Are Dogs Carnivores — or Omnivores?

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Are dogs carnivores — or omnivores? The Great Debate goes on.
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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.

Edited4

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.

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.”
  • biblebill

    I will always remember the statement cancer is 97% diet related [ what you put into your body] .There is a cause for every effect Which Dr.’s obviously don’t understand .

  • haleycookie

    I’m sorry but you’re clearly not a doctor or even seem to have ever been to a doctor in your life seeing as how the medical profession is a “disaster”. These people spend their lives learning and studying only cancer in humans. There is plenty of proof that show cancer is related to genetics and sometimes strikes completely at random unfortunately. You’ve also clearly never had a family members have cancer. So continue believing what you want but just because you “feel” like cancer is caused by the diet and environment doesn’t mean or prove anything, goodbye.

  • biblebill

    O yea , cancer is 97% diet related what you put into your body excluding envirormental factors like living near a power plant etc !.

  • biblebill

    haley , Children or even infants are exposed to tons of chemicals from the 1st day of birth either from women who breast feed and eat all kinds of junk food with chemicals in them as well as “formula” which is loaded with chemicals . There are children everywere who eat terrible because the parents do and don’t care about eating right or what they give their child .
    I drove a school bus had a 3yr old he had for breakfst coolade and doritos both full of artificial chemicals etc . He was sickly all the time .Everone eats terrible and they feed their kids what they eat .
    You do not have to get breast cancer even if you have a genetic history that is nonsense when you say no matter what .
    Take Angalena Jolie here mother died from breast cancer so she thought itwould be that way for her so she had her breasts lopped off . How do you know how her mother ate maybe she ate a high fat[ animal] diet deep fried foods, no whole grains or fruit/veg ate foods with chemicals in them if she eats different than her mother did she wouldn’t get breast cancer but she didn’t understand that .Do you undwerstand ?
    Please don’t tell me about oncologists the medical profession is a complete disaster . They are clueless about cause and effect .

  • Rebecca Holcomb

    A cancerous cell is a cell with a mistake / mistakes in the DNA strand which occur during replication. When replication of a deformed cell gets out of hand it interferes with body processes which causes the diagnosis of cancer. Cancer can be caused by food, chemicals genetics, old age and a host of other factors. ( Note that when I say animals I’m also referring to humans) As an animal ages the replication quality of their cells begins to degrade because copies of copies naturally break down over time. It does not matter how healthy you eat how well you avoid certain chemicals an individual is still at risk for developing cancer because essentially cell replication is like making copies of an image from other copies instead of the original and like a photo, the replication quality of DNA degrades as time wears on. That being said, everyone including those with genetic dispositions to types of cancer can lessen their odds with proper diet and just because everyone has some cancerous cells does not mean they will develop the diagnosis of cancer.
    Just because you as an individual did not hear about cancer back in the day does not mean it wasn’t around and to make such an assumption is a fallacy because flukes in the DNA replication process happen every day they always have and always will. There fore odds are that there were animals back in the day who could have been clinically diagnosed with cancer and likely weren’t because they either didn’t see a doctor or didn’t know what cancer was back then. Usually the body can break down those poorly replicated cells but for some it doesn’t, something goes wrong either the body doesn’t recognize the cancerous cell and doesn’t kill it or the immune system is weakened by stress, age and who knows what else. For you to say that you didn’t hear about cancer way back when and there fore it was not around is illogical. For you to say some cancer cases are caused by dog food there for all cancer cases are caused by dog food is illogical because there are numerous cases in which people or animals are on the proper diet and avoid things that are bad for them but still get cancer due to other factors.

  • haleycookie

    Please try and explain this to all of the young children that have cancer and haven’t even had the time to expose themselves to any harmful chemicals and all the women who have breast cancer because of a gene mutation that will eventually give them cancer no matter what they do. Please talk to a real oncologist before you go around telling people they won’t get cancer unless they eat chemicals in their diet. While that is a factor it is certainly not the only one

  • biblebill

    Look this is simple . In biblical times people had domesticated dogs and since the people rarely ate red meat neither did the dogs , because you would have to go through the laborious process of preparing the animal, there were no processing plants . How much red meat would you eat if you had to go out in your back yard and kill the animal go thru all the preparing cook it , skin it, cut out the fat, etc .
    They are mans best friend so they are compatible to eating like humans do which the best way is whole grains, fruit/ veg, whole dairy, fish, chicken, turkey exclude the fruit/ veg because dogs do not need that food group because they produce their own Vit C.

  • biblebill

    Rebecca, normal cells have the potential to turn cancerous if you red line so to speak [ eating food and water with chemicals] Normal cells don’t just switch over to cancerous for no reason or because of genetics .
    Some people will never get cancer no matter how many chemicals they take in from food and water because of genetics . People who have a genetic disposition toward cancer will if they take in lots of chemicals from food and water .People who have a genetic disposition to cancer will never get cancer if they eat right food and water without chemicals .
    Same with heart disease it is hereditary if you eat wrong[ a high saturated fat diet from animal meats and lots of refined carbs] you will get a heart attack .
    It is not a fallacy that cancer in dogs was unheard of before chemical laden food and water especially dog food your wrong .I or we didn’t hear about cancer in dogs going back in time is because they didn’t get cancer for the reasons stated above .There was no chemical laden dog food or real food and water going back in time .
    Cancer is flat out caused by chemicals in the dog food as well as people food ,your simple wrong .

  • Rebecca Holcomb

    Cancer cells are always present in every one of us. The problem arises when the body for what ever reason fails to eliminate these cells which are poorly replicated copies of regular cells. The abnormal cells begin to multiply rapidly and take over, interfering with normal body functions. Cancer can be both hereditary and caused by external influence. The diet of any animal can effect their chances of developing cancer but to say that dog cancers were unheard of and there fore not a problem before dog food was invented is a fallacy on your part. All that means is you as an individual simply did not hear about it and because each cancer case is different it is unfair for you to make the assumption that every case of cancer in every dog is caused by cancer.

  • Rebecca Holcomb

    Bears are more similar to people than dogs when it comes to the foods they’re built to eat and regardless of the shape of an animals teeth a dogs digestive tract is much shorter than people or bears. They weren’t built to eat primarily plant matter. They do need some to supplement for vitamins and minerals and to keep digestion regulated but at the end of the day they’re much more carnivorous than they are omnivorous. Doesn’t mean they can’t tolerate omnivorous diets but just because they’re able to break it down does not mean that it is ideal for them. Horses and deer occasionally eat small birds but you don’t see people putting chicken in their horses’ diet. Why do we apply that logic to dogs.

  • biblebill

    Excellent , your last statement they can easily adjust to most humans dietary habits or ways, my dog was living proof. .

  • biblebill

    Nonsense , the point is there was a point in time when their was no dog food they ate what the people ate scraps . Every physical maladie you mentioned is because of the chemicals in the dog food, plain and simple, not genetics .Those conditions were not around for centuries your flat out wrong .Cancer is like epidemic in dogs right now from the chemicals it’s so easy to see .My dog was living proof , he had no health problems at 14 because I fed him chemical free real food not dog food .

  • aimee

    Hi Alaska,
    The arguments you are advancing are problematic.

    For example you wrote “A hall mark of both herbivores and omnivores is the secretion of the enzyme amylase in their salivary glands…..Bears secrete amylase, as do humans, as do all other members of the herbivore and omnivore families.”

    If you look at the published research you’ll find that the secretion of salivary amylase isn’t really all that common. Of course many animals haven’t been tested but there is no “line in the sand” that groups plant eaters together as having salivary amylase and non plant eaters as not having salivary amylase I’ll attach a table to support this.

    Additionally I’ve never found in any published research that bears secrete salivary amylase. Maybe they do but I never found it referenced. Do you have a peer reviewed reference for that?

    In regards to the next statement ” Members of the Canidae and Felidae families do NOT secrete amylase in
    their salivary glands, that is a hallmark of the carnivorous families.”

    Members of Felidae are true carnivores but many if not most members of Canidae are omnivores.

    This is where the whole salivary amylase argument falls apart. You can’t claim that the dog can’t be an omnivore because it doesn’t have salivary amylase while at the same time saying the coyote, a well recognized omnivore also doesn’t have salivary
    amylase.

    Furthermore if you look at the published research you’ll find it reported that dogs do secrete low levels of salivary amylase. If they do or don’t though it is a mute point in regards to declaring the dog is a carnivore vs an omnivore.

    The teeth argument is equally weak as dog’s molars are designed for crushing and grinding same as the molars of the coyote jackal and fox all recognized omnivores.

    If you expand your research you’ll find that there is a lot of support for classifying the dog as an omnivore and you’ll find some scientists classify the wolf as on omnivore as well.

    Whatever it is you want to call them dogs are flexible in dietary habits and that is the take home point

  • Alaska

    I am quite well aware that in the Canidae and Felidae families that amylase is a pancreatic enzyme. I stated, “Members of the Canidae and Felidae families do NOT secrete amylase in their salivary glands, that is a hallmark of the carnivorous families.”

  • Pitlove

    You mentioned salivary amylase. 99% of people that mention that trait use it to argue that dogs can not digest grain etc. I assumed that was your argument.

  • Alaska

    Not at all, I’m saying bears are not carnivores. I don’t even remember mentioning carbohydrates.

  • Pitlove

    Hi Alaska-
    If you are saying that dogs can not properly digest carbohydrates because they do not have salivary amylase, this is incorrect. Amylase is secreted in the duodenum in canines allowing them to break down starch.

  • Alaska

    Sorry Bill, I have to disagree with you completely. The 1930s saw the introduction of canned cat food and dry meat-meal dog food by the Gaines Food Co. By the time World War II ended, pet food sales had reached $200 million. I fed my first puppy dry food in the 50’s. She died of a heriditary form of cancer when she was two. Cancer, hip dysplasia, arthritis , cataracts, kidney disease while becoming better understood these days, have very little to do with food, but everything to do with genetics and poor breeding practices. Go back and do your research, all these conditions have been around for centuries, long before the introduction of “modern” dog food.

  • Alaska

    Bears absolutely do not share the same carnivorous features as dogs; bears share the same omnivorous features as humans. Bears have back teeth designed for crushing, not tearing. Bear digestive systems are much better suited to longer digestive periods necessary for digesting fruits, nuts, and seeds, just like humans. A hall mark of both herbivores and omnivores is the secretion of the enzyme amylase in their salivary glands which along with chewing begins the pre-digestion of hard to digest foods. Bears secrete amylase, as do humans, as do all other members of the herbivore and omnivore families. Members of the Canidae and Felidae families do NOT secrete amylase in their salivary glands, that is a hallmark of the carnivorous families. Domestic dogs and cats do not secrete amylase in their salivary glands, they have a rapid digestive system with higher stomach acid levels and shorter intestinal lengths, and their molars are not “crushing” teeth, they are “tearing” teeth. Whether we like it or not, they are classical carnivores.

    Domesticated dogs and cats possess all of the classical carnivore traits of their undomesticated relatives. And while they have adapted to live with humans, 1,500 years is certainly not an amount of time necessary for them to have completely “evolved” into a completely new and separate families. While they may have “adapted” to living with humans, they have not changed biologically by any stretch of the imagination.

  • aimee

    Hi Mike,
    Thanks for the kind words. Yes sometimes people are unable to see what it is that is right before them.

  • aimee

    Hi catemuse,
    Glad you enjoyed it.

  • Mary

    LOL – maybe your dog has flattened teeth as they’ve been warned down by dry kibble – my dogs teeth & my cats teeth are all POINTED like a carnivore because they are carnivores.

    God loves humility but He also loves people that know the truth because He gave the gift of knowledge & common sense as well 🙂

  • Mike Arthurholtz

    yes, awesome and well presented info. Thanks for the education and entertainment. Reminded me of talking to some flat earth aficionados….
    Anyway, it seems to me the most rearward of canine molars, sometimes typified as “occlusal” are quite flattened. As the name occlusal implies, these teeth come into contact with each other [upper to lower] during mastication, as opposed to the scissoring effect of premolars or incisors. It’s fairly apparent to me even in the pictures Mary posted, and most certainly in my own dogs mouth.
    I guess sometimes you just have to agree to disagree….

  • catemuse

    Fortunately, Aimee, someone is out here enjoying your side of the conversation– great information. Keep it up in life as online. Intellectual honesty is a value we need to keep alive, healthy and conspicuous in this world full of of fake realities. Mary: science works because it is founded on skepticism. But the deepest skepticism has got to be of ones own assumptions. I’d also recommend a vacation from the ego’s heavy and unreasonable demand that you always be Right. You are not your ego. It is tricking you, playing games on you–don’t let it navigate.

  • catemuse

    My dog has flattened molars. Open mouth and see, then close mouth and learn. God loves humility.

  • catemuse

    Thank you for taking the time to explain this! Fascinating.

  • biblebill

    Excellent point using the car analogy, which I use with people all the time about their eating .
    My dog was 14 never had dog food, saw a vet, or had a shot, he was in perfect health . People actually thought he was a puppy at 14 . I gave him spring water, whole grains , whole dairy , fish ,chicken, tuna, potatoes, eggs ,as long as it didn’t have any chemicals in the foods or water .
    Dogs were made to adjust to what humans eat or a lot like them which should be whole grains fruit / veg, whole dairy , different meats as long as they are clean meats but they do not need fruit/ veg because they produce their own vitamin C as I said .
    Check out my site [ foundation of nutrition the bible] . Google it .

  • Awka Alf

    Ok so the real question isn’t “what can they eat?”, the more important question is “what should a dog eat to obtain optimal health and live a healther longer life?”

    Humans for example, despite some people (including the author of this article) thinking they are natural omnivores, humans have a very heavy bias towards some sort of herbivoric diet and can tolerate some meats in its diet with out too much impact on its overall health…to much meat though and your organs won’t fair well at all.
    Dogs and humans are like cars, put the wrong fuels, ,oils and coolant in the car and you will only cause unnecessary stress on the vehicles components causing premature failure of parts

  • biblebill

    In biblical times they had domesticated dogs , they ate whatever the people ate pure and simple and the people back then rarely ate animal meat [ red] only on special occasions . See Lk 15 : 22, 23 24. So if the people rarely ate red meat , then the dogs also hardly ever ate meat . The diet back then was whole grains which is fine for dogs Matt 15 : 27 [Niv] bible , whole milk ,cheese butter ,eggs ,fish .
    They do not or did not eat fruits/ veg because they produce their own vitamin C a scientific fact . Which is what the fruit/ veg food group is predominantly .

  • biblebill

    Unlike humans dogs produce their own vitamin C . They do not need fruits/ veg .

  • biblebill

    Great point about bears in relation to dogs . Your dog eats grass to bring up the chemicals in the dog food . Anything green cleans the digestive system out .He eats poop to get different enzymes or nutrients that he doesn’t get in dog food .Dog food is terrible , full of cancer causing chemicals and by- products as well as devoid of calcium . There was no dog food in a bag or can before roughly 1970 , they ate what the people ate pure and simple and cancer was for the most part unheard of as well as all the other health problems hip , arthritis , cataracts , kidney disease from the dog food .

  • Mary

    And you are in your bubble as well since dogs teeth are not designed nor wolves nor wild cats(not even domestic cats) as your diagram/photo above. I already included tons of photos for you but again, you are in a bubble as you call it, and seems to me you don’t really want to understand the actual design of teeth on domestic & wild carnivores for our dogs, cats, wolves & all wild cats as well

  • Mary

    I am very familiar LOL – and again, Giant Panda’s are actually “omnivores” Seems you are stuck as well when you state I’m the type of person who is “stuck” in her beliefs – Giant Pandas are surprisingly omnivores. Although you always see them eat bamboo, they also eat small animals out in the wild. Though it belongs to the order Carnivora, the panda’s diet is 99% bamboo. Pandas in the wild will occasionally eat other grasses, wild tubers, or even meat in the form of birds, rodents or carrion.

    And I’m actually done with you because I have way too much to correctly teach people that go to my FB group page and Homeopathic wellness & cures with dogs & cats than to do this discussion with you about Giant Pandas or even Polar Bears(true carnivore classification and yes the sea plants/weeds it has been observed in their scat, remember the prey animals that they eat – eat sea plants – so then you’d see the undigested plant matter in their scat – not rocket science here just common sense)

  • aimee

    Hi Mary,

    It appears that you are not familiar with the taxonomic classification system Animals/ plants etc are grouped together based on like characteristics.

    The taxonomic classification of the Panda is Kingdom Animalia( it is an animal) , Phylum Chordata ( it has a dorsal nerve chord) Class Mammalia( posses hair and have mammary glands) Order Carnivora( carnaissal pair) Suborder Caniformia( dog -like) Family Ursadie( Bears) Genus Ailuropoda species melanoleuca

    You can use all caps if you like but it doesn’t change the fact that Pandas are taxonomically classified as carnivores.

    There are a lot of members of the order Carnivora and most do not eat a diet that is primarily flesh.

    The Giant Panda eats almost exclusively bamboo and because they have the digestive system of a carnivore they get little benefit from the food they eat. They must make up for that by consuming a great volume of food each day.

    You wrote “actually if you studied Polar Bears and they are never ever seen consuming any plant material what-so-ever.”

    Actually Polar Bear do consume plant materials. In Iverson 2011 looking at the Polar Bear scat analysis reported that terrestrial plants and marine vegetation is frequently eaten. Derocher et el 1992 reported they eat grasses and sedges and berries and marine algae and moss… the same items as the brown bears in the same area consume. Gormezano and Rockwell reported lyme grass seed heads other grasses. mushrooms algae and moss.

    Another thing to consider is that the Polar Bear does interbreed with the brown bear and produce fertile offspring. So it is feasible that even if certain metabolic pathways were lost they have been reintroduced.

    From the AZA Polar Bear care Manual “… data do not exist for Polar Bears indicating they are obligate carnivores or strictly omnivores”

    I do find it interesting that you don’t consider the Panda a herbivore
    as the diets is almost entirely plant based. Do you consider them
    dietary omnivores based on the tiny amount of animal tissue consumed? If
    so then why don’t you describe the Polar Bear as being a dietary
    omnivore as well or even the wolf as both species incorporate plant material into the diet?

    Instead of simply looking at what an animal consumes look at what the animal is biologically prepared to consume.

    In regards to teeth .. using those pics I can see how you’d conclude all the teeth are pointy because you don’t have a good shot of the molars. I’ll attach a pic in which i outlined the tooth. Note that the shape of the premolars traced from jaw line to tip is a triangle. The crown narrows from base to apex and ends in a point. But with the molars a different pattern is seen. The tooth outline is rectangular short and squat instead of tall and thin. I’ll also include a view from the top so that you can appreciate the grinding basins.

    I fear though that you have encased yourself in a bubble of belief. When people who are stuck in a “bubble”are presented with information contrary to their beliefs they attack information or the people reporting it and oddly they embrace their belief even more strongly.

    I’m seeing this in your posts when you wrote “BS from Veterinarians who don’t know their butt from their elbow!”, “BS theories”, “BS science”. “BS scientists” “idiots” “ridiculous stupidity” etc etc etc

    Exchanges with people in bubbles are pointless as they aren’t open to new information which is why I’m choosing to no longer contin https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2aaecb00e51048cad3d780a0ad7fc5018bd7319a2bb2749f71b8738757ba3bb6.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/13c20ca344d7131d1d2b086c8d6c8ed5b8a21f6d82f9eb94fcfba3b074613def.jpg ue this conversation with you.

    Cheers

  • Mary

    Big deal the only thing we did that your idiocy states that dogs are “not” wolves is that dogs are domesticated. The only thing humans did was create hundreds of different breeds and we NEVER and will NEVER change their internal organs. Yes they are created the size to fit their bodies, but they are IDENTICAL to the wolf and work IDENTICALLY as well. Your dog that eats grass- I already stated dogs(& wolves) eat grasses(some times due to upset digestive system including acid is OFF BALANCE which does happen with all dry kibble & most canned food fed dogs & cats) they also will eat some dandelions and even wild dogs, domestic dogs if their owners give them some – will also eat certain “herbs” Just because dogs are considered “scavengers” doesn’t mean they aren’t carnivores and it has been observed so many times that it is funny that feral dogs that scavenge even in garbage have rarely ever been seen eating “vegetables”! They are scavenging for real food – meat or organ meats. But if they are starving, of course they are going to eat anything – we would too – we’d even eat darn bugs if we were starving. Doesn’t mean that dog is getting any nutrients say from eating lettuce or kale or any other type of greens – as they poop a ton of the nutrients right out of their system.

    Dogs & cats are not designed like freaken humans – we have a very long digestive tract and it takes us a very long time to digest food (most is minimum of 12hrs – many are 24hrs and unhealthy humans are even longer than 24hrs!) Dogs with HEALTHY immune systems & digestive systems digest “complete raw food” in 3 to 4hrs(cats in 1 to 3hrs – their system is even faster than dogs) – now when you feed them crap like dry kibble & canned food- not only does it mess up their acid levels in their stomach which are suppose to be around 1.0(not 3 to 4.0 like in kibble fed animals) then it takes that kibble a minimum of 8hrs to digest – and 95% of cases of BLOAT are actually caused by feeding dry freaken kibble because gas/air builds up in their stomachs and causes the bloat – BUT you’ll never get some freaken allopathic vet to agree with that statement, nor the PFI either LOL – sicker animals make the allopathic veterinarians more money!! and of course BigPharma as well with all their ridiculous drugs

    Meat is not the first ingredient in your label either – if you actually KNEW how ALL dry kibble is made – you would actually know that ALL the nutrients come from added pre-mixed supplements added at the END of the horrible process of making dry kibble – you can start off with freaken Filet Mignon and you won’t have any of the nutrients left from that meat! ALL from pre-mixed supplements and don’t forget the grease(even used restaurant grease) that is sprayed on dry kibble at the very end because IF it didn’t smell good to the dog(or cat) dry kibble would actually only be eaten to a starving animal period.

    And by the way, sounds like you think McDonald’s is a great food to feed a human being because not only is dry kibble Worse than McDonald’s Dry kibble of ALL brands is like a human being drinking with or without(then eating the powder) a Powdered Protein Drink – and I can tell you facts, as a human being if we drank or ate the powder to Powdered Protein Drinks we not only wouldn’t live very long – we would live very unhealthy as well at the doctors all the time

    This is why your poor dogs are NOT living to their NORMAL life spans for the past 4+ decades because of the CRAP people have been led to believe is good for them to feed and the fact that over vaccines are killing our pets and making them sicker and sicker as well including stupid HW pills, chemical flea tick & mosquito products; over use of antibiotics/steroids/NSAID’s —-normal life spans on dogs & cats that are NOT over vaccinated and NOT vaccinated TOO young(before 10 weeks of age!!!) and not fed toxic poisons of other things I have mentioned as well AND fed proper complete raw diets(which they have eaten for 10,000 to 30,000+yrs—cats are actually 10-12,000yrs for domestication and dogs 30,000+yrs), and they live Vital & Healthy, they just don’t survive:

    small breed dogs & cats – mid 20’s(many have lived to late 20’s – my own neighbors cat lived to 30yrs old and died of old age – never vaccinated always fed complete raw diet and he is an old time farmer)

    medium & large breeds – late teens(many medium size breeds have lived to early 20’s)

    X-large breeds – early to mid teens

    I have too many facts to list all the large & x-large breeds that I’ve known that have not only lived to mid teens but I also grew up around Great Danes who although they were well loved, they were fed CRAP dry kibble, some added some canned food(crap not descent canned food) exercised like crazy, but over vaccinated as well – and only lived to 8 and 9yrs old. Sad so sad

    I mean really people, even Big Wild Cats like Black Panthers in Zoos have actually lived to early 20’s and they are 10 to 15x larger than a domestic cat — why because the zoos that keep these cats 1) don’t over vaccinated(good sanctuaries as well) and 2) they were fed complete raw diets as if they were eating them in the wild – but of course, not live animals and they live a great long life. I don’t believe in zoo animals but when they are there and they are properly taken care of they live nice long vital & healthy lives

  • Emma Bolderson

    I believe what i want to believe, and no, i do not follow people like sheep. Unlike someone like you, god worshipper.

  • Mary

    Well that is BS as well because before the PFI, going back thousands not just hundreds of years dogs (& cats) ate mainly meat, bones & the organs of the animals they caught OR the owners actually did feed them scrap meats/liver sometimes 1 to 2 other organs as well & bones. They have rarely ever been fed in the past ridiculous plant food – not even in 3rd world countries LOL what a joke

  • Mary

    And I see you are a BS non-believer and all I can do is let people know that first off dogs & cats are “carnivores” not omnivores – second, if you don’t believe in God, that’s your problem, not mine. I can prove that God does exist as I can prove that satan(Lucifer) exists as well and I’m not talking about some freaken reality show either- but that’s up to you – I can tell by your answer you are an atheist and when you do die, you’ll be begging for God’s forgiveness and love if you have that chance(some people don’t have that chance because they die instantly from a horrible crash/accident/shooting, etc) but believe me, I haven’t been brain washed with God, I study His word daily – and since I can prove that satan and his cronies exist(evil spirits, demons whatever you want to call them) I can definitely have full faith that God does exist and He has my love & devotion. He also made me a complete animal lover and expert so I have thanked Him for the gift He gave to me as well 🙂

  • Mary

    What a joke you are hahahahaah – I can see you don’t know the Word of God and only believe ‘man-kind”

  • Sarah Griffiths

    Bears have all the same carnivorous features as dogs, but they are omnivores as well… just saying. There’s no point looking at ancestry, because the dogs today are NOT wolves. They are dogs. Buy a dog food that lists meat as the first ingredient and doesn’t have a lot of processed nonsense. Additionally, I’m not sure dogs in the wild would eat grains, because grains are cultivated and don’t really grow in the wild. But veggies/fruits/tubers etc, do. It’s not that hard, really… common sense…

  • aimee

    Hi Mary,

    From your reply i can see you didn’t understand what I was saying.

    The Panda as a member of the order carnivora is a carnivore. This is the taxonomic classification of the Panda and it is how the Panda is referred to in the scientific literature.

    For example the paper Animal Physiology. Exceptional low daily energy expenditure in the bamboo-eating Giant Panda by Nie Speakman et al 2015 starts with “The carnivoran giant panda has a specialized bamboo diet to which its alimentary tract is poorly adapted”

    The panda is a carnivore that eats a plant based diet. I thought I was clear on that as I said the panda is a hypocarnivore/ primarily vegetation in regards to diet.

    The polar bear is interesting and if you look back at the diagram I posted you’ll see that color line to the polar bear is blue for mesocarnivore/ omnivore which we all recognize bears as being. The habitat of the Polar Bear though doesn’t support a lot of plants so the diet consumed is primarily flesh. So the question is did the polar bear lose the metabolic pathways that define an meocarnivore/omnivore or are they still present. Will polar bears be flexible enough to adapt to a more varied diet? They are already consuming significant amounts of vegetation in certain locations.

    The wolf eats a diet that is that of a carnivore but from the diagram I posted you’ll see all of the canids, including wolves are classifed as mesocarnivores/omnivores.

    The wolf’s range and therefore diet has been limited by human activity. It has been proposed (Bradshaw 2006) that the diet would be more varied if the constraints didn’t exist.

    In regards to teeth here is a description from Millers Anatomy of the Dog by Evans and Christensen “the upper molar teeth are irregularly flattened…. ” Here is another description from Veterinary Dentistry Basics the molars are described as having “flat occlusal tables” and here’s a lay description from someones blog “What are the molars used for? We can get a clue form these teeths flat surfaces” http://www.dailydogdiscoveries.com/tag/function-of-dogs-canine-teeth/

    I’ll post a pic showing classification as teeth suited for plant and animal matter and one showing that the shape of the lower first molar is consistent with a mescarnivore/omnivore.clasification

    And of course feral dogs eat plant matter “Feral dogs may feed on fruit crops including melons berries grapes and native fruits such as persimmons and blackberries” http://icwdm.org/handbook/carnivor/FeralDog.asp

    I outlined the nutritional differences between dogs and cats. Cats require nutrients that dogs can synthesis from plant based precursors.

    From The Nutrition of the Domestic Cat a Mammalian Carnivore by Macdonald, Rogers and Morris

    “This evolutionary development has resulted in more stringent nutritional requirements for cats then for omnivores such as the rat, dog and man”

    I understand that you can not accept that dogs based on their anatomy
    and physiology are classified as amesocarnivore/omnivores because it
    goes against your belief system but you did ask for people to look at
    the anatomy and physiology of the dog and cat. : )

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/eb16deae346e59e19e6b989e2a2f923054ae052f383e07fdfff2ea1b8cb473bb.jpg
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a20bf7b62e22396894e90717e0796ae81ab69b0eedfcb5a284b0707ec3993d4b.png

  • aimee

    Hi Mary,

    You challenged readers to “please study the anatomy & physiology of not only
    domestic canines & felines but of their true wild ancestors, wolves
    & Wild Cat, and they are still classified as a true carnivore(cats
    are actually obligate carnivores)”

    Both dogs and cats are members of the order Carnivora so yes in that sense they are carnivores. In regards to diet there is a lot of variety within the order, there are the those members who eat primarily flesh who are classified as hypercarnivores and then there is the Panda who consumes primarily vegetation and is classified as a hypocarnivore. Many members of the order Carnivora are classified as mesocarnivore which falls between these two If you use the terms carnivore, omnivore and herbivore, hypercarnivore would be considered carnivores, mesocarnivore would be equivalent to omnivore and hypocarnivore could be considered equivalent to herbivores.

    The systemalists, that branch of science that studies anatomy and physiology and classifies flora and fauna has classified cats as hypercarnivores whereas dogs are classified as mesocarnivores. In other words cats are carnivores and dogs are omnivores.

    To understand why dogs are mesocarnivores ie omnivores you need to look at the anatomy and physiology of the dog.

    Take the dentition for example. The dental pattern of the dog is non specialized. The dog has well developed incisors useful for nipping plant material as opposed to the incisors of the hypercarnivore cat which are teeny tiny. Both the cat and dog have teeth for piercing and shearing flesh, canines,and premolars, but dogs have flattened molars for grinding something not seen in the cat. Both cusps of lower molar of the cat are sharp and pointy but in the dog a different pattern is seen, one cusp is point ant the other is flattened. This is the pattern of a mesocarnivore/omnivore

    The taste receptors in the tongue also align with an omnivorous diet. Dogs mesocarnivore/omnivore can detect both salt and sweet. Cats, hypercarnivore/carnivores, can detect neither. Salt is necessary for life, hypercarnivores meet their need via the high consumption of tissue. Animals that don’t eat primarily flesh need to seek salt out, salt receptors allow for this.

    Sweet receptors allow an animal to choose vegetation that is safe to eat, For a hypercarnivores/carnivore whose diet includes very little plant material sweet receptors are of no benefit to animal and are lacking in this category of animals.

    Other reasons dogs are considered omnivores are that they can synthesize Vit A, and arachidonic acid
    from plant based precursors, they have metabolic pathways in the liver for detoxification seen in plant eating animals. Plant eaters are more likely to ingest toxins. Cats, and other carnivores lack the pathway.

    Another characteristic of omnivores is that they can down regulate protein need. Dogs are capable of doing this whereas cats do not do this to any significant degree.

    For these reasons and others dogs are classified as mesocarnivores/omnivores. But dogs do require dietary Vit D… which is why it is sometimes said that they are omnivores with a carnivore bias.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e44f5f41d6a5d4f6fe10e479742a371581402e7970f5c7398bfdd8aa9cb4621e.png

  • Mary

    Oh God really, yes wolves freaken eat grass – would you people please study the anatomy & physiology of not only domestic canines & felines but of their true wild ancestors, wolves & Wild Cat, and they are still classified as a true carnivore(cats are actually obligate carnivores) – when you are feeding complete raw diets, their protein % is higher and that 20% protein you mention sounds more based on dry kibble(even most canned foods have more protein than most dry kibbles – not all ) And some medium to large breed dogs living to their late teens fed a dry kibble is because they were never over vaccinated; never fed toxic poisons of Heartworm pills; no chemical flea tick & mosquito products; no over use of antibiotics/steroids/NSAID’s but it is still RARE that they live that long being fed even the so called best dry kibble or canned foods on the market

    Again on a complete raw diet primarily made from herbivore animals, not poultry pork not even tons of fish, and of course, none of the rest of the garbage being done to them as stated above of you should never over vaccinate not even rabies! no HW toxic poisonous pills, etc etc

    Small breed dogs & cats normal life spans are mid 20’s(many have lived to late 20’s – my own neighbors cat lived to 30yrs as he was always fed complete raw diet and NEVER vaccinated ever)

    Medium to Large breeds is late teens (many medium breeds have actually lived to early 20’s) and I have too many to mention on large breeds that lived to 18 & 19yrs old and were only vaccinated 1x including rabies and others were never vaccinated ever, and always fed a complete raw diet

    X-large breeds is early to mid-teens; Again I have too many to post as to living to mid teens that were Great Danes & Mastiffs……just talked to friend back in April 2017 that is professional breeder of Great Danes for over 30yrs now, always fed complete raw diets, only vaccinated 1x and not these freaken MUMBO JUMBO Combo vaccines either – just parvo & distemper and he just lost one of his retired stud dogs back in March at 15yrs old and all of his dogs live to mid teens

  • Mary

    Yes, dogs, wolves(who are the true ancestors to domestic dogs not coyotes) do eat grasses, dandelions, even some herbs whether for medicinal purposes or not. They are still, last I check LOL, (check out their anatomy they are CARNIVORES!!!) TRUE Carnivores! They do NOT eat vegetables and even wolves will eat 2% of their diet of fruits – usually seasonal berries but have been observed eating apples, pears as well and one wolf has been observed eating watermelon—again they are still true carnivores they are NOT omnivores. And when they eat grass many times(not always) it is to purge something bad that they ate including dogs. They also eat grasses to get little nutrients from grass(their digestive system is so fast that they do not get much nutrients from plant matter in the first place) and for dogs, many times their digestive acids are out of wack due to the garbage people feed(commercial dry kibble & most canned foods) but even when fed complete raw diets, sometimes(just like humans) their stomachs, especially if somebody like allopathic vets “over use” antibiotics! so their systems need some probiotics added back to their diet for a short period of time.

    And you can leave your smart butt comment about God….sounds like you are an atheist and when your time comes, well you’ll be asking for God to forgive you for all the sins you committed and didn’t repent them in your life here on Earth.

  • Vance Tullier

    I’ve personally seen dogs, coyotes, and wolves all eat grass. Last I checked that rather defies the concept of a pure carnivore and aligns itself quite well with the original article in favor of the carnivorous slant.

    Personally I choose to feed a much higher protein level diet for that reason but I’d be lying if I didn’t agree that I’ve seen dogs living into their late teens on ~20% protein diets that thrived in apparent health their entire lives without excessive visits to the vet.

    That said, the “Because God!” actually made me laugh a bit in a murky morning so thank you for that. 🙂

  • Mary

    LOL

  • Emma Bolderson

    Only humans created humans. God plays no part in what we do, nor does he want to.

  • Mary

    God created wild dogs/feral dogs and humans domesticated them and then created many different breeds but again, God created them because if He didn’t want them by mixing breeds and creating new breeds, they still wouldn’t be around. Just like God created all wild life, and human beings as well

  • Emma Bolderson

    God didn’t create them, humans did

  • coolmtnman

    the taurine in grocery store cat food has synthetic taurine added because the taurine is lost in the processing

  • coolmtnman

    plant eating mammals and carnivores evolved together. A true carnivore thins out the weak ,diseased, old and overpopulated. Dogs are not true carnivores and the healthiest dogs I’ve ever seen were fed a good quality plant diet. Cooked food doesn’t need to be chewed.

  • nickrin

    They were fed whatever was left over. The practice of feeding entrails was abandoned because of hydatid disease (Echinococcosis).

  • coolmtnman

    pre dogfood dogs were never fed meat but only bones and entrails

  • coolmtnman

    I’ve seen several well fed vegan dogs and they are healthier than any non-vegan dogs I’ve ever seen

  • coolmtnman

    Pre- dogfood dogs have never been fed meat but mainly the bones and entrails and whatever plant food the owners fed them.

  • Bela Animal Legal Defense

    That cat needs taurine and you are going to harm your cats heart and liver function by doing this as this is an undiputsble fact.

  • Bela Animal Legal Defense

    While it is true about the primary enzymes, the plant protein in vegan dog food is already “broken down” and much more digestible. they do have the ability to absorb plant protein and have amalayse in their pancreas. It’s an interesting discussion bc both sides have very valid points when you get past the insults lol.

  • Johnny M

    How about this review of 4 separate studies of vegetarian diets in dogs that concludes “a significant and growing body of population studies and case reports have indicated that cats and dogs maintained on vegetarian diets may be healthy – including those exercising at the highest levels – and, indeed, may experience a range of health benefits.”

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27657139

  • Johnny M

    Sorry, what science is inescapable? The science that says “A significant and growing body of population studies and case reports have indicated that cats and dogs maintained on vegetarian diets may be healthy – including those exercising at the highest levels-and, indeed, may experience a range of health benefits.”?

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27657139

  • Mary

    So because you people might actually believe dogs are omnivores when they are “Not” God created them(and if you are a non-believer, then Mother Nature) as CARNIVORES. Just because the last 80+ years the PFI & allopathic vets have brain washed you into believing dogs can “survive” on GARBAGE dry kibble & most canned foods including plant matter/veggies, or that raw fed dogs (& cats) can eat vegetables and some will “survive” but not most, doesn’t mean you turn a carnivore into a vegan!! That is cruel. And surviving on grains, carbs is all BS from the PFI. Our dogs & cats are getting sicker & sicker at younger ages(over vaccines also account for this along with toxic poisonous HW pills and chemical flea tick & mosquito products) & they are dying younger as well.
    Before the PFI industry became larger in the late 1950’s, even farm dogs who were fed scraps of meats/fats/organ meats mainly liver, lived LONG vital & healthy lives, they weren’t vaccinated either or given these other toxic drugs.
    What people tend to not even realize or know, is that the “normal” life span of dogs & cats BEFORE the PFI became involved being fed complete raw diets, not over vaccinated(shit they were rarely vaccinated at all) and now PFI adding all these veggies into the diet(even some pre-made raws are being made incorrectly with adding veggies to their products when vegetables actually “over work the pancreas to produce more enzymes to break down all the cell walls, carbs etc”
    Small breed dogs & cats normal life span was & still is when fed complete raw diets primarily from herbivore/ungulate animals and not over vaccinated, not fed toxic HW pills, etc:
    mid 20’s! Many have made it to late 20’s. Heck even my own neighbors cat was NEVER vaccinated and fed complete raw diet its whole life and lived to 30yrs old!!!
    Medium to large breeds is actually late teens(some medium breeds have lived to early 20’s) I have friends that have had large breed dogs live until they were 19yrs old totally vital & healthy, never saw a vet, only vaccinated 1x including rabies,(some had their dogs spayed/neutered but allowed the dog to grow to full growth at least 2yrs before spay/neuter) and only time was ever ill was the last week of their lives when they were dying(some allowed the dogs to pass at their home in loving environment)
    X-large breeds is actually early to mid teens. I not only have friends with X-Large breeds, I also know Natural Rearing breeders, and my friends have more friends and know more NRB of these large breeds—they have lost Mastiffs & Great Danes at 15yrs & 14yrs!! and still have several alive and doing unbelievably well at 14yrs & 13yrs—they were weaned onto complete raw diets as puppies and NEVER vaccinated ever. I don’t know about you but I grew up around Great Danes, and although very well loved, nicely taken care of, several actually grew up on Cape Cod with tons of daily exercise on the beach, but were fed garbage dry kibble & canned foods(some were over vaccinated as well) and they never made it beyond 9yrs old(most were only 8yrs)
    So just because a dog can “survive” on grains, carbs, “starches” which many veggies are starch veggies that all turn to sugars, doesn’t mean they live long “vital & healthy” normal life span lives. And yes, I’ve seen some posts below on how the oldest vegan dog lived til 28yrs old. Never says how many times that dog was at the vet because it was “sick” I”ve seen many dogs & cats, even kittens & puppies, that their vegan & vegetarian owners were turning “carnivores” into the same life style they choose to live, and they ended up at deaths door at the ER’s, and although given IV fluids, the vets even didn’t pursue and drugs(thank God!) and fed them complete raw diets and most of them fully recovered because they were not getting the nutrients necessary for their “carnivore” bodies!

  • Mary

    Dogs are NOT omnivores they are carnivores, true carnivores. It is how their bodies are designed. Go and study the anatomy & physiology of canines and felines and then show me where they are omnivores.
    It is a very RARE case that a dog would live that long and I also wonder how many times it was at the vet’s office. I’ve seen “vegetarian/& vegan” fed dogs & cats, end up at the ER because they were so depleted of protein/nutrients they require in their bodies from lean muscle meat/fat/organ meats including liver! and the vets instead of just giving them IV fluids, or even any “drugs” they actually started to feed them raw meat diets, and that was all it took to totally improve their “poor” health from being fed a damn vegan/vegetarian diet.
    Listen I was a vegetarian for many many years because I love all animals so very much, but I did NOT turn my dogs & cats into vegetarians because they are true carnivores(cats are actually obligate carnivores)
    So yes, for people that are doing this to their dogs &/or cats, that is actual animal cruelty and they don’t deserve to have an animal. I wouldn’t bring it to a shelter because they will be fed GARBAGE dry kibble & most canned foods are GARBAGE as well, but I”d find a good rescue or a nice loving family that would feed a species appropriate complete raw food diet

  • Mary

    Exactly. I’m so tired of vegans and vegetarians turning their CARNIVORES into vegans or vegetarians. They will NOT live normal vital & healthy LONG lives. She doesn’t deserve to own a dog or cat when they decide to do this to them. Sure there will be some dogs & cats that will “survive” but they won’t “thrive”

  • SeatanMan

    Deposit the animals at an animal shelter, that are looked after and cared for just because you don’t believe in their diet? Yes, let’s inundate shelters with more animals because you don’t believe in what they’re being fed. The oldest living vegan dog lived to 28 years old, and because dogs are omnivorous, they can thrive on meat-free diets. In fact, some dogs are ALLERGIC to meat and are forced to become vegetarians. It is much better to give a diet consisting of fresh foods, pulses etc, than kibble, which at best may have 5% of poor-quality meat, which has been cooked at temperatures up to 1000 c, taking away any nutritional properties.

  • Silas

    Just a quick note: Both of the responses to this comment seem to think that the comment originator (Madeline Cohn) is herself saying that she is vegan and makes her dog/cat eat the same way. Even if we eschew our reading skills and ignore the rest of the comment (as appears to have been done), surely you realize that there’s no such thing as a dog/cat, right? It’s one or the other, not some monstrous thing that requires a slash. Thus it must be merely an example.

    Communication, people! It’s important.

  • Penny Cleven

    I’m sorry, but this is animal abuse. feeding a cat a vegan diet goes against their biological needs. Your cat may be healthy now and it may take a couple of years for the results of this diet to make themselves known but that day will come. I have one cat that kills and consume mice(she lives indoors) we have an old house so the rodents get in. the other cat doesn’t have much interest in hunting…. they both started on regular kibble as kittens, two years ago we switched to raw and haven’t looked back… diet influences behavior, on kibble my older cat was very grumpy, depressed and 4 pounds overweight…. plant based diets may be fortified with the things a nutrient profile says they need, but form is just as important as quality and plants based foods do not provide readily available nutrients that the body can use… If you want to be a vegan have at it, if you want to share your life with a cat or a dog please understand MEAT must be part of their diet. Otherwise get a rabbit or other herbivore for a pet.