Are Dogs Carnivores — or Omnivores?


Are dogs carnivores — or omnivores? The Great Debate goes on.
question mark
When it comes to choosing dog food, it’s important to know the answer to that question.

So, if you’ve already been told dogs are indifferent omnivores with no natural preferences…

Or that they’re strict carnivores with an innate aversion to eating fruits and vegetables…

All scientific evidence clearly points to the fact that…

Dogs Have a Natural
and Undeniable Carnivorous Bias

From DNA studies, we know dogs evolved directly from the timber wolf somewhere around 15,000 years ago1.

And, of course, it should come as no surprise. Wolves are clearly carnivores.

So, by their very genetic pedigree, dogs also demonstrate similar and noticeable carnivorous traits. Their teeth, their digestive systems and their behavior clearly confirm this fact.

Yet dogs must also be recognized for their significant omnivorous ability. Their proven ability to digest carbohydrate-based foods has been known for many years.

After all, modern genetic research has proof that ten canine genes play key roles in starch digestion and fat metabolism.2

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

Dogs Don’t Grind — They Chop

For comparison, think about a typical herbivore — a dairy cow. Picture the way they “chew their cud”.

Cows chew widely from side-to-side. And they have broad, flat back teeth. And flat teeth are ideal for grinding grains and plant material into finer particles.

True omnivores (like humans) share this same combination of boxy back teeth and sideways grinding motion common to herbivores. Think of your own mouth and how you chew.

Dogs, on the other hand, don’t have flat teeth. Like all carnivores, they have narrow pointy back teeth.

Plus dogs can’t chew from side-to-side. Their jaws can only move in an up-and-down, chop-chop motion. It’s the perfect combination for cutting meat into smaller chunks.

No Salivary Amylase

Herbivores and omnivores possess one aid to digestion carnivores typically lack.

Carnivores do not produce amylase in their salivary glands.3

Amylase is a specialized enzyme most herbivores and omnivores produce in their saliva. It helps begin the break down of starchy carbohydrates into simple sugars — before they enter the stomach.

Although dogs do produce amylase, the enzyme is added further down the digestive tract — in the pancreas and small intestine.


Digestive Anatomy

Since they consume fewer but larger meals, carnivores have bigger stomachs than their grazing, plant-eating counterparts.

What’s more, meat-eating animals exhibit a higher concentration of stomach acid. This allows faster digestion of animal protein.

And the stronger acid kills the disease-causing bacteria abundant in decaying meat.

What’s more, herbivores have an unusually long gastrointestinal tract — exceeding ten times the animal’s body length. Longer systems like this are needed for consuming a plant-based diet.

Welcome to the Age of Choice

Yet in spite of this natural carnivorous design, dogs have still managed to evolve over thousands of years — even surviving on the meat and non-meat scraps and leftovers of human existence.

So, over time, dogs have proven to be fully capable of thriving on a variety of foods.

Today, the dog food marketplace has become a living, breathing witness to the animal’s adaptive ability — and is abounding with an astonishing array of product designs.

Some favor meat. Some feature vegetables. And others are made almost entirely of cereal grains and beans.

So, how do you choose the right one for your pet?

The Bottom Line

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.


  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.”
  • Crazy4dogs

    Yay!!! It looks like her posts were deleted! :)

  • Crazy4cats

    I think it’s finally over!

  • Bobby dog

    Maybe she should have consulted you before choosing another avatar.

  • el doctor
  • Crazy4dogs

    Wow, I’m so unsavvy! Thanks again BD! :)

  • Bobby dog


  • Crazy4dogs

    Do ya think?! Haha! 😉

  • Crazy4cats

    Hmmmmm? Could it be RAW, perhaps?

  • Bobby dog

    The writing style is very similar…..hmmmmmmmm. I wonder what kind of food Mike feeds his dog(s)!?!? Just type “comment history” in the search box.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Thanks for the confirmation BD! You are amazing! :) I was sure it changed, as did her less than nice reply to me disappeared. How did you do that? Also, is Mike aka karen, aka as Nature intended???

  • Bobby dog

    Hi C4d:
    You are correct in your response to Karen, I mean Mike. An exclamation point was swapped out for a question mark. Here is the original unedited version which you can find in the comment history along with the other comment she deleted from this page:

    As Nature Intended on Are Dogs Carnivores — or Omnivores? “Of course it is. Made up by commercial pet food companies!!”

  • Crazy4dogs

    I’m not positive, but I think the post was edited when we asked which companies and to cite sources as I noticed the question mark after our posts. There had been another comment which is gone. Honestly, asking for information and to cite sources isn’t bullying. If you make statements regarding companies or products you need to be able to back it up. Posters often make incorrect comments based on Internet rumors & people think they’re true, which is why many ask for sources.

  • Mike Turner

    I read it as if she is ASKING, was this made up by the pet food companies.

    It’s clearly not a statement, but a question so how can she??

  • Pitlove

    Hi- We asked her to cite her source that it was made up by commercial pet food companies and which companies said it. It’s not bullying.

  • Mike Turner

    This is a question, not a statement.
    It’s ok Karen, it’s plain to see that these people are showing their intelligence here. Which to me looks like a form of bullying.
    Yes, I agree, of course it is a myth!!
    I too am yet to find a study that validates that meat is known to weaken the immune system and promote cancer growth in a dog Krem.

  • Crazy4dogs

    I realize you have a facebook page that you invited people on this site to visit…….over and over again.

    How would you feel if the very same people that you keep negatively commenting on went to your page to tear apart all of your advice and make negative comments? Not everyone can or wants to feed raw, whether for financial, moral, or whatever reasons.

    I agree with Bobby dog and el doctor. Your continuous comments are counterproductive to your cause. I do feed raw and fresh in rotation, but if I weren’t I would be hard pressed to be convinced by your form of persuasion.

  • Bobby dog

    For you to use Dr. King’s words to further your agenda, well it further proves your astounding ignorance. ~ Bobby dog

  • Pitlove

    I swear Karen will never listen.

  • el doctor

    Here is some food for thought.

    Comments like the one you posted to Kim are not going to help your cause, they are going to alienate people from you and your cause.

    I think you probably have done more harm than good on the Dog Food Advisor in your quest to convince people they should feed raw instead of processed foods like kibble.

    BTW, I agree that dogs should be fed a minimally processed diet.

  • As Nature Intended

    Yes, but dogs are not scavengers!!

  • As Nature Intended

    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
    ― Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Nicholas DeShane

    Or owning a damn rabbit instead of committing animal abuse you jackasses. It is arrogant and egotistical to force human idealism on an animal. If you can’t respect an animal is not just being a human wearing fur don’t own one.

  • Pitlove

    I’m sure she is serious. We like knowing where people’s information comes from.

  • InkedMarie

    You’re the one who said “Of course it is. Made up by commercial pet food companies?!” . DF asked for sources for what YOU said.

  • aquariangt

    haha, the troll gets trolled. You speak with enough vehemence I’d certainly hope you have some citations

  • As Nature Intended

    And you too.. Get off my back.. How the hell would I know, that’s what I was asking??!

  • As Nature Intended

    Are you serious? Get off my back

  • As Nature Intended

    Can’t imagine the stench

  • As Nature Intended

    Exactly! Processed commercial pet food is doggy MacDonalds!

  • Crazy4dogs

    Which companies have said this? I can’t think of any.

  • DogFoodie

    Can you site your source for this, please.

  • As Nature Intended

    Of course it is. Made up by commercial pet food companies!!

  • Krem Finglestein

    Gut flora is not static in a species and can be changed by changes in diet. So the question is, do modern dogs have a different. Flora because of the diet that has been traditionally given to them as part of domestication?

  • Krem Finglestein

    Show me one study that validates that meat is known to weaken the immune system and promote cancer growth in a dog. I believe that is a myth

  • Joel Copeland

    So, you intend on subverting Nature and accelerating the evolution process single-handedly? You can buy meats for carnivores that are not filled with preservatives and hormones; all the things which help engender unhealthy issues such as cancer. And I will personally bet that you will hear about Natural Balance including animal protein in their food, because a “vegan” is simply a marketing ploy for kooks like you.

  • tansysmom

    Dogs are evolutionary omnivores but are genetically carnivorous. This means they are opportunistic eaters. They can subsist on sub-optimal foods but will be far healthier on a heavily meat-based diet. I’m talking about real meat, not that stuff that comes in a bag from the pet aisle of the grocery store.

    I am appalled by the number of grain-based dogfood recipes that come highly recommended. It’s difficult to find even one that isn’t at least 60% rice, which is nothing more than cheap filler and completely lacking in the kind of nutrition a dog needs. This no doubt stems from the misguided notion that what we feed our pets must be dirt-cheap in order for us to find it acceptable. Then, of course, we must spend a ton of money on doggie supplements to fill the many gaps left by a substandard diet, in addition to numerous expensive visits to the vet when the health issues begin to crop up.

  • Joe Conley
  • Stevenlm831

    Dogs have an instinctual bias toward meat. Children do not have an instinctual bias toward sugar. Just like any human that tastes sugar they will begin to crave it. I also believe you missed the point. It specifically states that a dog can survive on practically anything. However, the point is to show that dogs are biased carnivores and should probably be treated as such. Forcing a creamy ideology, literally, down the dog’s throat is not right. Please never own a cat. They are obligate carnivores.

  • Stevenlm831

    I think you completely missed the point or are trying to justify turning your dog into a vegan. Dogs can certainly survive on plant matter. Canids and Ursids possess that unique ability. However, give the choice they will choose meat, besides a few outliers, e.g. The Panda. Because the natural preference is meat you should give it to them, and not try to stuff some misinformed ideology, literally, down their throats. For the cat owners, they are obligate carnivores and cannot survive without meat.

  • wolfdogged

    There are plenty of cases of humans living much longer than the average person, yet they spent most of their lives smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Does that mean it’s okay for another person to smoke like that? Of course not. It just means that one guy that lived a while got lucky.

    If you want to take that chance with an unnatural vegan diet… fine. Good luck.

  • wolfdogged

    That dogs arose from arabian wolves is but one of numerous different “theories”. One of the more current theories, and seemingly gaining a lot of acceptance, is that dogs and wolves both evolved from a common ancestor that went extinct. These articles are good reading, both are about the same study co-written by Robert Wayne

    Further down in the comments I previously made the comparison of dogs with pandas…in detail. We are both essentially in agreement…except that it doesn’t make a dog a “true omnivore”. A true omnivore (bears) has no preference for either plant or meat material and will eat either, whichever it comes across first. Whereas canines have a definite and distinct preference for meat, no one can deny.

    Canids (dogs wolves etc) are facultative carnivores. Carnivores with omnivorous potential if circumstances demand. Meaning they primarily require meat protein as their main source of food, but their digestive systems can also handle moderate amounts of fiber and carbohydrates.

    btw “facultative” (dog) has the opposite definition of obligate carnivore (cats)
    Obligate carnivore in a word means “obligated” to eat meat)
    Facultative: a. Capable of occurring or not occurring; contingent. b. Not required or compulsory; optional.

    You stated, “This actually makes dogs omnivores, even though they come from the order carnivora.”

    All mammals in the order Carnivora ARE carnivores.
    Even “omnivorous carnivores” (omnivores) such as bears, and pandas too, whom have been shown to readily eat meat in captivity.

    For more info please google “facultative carnivore”

  • Stephanie L. Pyke

    first, dogs did not come from timber wolves, they came from gray wolves, the debate is between the tibetan wolf and the arabian wolf. It was significantly longer than 15,000 years, or the native americans would not have dogs. The first peoples brought fully domesticated dogs with them, not wolves. We have dog breeds, (Alaska Klee Kai, Chihuahua, Carolina Dog), that have genetic markers specific to the new world and nowhere else.

    second, if you want to compare how an herbivore is different from a carnivore, your case would be better served comparing dogs to pandas. Pandas are a carnivore with the guts, jaws and teeth of a carnivore, but it eats plants 99% of the time. The reason is due to the microbes in their gut and not the physical construction of their GI system. Dogs also have a differing gut flora from their wild ancestors, which gives them the ability to eat a wide variety of food that wolves can’t. Specifically, they also have gut flora that allows them to process carbs. They get this flora from eating poop.

    This actually makes dogs omnivores, even though they come from the order carnivora. This omnivory is not unique in the order. The feliformes are the ones who have a strict carnivorous bias. in contrast, there are plenty of examples of caniforms that are not strictly carnivorous: Raccoons, most bears, skunks, dogs, and red pandas.

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  • Crazy4dogs

    Yes, I agree. I meant to say home made food link.

  • aimee

    I think the entire purpose of the Golden study is to look for links between environmental/nutritional factors in cancer development and other disease states.

  • Crazy4dogs

    I’m not sure if the golden study would find a food related link in any way. I have several friends that breed and show goldens and from what I understand there were cancer genes passed down genetically from the founding dogs of the breed.

  • aimee

    Interesting! Apparently though, it seems that the anti cancer effect of the level of CLA in red meat in people isn’t enough to offset the “cancer promoting properties” for lack of better wording as higher red meat consumption is often associated with higher cancer rates in people.

  • aimee

    Honestly I don’t even know how valid the outcome from this study will prove to be. Hopefully the lifetime Golden study will give us some good data.

  • Shawna

    Some studies are showing cancer prevention due to the CLA from ruminants.

    This is also from 2000 and in the journal Oncology “Conjugated Linoleic Acid Inhibits Breast Cancer Carcinogenesis”

    “Ruminal bacteria are key to the formation of CLA which explains why CLA production is unique to and found almost exclusively in food products (milk and meat) produced from ruminant animals.” also from same paper “The major interest surrounding CLA is the anticarcinogenic or anti-cancer effects. The National Academy of Science publication entitled “Carcinogens and Anticarcinogens in the Human Diet stated that “conjugated linoleic acid is the only fatty acid shown unequivocally to inhibit carcinogenesis in experimental animals.”

  • Crazy4dogs

    Perhaps, but it’s very interesting that I couldn’t find any other study whatsoever regarding this. It seems to be pretty obscure. Both reports were essentially the same thing done by almost the same people and no one else seemed interested enough to continue the research in almost 20 years.

  • aimee

    Yes I know the paper is older but it is the only one of that type I’ve come across and I’ve seen cited. Clearly this is an area that needs further research.

  • Shawna

    Processed food is known to weaken the immune system.

    I appreciate that your dogs seem to be healthy on a highly processed food (be it meat based or vegetable based) but everyone has their stories. My Chihuahua ate a HIGH meat protein raw diet and when she passed at age 19 she had zero lumps and bumps, bloodwork was normal, no arthritis or ailments of any kind.

  • Shawna

    Diets based around red meats would be deficient in omega 6 fat (the omega found in chicken). I wonder if there would be any correlation?

  • Crazy4dogs

    Dori I found the links on that study. It was from Madrid, Spain in 1998, and the dogs were older, so I’m thinking no. The link is posted in reply to aimee.

  • Crazy4dogs

    aimee, do you realize that the first abstract you listed was done in 1998 on 188 dogs in Madrid, Spain? It seems that the most important factor was that the older dogs that had mammary tumors were obese before age 1? There were also a larger number of obese dogs at presentation. They did link red meat including beef and pork. The second link is from 2000 and is using at least two of the same authors involved in the first one. Here are the articles:

  • aimee

    I haven’t read the full texts but from the abstracts of papers published by the authors: “a habitual diet based on home-made food (rich in beef and pork, and poor
    in chicken) as opposed to commercial food, are also associated with the
    occurrence of mammary tumours”

    “The intake of homemade meals (compared to that of commercial foods) was
    also significantly related to a higher incidence of tumors and
    dysplasias. Other significant risk factors were a high intake of red meat, especially beef and pork, and a low intake of chicken…..In the multivariate analysis, older age, obesity at 1 year of age, and a high red meat intake were independently and significantly associated with the risk of developing mammary tumor and dysplasias.”

    see and

    I haven’t read the paper so I can’t comment of methodology

  • Kim Benson-Custard

    I honestly never intended to start much of a discussion here. I just wanted people to recognize that dogs can survive and thrive on a veg diet. I have one dog who will eat anything, and one very picky dog. They love when I add beans or lentils to their food. They get excited about broccoli, and love peanut butter sweet potato snacks. They are far from deprived, and always get great check-ups. That’s all I’m going to say because not only am I not a debater and I’m used to the world disagreeing with me. 😉

  • Dori

    Aimee. Was that study dry beef diets vs dry poultry diets? Just curious. I’d love to read it if you can post the link. As you may be aware Hannah was diagnosed with bladder cancer and a mass on the lobe of a lung. Thanks much.

  • GSDsForever

    It would be interesting to see whether that includes red meats from grass fed/pastured free range game.

  • GSDsForever

    A well designed homemade vegetarian diet would be a better choice for your dog.

    Yes, it would need to be balanced. You can do that with either the help of a vet nutritionist like DVM DACVN Susan Wynn (who might be an especially good choice for you, given your interest in protecting against cancer & promoting a strong immune system) consulting with your vet long distance OR through a vet school nutrition & balanced diets book, like UC Davis/DVM Donald Strombeck’s Home Prepared Dog & Cat Diets, which includes vegetarian and vegan diets.

    But it would be better than this ultra low protein, low fat, very highly processed (refined flour product) vegan commercial kibble, made by Del Monte (maker of much pet junk foods):

    This is essentially the dog food equivalent of feeding whole grain multi-grain cheerios or multi-grain snack crackers (with a little pea & potato
    thrown in) at every meal to a child as its only foods and expecting it to thrive.

    100% refined flours, grains & potatoes ground up into a fine powder, and cooked into a kibble DO become sugars, just like candy — whether in a human body or a dog body. That’s why we’re NOT supposed to eat lots of chips, crackers, and processed & refined breakfast cereals (even those without ADDED sugars & junk) in our own diets.

  • GSDsForever

    As a vegetarian and one who is fine with feeding a vegetarian diet (a good one) to a dog, I have to agree with aquariangt on this comment.

    And, actually, I feel it is important, given the statements Kim has made above and my knowledge & experience with dogs with cancer, to state that while many, many wholesome vegetarian ingredients are powerfully anti-cancer and a vegetarian diet or an almost vegetarian diet with fish can be cancer preventative —

    When a dog actually HAS cancer, the gold standard diet used to treat cancer and PREVENT FURTHER CANCER GROWTH is a very low carb diet high in highly digestible protein and fat. It needs to be low carbs and low glycemic carbs in particular to be low glycemic, as sugar found in starchy carbs and refined grains feeds cancer growth. This generally means high in animal proteins, whether meat or vegetarian (eggs/cheese/yogurt). Not much that is vegan, other than organic special high protein tofu, fits the bill. Other vegan/plant proteins tend to come with difficult digestibility, too much starch and/or sugar, or too high fiber — especially when it is necessary/recommended to add selected & portioned anti-cancer “super foods” like berries, dark greens, sea vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, red/yellow bell peppers.

    The commercial vegan diet you are referencing would actually have entirely the wrong nutrient profile & glycemic load and PROMOTE cancer growth.

  • aquariangt

    comparing meat to candy is ridiculous. Natural Balance is made by Del Monte, by the way, so I would question the quality of the ingredients included in this food

  • aimee

    There really isn’t much information in this area, but the one study I’m aware of found a higher cancer rate in dogs on red meat vs poultry which parallels what is seen in people.

  • Kim Benson-Custard

    Lol, I’m sorry you want to vote my post down because my dogs are happy and healthy. I’ve actually seen 2 dogs that I loved and cared for die at a young age (6-8) from a crazy weird very rare cancer, what did both they eat? Raw organic beef with a re-hydrated grain mix.

  • vtech

    We made chihuahuas…chihuahuas didnt just evolve from nature….every dog breed you see was a human intervened creation.

  • vtech

    Salmonella, parasites, food borne illnesses. Thats why. Bones, hard ones, shatter in the the intestines and shred the animal from the inside out.

    Rregular vet exams and bloodwork can help determine your pets current health status. If your vet is concerned about lack of nutrients then discuss with them what you will need to do. Also make a list of what you feed, how often, etc and keep them in the loop. Your vet should work with you about any nutritional needs.

  • vtech

    Theobromine (and caffeine) in chocolate IS toxic to dogs. Grapes (though unknown why) causes acute renal failure. Garlic and onions cause Anemia.

    Yes, there are dogs who can seem to eat anything and be fine. Then another dog could take one bite and end up vomiting or in renal failure. As veterinary professional seeing dogs come in everyday to have their stomachs pumped and activated charcoal shoved down their esophaguses and animals coming in with pancreatitis and renal failure due to getting a hold of food they shouldn’t have- it is not a myth is a biological and scientific fact.

    I had a dog who could eat anything, but when he turned about 14 he got a hold of something he shouldn’t have and went straight into organ failure. He survived, but this was a dog who ate garbage and was fine. On the other hand I had other dogs (including a 60lb belgian) who would take one bite of something and I would immediately have to run to be treated.

    Please, do not give your pets that your Vet tells you not to. They are poisonous, all because “he seems fine” does NOT mean he is or that it is a good thing at all.

    Im tired of pets dying because of this. Yes they do die, a lot, and veterinary professionals hearts break a dozen times every single day because an animal dies due to preventable disease or an owner not heeding warnings.

  • theBCnut

    I don’t think so, since she cited the length of digestive tract and the pH preference, etc. I just think she was going at it from an angle I was failing to understand.

  • Deby

    I enjoy the compound word you just invented… I am sitting in court waiting on the judge to come in and needed a little bit of amusement before I presented my argument for my client. Thank you, you have done the trick!

  • Deby

    Ill-will minded? I have to give you credit, you are quite amusing!

  • Deby

    says the guy that keeps replying. I’m leaving to go to work please get a life

  • wolfdogged

    If that amuses you, then I think you are ill-will minded. As I figured you have nothing better to do.

  • wolfdogged

    Carnivores are generally predators that hunt and kill their prey.
    Scavengers can be carnivorous or omniverous. Carniverous scavengers usually consume animals that have either died of natural causes or been killed by another carnivore, such as a vulture. And a cockroach is an example of an omniverous scavenger. And some animals will catch and kill their prey OR scavenge, such as bears.

  • Deby

    I find it amusing that you are getting so excited about this. Using a comma is a replacement for the use of the word “and” in a sentence. So therefore the sentence that you just wrote, in which you actually used the word “and” in replacement of the comma that you had previously used completely corroborates my previous statement. Thank you very much have a wonderful day.

  • wolfdogged

    It’s disappointing you have nothing of any value to add to this discussion.
    Not that it’s even relevant, if I had wanted to include pigs as cud chewers I would have written domestic cud-chewing cattle AND pigs, etc. If you don’t like my English well that’s too F-B.

  • Deby

    By using the comma you were listing. So, therefore, it read as cud chewing cattle and cud chewing pigs.

  • Deby

    And I quote you: “domestic cud-chewing cattle, pigs, etc.” learn how to use commas correctly if you did not intend to insinuate that pigs chew their cud.

  • wolfdogged

    I did NOT write that pigs chew cud. Read the sentence more carefully!.

  • Deby

    Pigs DO NOT chew their cud. F.Y.I.

  • Deby

    30 ferrets!!! Good god I hope you don’t have them living in your house, and only have that many because you are running some sort of a rescue group!

  • Deby

    I think she meant more carnivorous than we are meant to believe.

  • LabsRawesome

    One thousand down votes.

  • Kim Benson-Custard

    I like how this is worded very politically. I will tell you I have 2 dogs both 9-10 years old, fed on the Vegan formula Natural Balance for the last 6 years. We’re constantly getting told people are surprised when we tell them how old our pups are. Our dogs have very few lumps and bumps for their ages. Regardless of omnivore, carnivore, herbivore categories, meat is known to weaken immune systems therefore promoting cancer growth. Yes dogs are going to have a “undeniable carnivorous bias” just like a child is going to have an “undeniable sugary candy bias”.

  • Guest

    no, evolution usually makes use of mutations, too. you are kinda funny, because selective breeding and mutations are not in any way connected.

  • Barry Elder

    Most would disagree that we actually are a part of the process of evolution period. (As in all the way from single celled organisms). Yup, Chihuahuas did come to us via wolves. Fascinating isn’t it?

  • nyalalam nyalalam

    Let me guess, vegetarians are trying to feed their dogs salad and nuts?

  • wolfdogged

    The majority of wolves (and high content wolfdogs) in captivity eat raw meat diets. Very few can stomach kibble, especially the ones laden with carbohybrates, which covers most kibble. Gives them severe diarrhea. Exceptions like Epigen and Orijen are tolerable because of their SIGNIFICANTLY lower carbohydrate content.
    Diet has only a little to do with why wolves live longer in captivity. Btw, feral dogs don’t live long lives either.
    There is a 3rd option, it’s called facultative carnivore.
    I absolutely agree that arguing carnivore vs omnivore is pointless. An example of an omnivore is a bear, which is considered an *omnivorous carnivore* of the taxonomic order Carnivora.

  • wolfdogged

    You’re absolutely correct.
    Here’s an updated list of the TRUE obligate carnivores. Felines (all cats), hyenas, civets, all weasels – includes ferrets, and all pinnipeds – includes seals, walruses, otters, etc.

  • Noelani Bluemist

    Felines are not the only obligate carnivores.. 😀
    I got 30 ferrets that would get very sick if I fed them any plant based food..

  • wolfdogged

    Haha USA Dog Treats
    It really seems that you have no idea at all of what it is you posted means, actually!
    The “generalized” paragraph accompanying each link (says exactly the SAME for all animals on that list) is simply explaining the process by which the saliva is excreted and then to which enzymes are present. That’s where the white and green colored boxes comes into play in the diagram. The green boxes contain the active enzymes for each animal. If you’ll notice the only animal in their list with a green box highlighted for AMY1, to have sufficient salivary amylase, is humans.

    You may wonder why domestic cud-chewing cattle, pigs, etc (on their list) do not have the green boxes also highlighted to show AMY1 is present. This is because the amount of AMY1 they produce is minimal.

    Among domestic livestock, amylase is most abundant in the saliva of pigs. In contrast, the amount of amylase present in human saliva is about 100X’s that present in pigs.

  • USA Dog Treats
  • Dog_Obsessed

    It takes a fairly large amount of chocolate to kill or seriously sicken a large dog, especially if it is milk chocolate. Pet MD makes a chocolate toxicity calculator:

  • Dog_Obsessed

    Wait, doesn’t a scavenger eat already dead things?

  • wolfdogged

    ~~So, without salivary amylase, a dog’s carbohydrate digestion can be decidedly more difficult.~~

    Who exactly decided that nonsense? The raw food propaganda artists, obviously! Tsk Tsk for those who swallow that bunk without question.

    True CARNIVORES are all the mammals in the taxonomic order Carnivora. (Yes there are some animals that are also carnivorous outside this order). However, not one single mammal in this order has salivary amylase. Bears also eat plant matter, yet no salivary amylase. Not even bamboo-eating panda’s have salivary amylase.

    Dogs are facultative carnivores. Carnivores with omnivorous potential if circumstances demand. Meaning they primarily require meat protein as their main source of food, but their digestive systems can also handle moderate amounts of fibre and carbohydrates.

    Omnivorous carnivores (omnivore) such as bears are opportunistic, general feeders not specifically adapted to eat and digest either meat or plant material exclusively.

    Felines are the only true obligate carnivores.They cannot digest plant matter.

    Giant Panda Genome: Answers About the Carnivore that Eats Plants
    See also: The Panda that eats MEAT! Panda caught on camera eating dead antelope.

  • Roy McLemore

    First off how did a discussion about dog food turn into a debate about evolution? Now for the fact that you called me stupid because I believe in God, when the fact is (and let’s just stick to facts no assumptions) that Darwin claims that all life came from one simple organism which reproduced and over time became the complex life forms we have today. Oh and by the way Darwin ASSUMED (remember we are sticking with facts not assumptions) that the simple organism came from a lightning bolt that struck a pool of just the right chemicals to form it. Now later in life after much contemplation on the matter Mr Darwin says “that nature does not jump.” Now the FACT is that all the major animal groups suddenly appear in the forms they are today, not slowly and steadily like Mr Darwin predicted, but in evolutionary terms almost instantly so then that means nature not only jumped but made one huge leap. So just that you understand that means he contradicted himself.

  • theBCnut

    Sorry, maybe I’m dense tonight. The article is about dogs. Humans are omnivores. How can an omnivore be more omnivore than the omnivore that it is? I’m lost…or did you mean that we’re more herbivorous than we are led to believe?

  • Amy

    The article points out carnivorous vs. omnivorous characteristics. Considering the very long length of the human’s digestive tract, our PH level and our body’s aversion to an acidic environment, the low acidity and high alkalinity in our saliva, as well as the way we metabolize cholesterol in small amounts.

  • theBCnut

    How do you mean that, since humans are completely omnivorous?

  • Amy

    This research makes me begin to believe that humans are perhaps much more omnivorous than we are led to believe…

  • zardac

    A scientific theory isn’t a guess.
    It’s an explanation supported by evidence, observation, and experimentation.

    It can be overwhelming evidence…but if you’re seeking proof, go to the liquor store.

  • Kevin Weinberg

    LOL. You believe that the reason women feel pain during childbirth is because a talking snake told one to eat an apple.

    And now you’re laughing at evidence-based scientific claims that use the forces of Natural Selection, Mutation, Gene Flow, and Genetic drift to explain the diversity of life?

    All while you ACTUALLY believe, you **ACTUALLY** believe, that a TALKING SNAKE is the reason why it hurts when women have babies?

    Oh, you creationists. All so stupid

  • kfmush

    My dad once had a girlfriend who’s newfoundland (big dog, but she was a runt for her breed) ate more than 20 lbs of chocolate halloween candy, wrappers and all in a single evening and wasn’t phased. Of course this was all Snicker’s and Milky Way and what not – cheap American chocolates with very little cocoa.

  • kfmush

    Sounds a lot like the medical community for humans. Kid acting up? Take it from the doctor with Shire pharmaceutical advertisements all over his office that the kid needs Adderall.

  • summer

    what about lions? maybe I came from a lion. if I came from a monkey why am I so freakin white?

  • summer

    was it a cockroach??

  • summer

    he below is right. I thought I came from a fish??

  • summer

    u fool. if we evolved from monkeys there would be no monkeys.

  • Andrea Bodnar

    Thank You NSXk..etc!
    I feed raw frozen beef, trachia, bone and tripe,l and also chicken or pork shoulder from the supermarket. I also give wild alaskan salmon oil. she is doing great. I’ve been feeding this for 1.5 years now.

  • LabsRawesome

    I agree. I use a kibble with only 17% carbs. There are a few decent ones.

  • disqus_NsXk2VlHov

    To answer your question: Vets get very little education on nutrition. This is similar to your GP, who you certainly wouldnt ask for a specific and detailed dietary plan (for your lifetime). You would ask a nutritionist. When people ask their vet for nutritional advice it is for day in and day out pet feeding which makes it even worse. Secondly, there are a few brands that are closely involved with vet schools and clinics. They provide tokens, posters, sponsorship, educational items etc etc as a means of influencing young vet students. It is not direct, but it is ever-present in most western vet schools. This is a very logical marketing plan because many of these vet students eventually ending up feeding/selling/recommending the product to future clients. Feed prey model and your dog wont have any deficiencies.

    Remember the scientific fact, also stated by the AAFCO: DOGS HAVE 0% REQUIREMENT FOR CARBOHYDRATE. Kibble is 30-70% carbohydrate. High carbohydrate diets are linked to countless diseases in humans. They are simply a CHEAP energy source for pet food.

  • Kenneth Ty Morris

    One cigarette won’t kill you either. Just a thought.

  • Antonio Fisher

    Aimee, again trust me I’ve had my fair share of lectures on this subject and at the end of the day it’s still considered a theory (guess), no conclusion as scientists have agreed there’s no actual proof. Also keep in mind while many will acknowledge the fact we share 99%MtDNA with chimps we share over 90%MtDNA will ALL other mammals including rats (hence the reason most laboratory testing is done on animals like rats/dogs etc) before certain drugs are pushed into the human population. Again interesting opinions on the subject and I still will have to choose to disagree that any of my ancestors evolved from a primitive ape. But if someone feels closely related to apes they are def entitled to their oppinion as well.

  • aimee

    The apes – chimps, gorillas,etc. are not our ancestors. They’re our cousins. We split off (evolved) from a common ancestor. The fossil and genetic evidence indicates that humans and chimps (with whom we share almost 99% of our DNA) shared an ancestor between 5 and 6 million years ago.

    There is no innate ‘urge’ to evolve. Evolution requires a push (natural selection). The selective pressures on the ancient ancestors varied from one population to the next. Thus, one group evolved human characters. Others didn’t. Selective forces are somewhat random. Thus, not everything evolves in the same way.

  • Antonio Fisher

    Jess you make a great point but your last sentence “Since there are still gaps in the evolution theory we will never know what’s true” this is the main reason I don’t fully accept evolution as oppose to species adaption. So the biggest question again would be why aren’t monkeys evolving into people today?

  • jess

    I feel that dogs arent obliagted carnivore so they need the vitamins and minerals found in plant and fruit

  • jess

    Natural selection is completely random. Evolution didnt happen in a linear format it was more like a tree with tons of branches sticking out everywhere. So at the base it would be the common ancestor of both monkeys and humans but then after different species or groups get transfered around the world different needs arises and new adaptation and mutations are being made. Since there are still gaps in the evolution theory we will never know whats true..

  • theBCnut

    The only discourtesy deleted by moderator here is you because you haven’t learned how to use the English language to express yourself, all you’ve got is profanity and snide remarks. Try explaining your views instead of attempting to insult others. BTW, to have a conversation about a topic does not in any way imply that you believe in said topic. You know what they say about assume. My point was that selective breeding is not the same thing as whatever kind of evolution you want to believe or disbelieve in, unless you think selective breeding is the definition of evolution.

  • Antonio Fisher

    The debate over carnivore versus omnivore is pointless as the dog is neither. There should be a 3rd option (scavenger). The dog is 100% scavenger just like the wolf, hyena, pigs, buzzards, coyotes etc. He’s always had the ability to survive on pretty much any diet regardless of quality and ingredients (hence the reason for the short digestive tract). This is the same reason a wild wolf can live twice as long in captivity and transition from his normal diet in the wild to eating a processed kibble (dog food) while in captivity without having to take the millions of years of evolution for his stomach to adjust.

  • Antonio Fisher

    While I don’t agree with the name calling, I do agree w/ your points about somethings. Evolution theory is not as sound as it was thought to be 30 years ago. Reason being you have to ask the question is people came from monkeys why didn’t this occur with all monkeys, were the other monkey’s genetically inferior or mentally slower than the ones that supposedly made the transition. The same question for dogs and wolves, if all dogs came from wolves why didn’t this naturally occure with the entire wolf population and why aren’t these type of changes still occuring today?

  • Ken

    So your dumbass believes in the outdated Gradual Evolution Religion instead of the more modern Punctuated Evolution Religion? LMAO! Never has 1 kind of animal changed into another kind of animal. You can have all the faith you want in your Evolution Religion but that NEVER happens in real life.

  • Ken

    Your great grandmother was a monkey? LOL. Another brainwashed idiot who thinks fish can magically shape shift into non-fish. The Faith Based Evolution Religion is laughable. Personally, I think walnut trees shape shifted into ants and then ants into rabbits and then rabbits into dinosaurs. LMAO!

  • thinker

    Mr./Ms. Ignorant,

    We and the monkeys came from a common ancestor.

  • Pattyvaughn

    The dose for milk chocolate is 1 ounce per pound of body weight, so an 80 lb dog would have to eat 80 oz of milk chocolate to get a fatal dose. The purer the chocolate, the lower the dose, but it is still more chocolate than most dogs are likely to get.
    With grapes, they are not sure what causes the problem and some dogs are much more sensitive than others. A friend of mine had her kids play catch the grape with their dog. They figured she ate around 6 grapes. She is an overweight 50-60 lb dog and she was sick for a week. Other dogs have had much higher doses and shown no effects at all. Either some grapes are not poisonous and some are or it is a substance that is applied to some grapes but not all or some dogs are more susceptible to them than others.

  • Cassb007

    Fascinating comments, thank you. I’ve been told all my life that chocolate has an enzyme that kills dogs. Yet, my ridgeback devoured a chocolate, in our absence, and was perfectly fine. She also ate grapes and raw carrots, by a cider, and again, was fine. I would be never porpisy risk it, but I’ve been told many times about digs eating solid chocolate without affect. So.. Is it a myth? Is it a genetic predisposition? Is it a matter of their current state of health? Is it a difference among breeds, size, age, gender, geography, environment, type of chocolate? I’m so curious!

  • Crazy4cats

    You might have, sweet cheeks, but I didn’t!!!! LMAO

  • LabsRawesome

    LMAO. No, we did not.

  • Bob

    Its hard to believe that we came from monkeys too, but that’s life sweet cheeks.

  • Andrea Bodnar

    Here’s my question: If dogs are carnivores, ( as I assume based on my research) then why do vets always seem to complain that an all diet made up or raw meat, bone, and organs, with occasional fish, eggs and fish oil, may not be nutritionally balanced?
    Also when I go to the vet, what test do I ask for to see if this diet is lacking in any nutrients?

  • Pattyvaughn

    Evolutionist have had to embrace natural selection, because at least it can be proven. Otherwise they have a very pretty theory, but nothing else. And as evolutionists will tell you, evolution takes time, natural selection can happen in an instant.

  • Danny Bowen

    Evolution is a larger theory.. which includes all of the above. genetic mutation is one way to evolve.. the other way can be through “natural selection”.. natural selection can mean, some animal likes you and spreads the seeds.. so you evolve.. or.. you have thicker fur, so you survive.. and others die.. It’s less about genetic mutation, and more about survival of the fittest.

  • Pingback: Dogs are Carnivores–Why You Should go Grain-Free with #DiamondNaturals | Terrier TorrentTerrier Torrent()

  • Pattyvaughn

    You just said they are the same and then gave an example of how one involves a mutation and the other involves breeding for specific genes that are already present, proving that they are not the same thing. Evolution involves nonfatal gene mutations. Selective breeding happens in the wild, when an environment and specific circumstances become the selectors for the genes that are already present. A lot of people do not seem to understand the difference, but if the gene already exists for the trait, then it is selective breeding that brings out the trait, not evolution.

  • Matt Davis

    I’ll help clear this issue. Yes selective breeding and evolution are exactly the same. The only difference is that in evolution, the “selector” is the environment. For example, look at the huge muscular cows (blue belgium). One cow at one point had a mutation in a gene that made it VERY muscular. Humans selectively bred that cow so now they all have this mutation. That’s an example of selective breeding with a mutation involved.

  • Pingback: House Cats, Obligate Carnivores | Cryptic Philosopher()

  • DogInaHumanSuit

    Dog’s didn’t evolve ‘directly’ from the timber wolf. Most breeds evolved from the same ancestor as the timber wolf. A small detail, but an important one. Some dog breeds, like most canaan dogs, actually came from a separate species then the grey wolf all together. Newer research is showing that some dog breeds even started evolving along side, not from, the wolf. With so many different breeds, and no documentation of their history, it’s impossible to pin point one specific ancestor to all dog breeds. Also, most ‘ancient’ looking breeds, like spitz, can not be proven to be any older then modernized breeds like lab, and appear to have been derived outside of the wolf range, meaning, they very likely have little, if any, wolf genetics.

    It’s a common and not very important misconception to say dogs evolved from wolves, but it’s an annoying inaccuracy.
    Other then that, this article did make a few good key points.

  • Pattyvaughn

    In selective breeding man can’t breed for a trait that isn’t genetically there already. Selective breeding is also what happens in the wild when the strongest survive, the trait was already there.
    Evolution would be when the wolf and bears common ancestor split off to specialize or when the llama ancestor became a camel.

  • Pattyvaughn

    In selective breeding, the genes for the trait are already there, just not necessarily expressed. In evolution, a mutation changes the genes to something that was never there before. Mutations are usually fatal, which would be one reason why evolution is actually a very slow process.

  • Shawna

    Wow, that’s a good question..
    I think one way they are different would be that in selective breeding they are breeding for a specific trait — flatter face, smaller, longer nose, friendlier disposition or whatever. In natural evolution the healthiest, strongest, fastest etc would survive to breed.

  • D.H.C.

    General curiosity, how would selective breeding and evolution be different?

  • Pattyvaughn

    So in your view are selective breeding and evolution the same thing?

  • B Tog

    The link between wolf and dog is settled, proven science. Evolution can work in both small steps and big steps, depending on what segments of the DNA are affected. In the case of dogs, one alteration from wolves involves Neoteny, aka, juvenilization. Most dogs retain the characteristics of wolf puppies–large eyes, floppy ears, etc.–throughout their life. We brought corn from being a tiny, multi-colored, mealy-tasting starch to an large, uniform, ever-sweet starch in a matter of a few hundred years. Doing the same sort of transformation over 15,000 years? No problem.


    All dogs evolved from Timber Wolves? Why not foxes, coyotes or other smaller canines? I just find it hard to believed that a chiwawa comes from a wolf.

  • InkedMarie

    Dogs love pb. Mine do but I stopped, I think of the mess I cleaned up & can’t do it!

  • Frank J. Casella

    Macadamia – that is it, now it comes back to me. Thank you Hound Dog Mom! Whew!! It would’ve probably come to me at 2am … ha!!

  • Frank J. Casella

    Good point. You wonder why they put pb in those treats in the first place??

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Peanuts/peanut butter are safe for dogs – not the healthiest food for them but they love it. I work at a shelter and we give the dogs kongs with peanut butter at night before we close. You’re probably thinking of macadamia nuts – they’re toxic to dogs.