A dog´s diet

Discussion in 'Dog Food and Recipes' started by Patrick and Lino, May 29, 2005.

  1. Patrick and Lino

    Patrick and Lino New Member

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    I am just wondering why people try to supplement a dog´s diet with ingredients which are not part of it´s natural diet. Is a dog not a hunter/scavenger?

    Is it wise to give your dog fish for added iodine for example, rice for carbohydrates?

    Could it be that trying other foods for your dog is actually causing more damage than good?

    That it´s skin allergy is not from eating to much cod liver oil, but because it is not recieving a natural diet consisting of meat, bone and digestive tracts?(Containing digested grass, therefore vitamins and minerals)

    I am not trying to say that cooking for your dog is the wrong thing to do, I am just trying to understand the logic behind it .
     
  2. CreatureTeacher

    CreatureTeacher New Member

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    Do you mean in addition to a healthy raw meat diet? Or are you talking kibble? I'm going to assume raw meat, since kibble is about as far from a "natural diet" as you can get.

    A lot of folks do just what you imply, which is feed what's called a "primitive" diet consisting of meat, bones, and organs. It works well for most dogs. Problems arise when owners can't stand the smell and mess associated with food like tripe, which is a pretty essential part of a primitive diet. More problems come with folks who don't have access to a good butcher who can provide them with good bones, meat, organs, and connective tissue.

    It's also important to realize that many pure-bred dogs are no longer "natural" in the strictest sense of the word. Dogs have been bred selectively for 10,000 years. Although they are genetically almost identical to wild dogs and wolves, they are physically very different. Dogs can have a staggering variety of allergies. They can also have physical features or defects that necessitate a special diet. They can have abnormal organ function. These are all things that I would rather treat through dietary means than drugs from the vet. If we have the capacity and capability to give our dogs food that will help them feel better or perform better, why wouldn't we do it?

    If I had a wolf (which I never would), I would feed him a primitive diet. But dogs have basically been disposals for thousands of years, eating what we give them. Granted, human control over dog breeding has really twisted their evolution as a species, but tthey have evolved to eat a varied diet. I have learned with my own dogs that a variety of animal's meats tend to make a dog healthier than just one kind. I also supplement when I don't know the history of the meat and whether it's been treated since it left the animal in question. If I had my own farm, I'd feed my dogs animals I raised myself because I'd know they were healthy animals. But when I get bits and pieces from the butcher, I have little to no idea where they came from.

    Mordy's a good person to run this by, too. Hopefully she'll be along.
     
  3. Mordy

    Mordy Quigleyfied

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    emma made an excellent post.

    in addition to that, it was noted by the original poster that dogs are hunters and scavengers - so just what is a natural diet for them?

    canids are highly adaptable, which has lead to them living in many different environments, living on different diets. they eat whatever they can get, in one area this will be predominantly rabbits and other small prey animals, and maybe fish during certain times of the year, while in another it might be antelopes, or fowl and eggs in yet another.

    wolves in italy routinely raid garbage dumps because there they can find food they do not need to expend a lot of energy on.

    "in the wild", eating whatever they can find, diet may not be ideal for the individual animal either. nature doesn't care about supplying the "ideal" diet, in its grand design the most important thing is that an animal is fed well enough to be able to bear offspring to ensure its species doesn't die out. this design doesn't include provisions for longevity, which is what we strive for in our pets.

    so if there are ways of providing a better diet (i'm not saying here that this is commercial food tho! :)) with better nutrition, and we know that certain items in the diet improve the individual dog's health, why not feed them?

    in addition to that, it is pretty much impossible to exactly replicate a "natural diet" unless you send your dog out into the wilderness to catch its own prey. farm raised animals bred for slaughter do not eat a "natural diet" themselves and so still are far removed from wild prey.
     
  4. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    Those are excellent points, Mordy.

    I guess our dogs are pretty privileged. They have the best of all possible worlds. The cattle we raise are fed a natural diet; grass and clover in the pasture during the warm months, hay with some grain supplement during the harder part of the winter. I suppose that's as 'natural' as domestic cattle are going to get. Our beef certainly tastes nothing like what you get commercially.

    On top of that, my three are pretty adept at 'supplementing' their diets with wild food . . . I've been known to tell people they like fast food - rabbits, groundhogs, squirrel :eek: We won't talk too much about the occasional afterbirth treat. GACK! Plus, their regular feed is EVO and raw. The girls get extra vegetables as the Fila diet where these dogs originate was not necessarily heavy on meat. I can see such a huge difference in mine.
     
  5. Patrick and Lino

    Patrick and Lino New Member

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    Interesting views, yes, I saw somewhere in a documentory that dogs and even wolves have significantly reduced in size due to interaction with humans and forced change of environment.

    I am guessing also that the change in diet has an effect on the monocultures which aid the imune system and digestion in a dogs digestive track. By that I mean a dog may get diohrea by eating a dead animal on the side of a road for example, without a "scavenger" diet to build resistence to certain bactirium. Of course I wont let Lino do that as there have been reported rabies outbreaks in the area lately.

    I am lucky, I have always had access to quality meat and in Germany and Australia it is possible to trace meat to the farmer, field and slaughterhouse. I make sure I recieve grass feed meats, not raised in a "feed lot" as the animals are fed with antibiotics, growth stimulents and a lot of interesting sources of protein.

    As for hunting, he would love to chase the many deer and squirrels that live here, but I limit his hunting to mice which live in the fields here.
     
  6. Athe

    Athe New Member

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    My thoughts on this topic are: dogs are more scavenger than hunter. I really enjoyed reading the insights of Ray Coppinger (biologist) who studied wild domestic dogs. These dogs; by some, may be considered feral dogs, but, in actuality they have lived among man since dogs domesticated themselves and are probably the forefathers of all our current breeds. They speculate that dogs evolved on their own to be domestic and live off the waste of humans. Once permanent establishments were made by humans then some wild dogs/ancient wolves evolved. There are many feral/ naturally wild domestic dogs living a healthy happy life among villages and with village people. Eating the garbage and slop that humans throw out and living among livestock (chickens) and do not hunt for their foods. The biologists remarked at how they toured some of the villages while studying the dogs and commented on how the dogs acted just like any other normal pet dog and some times they actually believed the dogs belonged to some of the villages. The dogs had little prey drive unlike the enhanced predatory drive of our man made purebred dogs.

    Of course I still agree that a raw/home made diet is wonderful for our dogs. I also think that humans right now are over analyzing diet of dogs. I think like any thing, if there is a big profit to be made many manufactures and people will come forward to make big bucks on it. I also feel that it doesn't take a rocket scientist to properly feed a dog. My mother had a few dogs growing up as did many people at that time. They kept their dogs perfectly healthy by feeding left overs. The dogs did not hunt fresh game, and still lived to be late teens early 20's. Of course, now our dogs suffer from many effects shortening their lifespans, improper breeding practices which in effect leads to small gene pools and poor genetics in our dogs.

    Just my thoughts on this; but, isn't it funny how people don't get as much nutritional training for themselves as they do for their dogs. :p The human body is much more complex than our dogs, yet, most people only receive minimum education to keep it in health. I'll never forget the time I went to see my doctor and I heard the famous words of ; "just eat a balanced diet" :confused: I considered at that time that a burger and fries was pretty balanced :p It seems people put a shawl of mystery around feeding a dog as if it cannot be done without the right books or kibble. I give my dogs a variety, I do feed some kibble, canned, raw, home cooked meals. I also feed them leftovers from my meals as I eat healthy and my meals are just as good for my dogs as they are for me :) My dogs are healthy, wonderful teeth, and are getting up there in age and still act like pups. For myself the importance of variety in the diet is a major concern of mine.
    Of course, I am not an expert by any means. I am just going by my own observations of the dogs that I have owned, and how long lived they have been. I also have had many dogs that suffered from poor genetics (Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia etc.) and still kept them in good health and active no matter their disability and all of this I have achieved with the belief that variety is good for them. I find also that with my dogs they are so used to change and variety they do not suffer any bad side affects.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2005
  7. Patrick and Lino

    Patrick and Lino New Member

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    I have to agree, Athe. I know people who put hours into the research and making of special dog diets, making sure the food has the right minerals, vitamins, oils ect. One was a vegetarian who would feed the dog meat but thought she was herself leading a strict vegetarian diet.

    Imagine her shock when I told her from what the soft serve ice cream she loved so much was made.
     
  8. Patrick and Lino

    Patrick and Lino New Member

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    Please, someone explain to me why you would try to feeding your dog more oil for a shiny coat. Perhaps it is good for a show dog that you want to exploit to win prizes, but when in nature would it come close to eating such things.
    Fish, who has seen a dog catch a fish and eat it, it is not likely. OK, huskies eat fish, but why? They are chained up to stop them scavenging the afterbirth from seals and such. Oh yes, but bears´that eat fish are sure to leave scaps aren´t they? Wouldn´t the remaining bones pierce the stomache or intestines of the dog then?

    A Natural diet. Skin, meat, bones, everything that is between those things. They are carnivors-no, an egg is not a vegetable.
     
  9. Adrienne

    Adrienne New Member

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    If a dog/wolf is a scavenger/hunter would they not on occasion come across some dead fish on the banks of a river, sea, ocean, stream, or brooke and eat it? Most likely they would. By incorporating fish into your dogs raw diet you are including another valuable protein source as well as a source of omega 3 & 6 fatty acids (if you are feeding dark fleshed fish such as salmon, herring, sardines, etc.). Nowdays our beef is generally raised on feed, not free-ranged on grass where they would get a good supply of omega acids. Therefore the animals we eat are no longer a good source of these acids and we sometimes need to supplement some.
    Dogs stomachs are adapted to have acid strong enough to break down bone, skin, hair, nails, teeth, basically anything on a carcass. A few fish bones will not hurt the dogs stomach. There intestinal tract is incredibly short compared to ours so the bones don't have all that long of a way to go anyways, not miles of twisty intestines like us.
     
  10. Saje

    Saje Island dweller

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    So, after the salmon have spawned and are lying dead along the river bank it's ok to let my dogs eat it? :eek: Cuz there are TONS here. LOL
     
  11. Mordy

    Mordy Quigleyfied

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    very simple. certain omega fatty acids are needed to maintain healthy skin and coat. in a natural diet, those would mainly come from the skin and intestinal fat reserves of prey animals, since wild animals tend to be leaner than domestic ones overall. also keep in mind that many breeds of dogs have a completely different coat (and thus different dietary requirements) than any canid you'd observe in the wild. you can't compare every modern dog to a wolf for example, and this is one of the most glaring differences. hair is made up mostly of protein, so imagine what for example a dog of a profusely coated breed has to go through when shedding seasonally and growing a new coat. the smaller the dog and the more coat it has to grow, the higher the requirement for good quality, easily digestible protein and fat.

    as a matter of fact, most people do not know that the type of fat you feed makes a difference. they also don't understand how certain fatty acids promote and aggravate inflammation and other problems, which can make things a lot worse if a dog is already genetically predisposed.

    you can have a fairly malnourished animal with all kinds of underlying health issues that still has a decent coat, if the feed composition permits. think of commercial food fed to farmed mink or foxes for example - they aren't fed to stay particularly healthy and they don't live long until they have their precious pelts pulled over their ears either, so long term health isn't an issue, but the quality of the pelts definitely is.

    diet depends on environment. canids are very adaptable and generally eat what's available and convenient. if that includes fish, they will eat it.

    one thing people tend to forget is that it is extremely difficult to mimic a natural diet for dogs when itis mostly based on meats and bones of animals that didn't eat a natural diet themselves. wild canids cover quite a lot of territory and have access to completely different food sources. they aren't as likely to end up with nutritional deficiencies as domestic dogs who have to rely on whatever is tossed to them with more or less regard of the composition.

    personally i feel safer formulating a batch of food using at least some researched guidelines, and including certain supplements, rather than "flying blind" and hoping for the best. i'm planning for the long-term welfare of my dog, not just a timeframe long enough for sufficient reproduction, like mother natures for "dogs in the wild". if a female canid lives long enough to come into heat once and raises enough pups that manage to survive to adulthood and then reproduce themselves, nature's goal of ensuring the survival of the species is already accomplished. humans, with their man made dog breeds, have a different goal in mind. :)
     

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