New article on canine nutrition and evolution

Dog Food Advisor Forums Canine Nutrition New article on canine nutrition and evolution

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  • #12418 Report Abuse

    This seems to build on and go beyond the information on dog evolution and diet in Steve Brown’s books, which are also reflected elsewhere on this blog. While most current thinking acknowledges that most dogs are able to digest and benefit from carbohydrates. this article indicates that dogs have more genes for amylase (enzyme that breaks down starches) than wolves do. This should make the discussions about “paleo” dog diets more colorful and complicated!


    #12434 Report Abuse

    Hi billhill,
    Thanks for posting this link. In past posts I had said I thought it likely that we have selected for animals that did well on carb based diets, so the wolf and the dog are probably a bit different in that regard. It is nice to see research that fleshed out my hunch.

    #12439 Report Abuse
    Hound Dog Mom

    That was a really interesting article, however it still leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Dogs may be able to digest carbohydrates more efficiently than their ancestors, but is there any proof that a dog does better on a high carbohydrate diet versus a low carbohydrate diet with higher levels protein and fat? Is there anything proving that carbohydrates are superior to fat as an energy source for dogs? Dogs may digest carbohydrates fine – but what are the health implications of long term consumption of the lectins, phytates and gluten that can be found in many carbohydrate-rich foods?

    #12442 Report Abuse
    Rambo and Fancy

    Here is another article on the same topic. Interesting, I’m still going to go grain free.

    #12450 Report Abuse

    Nope, the author is a geneticist not a nutritionist. I’m sure upcoming research will get to all that in time!


    #12478 Report Abuse


    Swiss Chard – This green plant is a top producer of biotin. It’s also a great part of a healthy salad choice that will provide antioxidants and help balance a diet.
    Carrots – Carrots contain a supply of biotin, as well as beta-carotene, which helps with general eye health.
    Almonds, Walnuts and Other Nuts – A variety of nuts supply the body with biotin, and are a portable way to get proteins and other nutrition into a diet.
    Chicken Eggs – Eggs are a source of biotin, although it’s important to note that eating a diet unusually high in egg whites can actually be a catalyst for a biotin deficiency. That’s because a specific element in the egg whites binds to the element and prevents it from being distributed properly. It’s important to always consider how eggs are added to a diet in order to prevent this kind of vitamin deficiency.
    Goat’s Milk and Cow’s Milk – In addition to calcium and other healthy items, milks are also a source of biotin for the body.
    Berries and Fruits – Some types of berries, including strawberries and raspberries, can get the body a significant amount of biotin. These fruits also provide antioxidants and health benefits, as part of a natural, whole food approach to eating. Experts recommend buying local and organic when possible.
    Halibut – In addition to being “brain food,” this fish also contains large amounts of biotin. Think about adding it as an occasional entre.
    Vegetables – Other vegetables like onions, cucumbers and cauliflower all contain biotin, and are healthy ways to fit this vitamin into meals.

    #12483 Report Abuse

    This is the actual article in Nature that is referenced in the other articles posted:

    To read the entire article you need to buy it for $32.

    #12487 Report Abuse

    I saw that but I’m too cheap to buy it. I believe anyone who wants this can find it at a university library, maybe even the public library or via Interlibrary Loan. I’m going to look for it.

    #12598 Report Abuse

    If (correct me if I’m mistaken) we are using Steve Brown’s paleo diet theory adjusted from wolves to dogs, how do we account for the many lectin-rich diets that support entire civilizations, including corn/rice/beans in Mexico and Central America, countless lentils and rice in India and other parts of Asia? And those people and civilizations have dogs . I am very impressed, by the way, with Steve Brown’s writings. I just don’t think he covers the full range of worthwhile dietary options.

    I’m not doubting that the paleo diet can be excellent for many people and for many dogs. I’m noting that a rigid theory doesn’t allow us to take some real experiences into account.

    Amylase is not just good for grains, by the way. Many vegetables contain starches.


    #12656 Report Abuse

    Thanks for posting this article. I’ve always suspected today’s dogs thrive on a mix of protein, fat and quality carbs. We keep preaching ‘dogs come from wolves’ but look how much today’s dogs have changed on the outside compared to the wolf. Compare a chihuahua to a wolf. If they have evolved this much on the outside then we can assume they have evolved just as much on the inside.

    And if we start to say “well not ALL dogs come straight from wolves, like the chihuahua” then I’ll agree with that, but it enforces my point that we should drop the wolf diet comparison.

    #12659 Report Abuse

    Hi legitposter: I’m willing to accept the comparison if we also acknowledge that dogs have evolved after that separation, since their genomes show that. I don’t object to a super high protein diet, I just think that dogs have begun to be somewhat omnivorous.


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