an obligate carnivore, where they have no amylase at all and can't digest carbohydrate and actually, it gets in the way of proper digestion. How do we know that they're not an omnivore like humans and pigs? Feed them a carrot. Give them a carrot. It'll come out in chunks, completely undigested, because they have no ability to break down the cellulose using cellulase. When they talk about omnivores, they always talking about amylase, and they have a little amylase and they can deal with some carbohydrate.

The carbohydrate they're supposed to deal with are seasonal fruits, when things are sweet and yummy and delicious, and there are all these extra calories are available that amylase comes into play for dogs. What it doesn't happen though, is they have no ability to break down cellulose. They have no cellulase. So you feed them a carrot, they poop out a carrot. Dogs, cats, can't eat those things. They are nothing but fiber to them. Whereas when you give it to a human or a pig, they will digest those. They will take care of them without issue. That shows that that's what an omnivore is, whereas a facultative carnivore might eat those things, but can't use those things.

Don't make their diet a diet designed for an omnivore while they are not omnivores, they're facultative carnivores, which means not an obligate carnivores. They will eat anything to stave off starvation, but they need meat, backbone and organ in order to be healthy and thrive.

I guess I've hammered to that point till it's dull. I appreciate your time. I appreciate you guys watching, and check out Growlies Talks at talks.growlies.ca. Cheers all.