What is a dogs NATURAL diet.

Discussion in 'Dog Food and Recipes' started by Dizzy, Sep 6, 2013.

  1. Dizzy

    Dizzy Sit! Good dog.

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    As inspired by my own reply to a thread, and the lovely rogers views on the natural diet of a dog. Not to derail that thread, I will start a new one.

    I'd like to point out that I feed both bodhi and Fred raw. But I also chuck in a few biscuits when training and raw hide chews to keep the buggers quiet sometimes :)

    I'm really interested to see what other people's views are on a dogs NATURAL diet. I don't believe there is such a thing, and I will explain my reasonings... I'm just going to copy and paste my response here as its the same.... Discuss!




    Just exactly what IS a dogs natural diet?

    For one, there isn't ANYTHING natural about a domesticated dog. They're a man made phenomena. They were built, designed, dreamt up by our ancestors for their uses, and I doubt.... I seriously DOUBT that they would have been fed on the prime and scarce meat cuts, cast off etc that you seem to think they were.

    They were NOT catching their own prey. They were tools, expendable no doubt at times, and I very, very much doubt... our ancestors gave a hoot if the dogs were eating meals consisting of any old thing.

    Feral dogs will scavenge and eat anything. Vegetable matter, meat, sometimes mineral for that matter. It's how dogs have done SO well being our companions.

    You talk like dogs have evolved to only eat meat la la la. It simply can't be true, it can't be how they have existed for so many years. I am not talking IDEAL diet. But the diet they've had for hundreds, if not thousands, of years probably wasn't barf or perfectly raw at ALL.

    You do know pandas are omnivorous right??? You see what I'm saying with that right??? They don't just eat bamboo!!! You understand what I am saying here, don't you??? Physiology doesn't always dictate behaviour. Absolute and utter FACT.

    So to say a "dogs natural diet", is actually pretty laughable on a zoological level... What IS a dogs natural diet I ask you???? Where are these natural dogs???
     
  2. Airn

    Airn New Member

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    Well, I feel like most of us agree that wolves do not equal dogs. I think doing any more than minimal comparing to wolves is silly. Hell, we''ve recently discovered what we thought was the norm for wolf communities is completely wrong.

    Its also debated on how they came to be, as another poster in the thread you're going off of mentioned. A lot of people now believe it was a mutual domestication. (The Wolf in The Parlor is a decent book that goes in depth on this.) Anyway, I agree that "natural" is a useless term when it comes to dogs.

    I want the best for my dog but I don't always manage that. I don't think raw is bad but it's not realistic for a lot of people. We really don't know enough about dogs. Its a pretty fascinating subject.
     
  3. tucksmom

    tucksmom New Member

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    I love this thread. I love what you guys have posted, I am thrilled to find someone else who has the same ideas about it that I do!

    I agree, dogs are not wolves-some are not even descendants of wolves-they are descendants of primitive dogs. (Or so science says today) Dogs are scavengers, to me their natural diet is whatever they can get to to survive.

    Could I be wrong? Sure but, it makes sense to me. Do I think any one diet is wrong? Not really, in all honesty, but I do think we should try to give them the healthiest options we can-the problem is, there is so much argument over what is better.

    I feed kibble, right now it's acana but I rotate between brands. Our next bag is wellness small breed (it was on sale). Kibble is convenient but I would prefer to do a dehydrated raw. My problem is a spouse who complains about the money I spend on dog food-and is very anti raw.

    I think home cooked and raw are excellent options-however, I don't believe the average person has the know how or resources to create a balanced diet, even over time. I have thought about doing home cooked but I don't trust any of the recipes out there and I honestly don't trust any of the sources I know of enough to pay them for their recipes.
     
  4. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    The belief that dogs evolved into domestic existence on their own dictates they were started on trash and perpetuated on scraps, varying levels depending on various needs for bribery/reward.

    My dogs eat steady diets of kibble and raw because I don't like random soft, liquid poop, nor do I want a gassy dog in my house. I feed what works, natural is not the word I would boast but it works. Natural is a word people get very confused about, it's like when people have trouble grasping a chemical compound can easily be natural.

    What do pandas have to do with this?
     
  5. Dizzy

    Dizzy Sit! Good dog.

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    As I mentioned, my post was a reply to another thread, which inspired this thread.

    Roger suggests dogs have a natural diet of nothing but, I assume, meat. That their physiology dictates this and everything else is poison to them. My panda reference is that even when you know the biology it doesn't dictate the behaviour, or food consumption. Pandas actually have carnivorous digestive systems, but eat almost solely bamboo. They very very occasionally eat meat. They are not vegetarians!!!!

    But, you wouldn't serve a panda a purely meat based diet.

    My thoughts for this thread really are what is a dogs NATURAL diet. Is there such a thing in a MODERN DOMESTIC dog. Can we base our ideas on wolves or wild dogs? Did dogs through the ages EVER eat a barf/raw/grain free diet?

    Where do we get our ideas from?

    The emphasis is on natural diet. What has a dog evolved eating, what should it eat now, what is natural about a domesticated animals diet.
     
  6. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    I would say that dogs evolved eating human scrap foods.... whatever that was in the region.
     
  7. Cardiparty

    Cardiparty New Member

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    I have complicated feelings on this, but I also feel like if it's not broken, don't fix it.

    Dogs have sharp teeth and short digestive tracts; while I do believe dogs are omnivorous, I believe that they are something like 3/4 carnivore and 1/4 omnivore if that makes sense (which really it doesn't, because that would make them 100% omnivore LOL I just couldn't think of a better way to put it).

    I feed yogurt, eggs, green beans, raw bones, calf liver, green cow tripe, and dog food. They don't get all of those things every day, but those are some very common things in their diet.

    I don't believe dogs, or any animal, can survive exclusively on muscle meat. Wolves eat a variety of things, including bone, organ meat, fur, skin, etc. Wolves will eat fish, too. They also eat scraps left by humans.

    While wolves and dogs are not the same thing, dogs are similar in that they can survive off of a wide variety of things so a dog's "natural" diet is how Laurelin put it and it's regional.

    Some dogs have a high digestive tolerance and can literally thrive on anything. Some dogs can't.

    It worries me to hear more and more stories of dogs that have digestive intolerance because a huge hunk of the immune system revolves on how the body processes food.

    I feel that alot of the auto immune issues are connected, and I would really hesitate to breed a picky eater and definitely wouldn't breed a dog with food allergies.

    Would a food allergy prevent a dog from eating something that should be in its natural diet? In many cases, dog owners are told to switch protein sources or carbohydrate sources to something less common then beef, chicken, potatoes, rice, and corn.
     
  8. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    I think the more relevant questions is, "What is the healthiest diet for a dog?" The easy answer is "It depends on the dog." But even if a dog can survive on trash and leftovers, that doesn't mean it's the healthiest food for it.
     
  9. Airn

    Airn New Member

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    Pretty much.

    Since dogs devolved alongside humans (assuming a bit here, I guess) I would imagine their diets are about as diverse as a human's.

    A human can 'survive' on McDonalds forever, but they're going to have lots of issues if that's the only thing they eat. Seems similar to a dog. They can live off of a crappy diet but it's not ideal for them.

    Just like diets vary by person, they probably vary by dogs. I'm not sure anyone would have a 'natural' diet for humans, so a natural diet for dogs doesn't seem reasonable either.

    And the wolves are dogs thing. Let's not forget that the average wolf only lives ~5 years. So natural does not equal ideal, IMO. Obviously that's not due (solely) to their diet, but it would make it difficult to see how their diet impacts their health as they age.
     
  10. Lyzelle

    Lyzelle New Member

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    While dogs are primarily "man-made", I do believe some amount of evolution in the dog was natural selection. The healthiest, fastest, strongest, most successful dog for the job/environment got to breed. And generations may very well have yo-yo'd between domesticated and feral. Feral does not equal wild, but I believe "natural" as a definition could be up for debate. Dingos and mustangs, for example, are not "wild". They are feral. But does that mean they are not natural, with a natural diet?

    Past that, there are a lot of factors.

    The easiest answer, like Sael said, "It depends on the dog". And just because they can survive on it, it doesn't mean it is best, like Airn said. Humans don't have a "natural" diet. We are not born knowing what to eat, it is a learned behavior. Dogs are similar, which means that alone is a huge factor.

    Did the dog's ancestors pass on their genes SURVIVING on their most ideal diet, or did they ADAPT to the diet they were given? What came first, the chicken or the egg? Dogs who were used as tools were probably given a limited diet of scraps and adapted to using whatever "food" they got to the highest efficiency. Those dogs bred, later generations became garbage disposals. But maybe in the process, they can't handle more rich foods, like raw meat. Dogs who were more used as companions or bred primarily for looks/temperament and fed a slightly more varied/higher quality diet may not be able to handle being fed just anything...it wasn't how they evolved.

    Even the panda comment can fit under here. Maybe at one time their diet was more varied and they were forced to adapt to bamboo only. Or, maybe bamboo was their ideal diet, and meat was no longer needed.

    Wolves may not live for a long period of time in the wild, but the fact that they are living at all shows that they have used their environment to the best of their ability, and adapted accordingly. The telling factor would be, where in the world do wolves live the longest? Do they face the same factors as the rest of the wolves, but their diet differ? Most would call that diet "ideal". How many wolves die of NUTRITIONAL issues(food allergies, malnutrition), rather than environmental issues? Can you compare that number to dogs, who are not wild and do NOT face the same dangers, yet have the added bonus of humans caring for their dietary needs? Compare those numbers to feral dogs?

    And this makes perfect sense as well. Siberian Huskies, for many generations, were fed primarily seal, fish, kelp, etc type scraps. Therefore, their diet was often high in copper and zinc. These days, many Sibes suffer from copper/zinc deficiency, despite the fact that those levels are usually within "normal" levels for most dogs. You see it in humans, too. Grain tolerance, intolerance. Milk tolerance, intolerance. Look at where the person's ancestors came from, how long they lived there, what the main diet was. Anyone who got sick from that diet isn't going to pass on those genes.

    Then you bring in more modern factors. How many breeders breed with diet in mind? How often do dogs with food allergies these days get bred? Was that a factor back when we needed HEALTHY and SOUND dogs to do constant work day in, day out? How has the human diet changed (more grain, less veggies and meat) in recent years? How will that affect the dogs' diet? How long has kibble been an option for domestic dogs? Is that enough time to develop either a tolerance or a naturally selected intolerance, yet bred on by ignoring food allergies of stud dogs or bitches? Will these dogs eventually die out due to such issues? Or will they adapt?

    Way too many factors. It's a multi-faceted, highly complex issue, honestly. Why? Dogs are the best eugenics experiment there has ever been. We have bred for the "best" dogs, with every persons' definition varying a little or a lot. Dogs may be a species, but they are a species that has NO rival and NO comparison when it comes to the extreme variance in bone structure, outward appearance, behavior, and origins. The diet, the most fundamental part to any living thing, is going to reflect that.

    TL;DR:

    Depends on the dog. There is no one right answer, IMO.
     
  11. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    Yup.

    I'm not sure why this is such an emotional topic, but I still havent looked up the other thread, feed what works and ideally feed what's best within your financial reach.

    Le shrug.
     
  12. SpringerLover

    SpringerLover Active Member

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    On a similar note, I've discussed the issue of senior dogs not being able to digest the same things they were able to as youngsters.

    From the people I've talked with, most spaniels lost the ability to digest kibble as they age. There is no scientific research behind this, and it could very well be something across the board (or no correlation at all). But I find that interesting. MANY senior spaniel owners have had to change to fresh cooked, or raw in order for their dogs to continue to thrive.
     
  13. Cardiparty

    Cardiparty New Member

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    So, if a dog is allergic to a certain thing, does that mean that "thing" cannot be part of its natural diet?
     
  14. Lyzelle

    Lyzelle New Member

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    That's interesting. Would be neat to see some type of study on that.
     
  15. Oko

    Oko Silence, peasants.

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    Wesley tells me his natural diet is guinea pig food and steak. :confused:
     
  16. Roger Biduk

    Roger Biduk New Member

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    49% protein, 45% fat and only 6% carbohydrates!

    That's pretty-well what the guaranteed analysis is of a dog's natural diet.

    Just go to show how bad most commercial pet foods really are with most being low in protein and super-high in carbs, with some "Prescription Diets" recommended and sold by most veterinarians containing up to 60% carbohydrates, 900% more than needed!... this one of the main reasons for so many degenerative illness and disease caused by diet in cats/dogs.

    Here's a few good articles:
    The Canine Ancestral Diet

    The Ancestral Diet For Dogs

    Further Thoughts on Pet Foods by Natasha Kassell, VMD
    Roger Biduk
     
  17. JacksonsMom

    JacksonsMom Active Member

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    I completely agree with you, Dizzy.
     

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