A Dog’s Natural Diet Decoded by Geet Rao

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Having a pet(s) is a way of life today. And why not? After-all, pets give us unconditional love. In many cultures, including our very own, love somehow translates into food! And so is for our pets. This is exactly how I dived into the subject of food for pets, simply out of love for my four-legged boys and enrolled myself for the course, Clinical Pet Nutrition from USA. Now, I am all gung-ho to share my learnings to enable pet parents translate their love into great, healthy food for their tail-wagger! 😉

First things first! Before we feed our pooches, we need to know where they come from! Well, dogs belong to Canidae family, which also consists of foxes, jackal, wolves and coyotes. The Canidae hunt or scavenge for their food and are mainly carnivores. They obtain their vegetable and plant matter from the gut of their prey – a point worth digging up.

The ancestral diet of dogs consisted of mainly meats and some vegetables. Something important to appreciate is that meats were raw while vegetables were partially digested, as they came from the gut of their prey! Consequently, dogs should be fed with cooked/ partially cooked vegetables and not raw vegetables. Talking about meats, even though dogs thrive when fed raw meats such as lamb, chicken or any other, I still recommend steaming the meats before serving them to your pooch, considering the storage and hygiene conditions of the meats sourced may not be the best.

Another aspect worth learning from the ancestral diet of dogs is that dogs barely had carbohydrates. That really leaves room for thought considering a major component of the diet of most of the dogs today is bread or roti! But that’s not all so bad. Genetic analysis shows that dogs have overtime developed the ability to produce more amylase than wolves. Amylase is the enzyme that is used in the digestion of starch. So, we can provide roti or bread as a component in a dog’s diet, but not as a major component of dog food.

Canidae also consumes fat stored in the body and organs of their prey. In a nutshell, a dog’s ideal diet would be more meat, lesser fat (ghee/oil), even lesser carbohydrate and a variety of partially cooked vegetables. Hope you have fun feeding your Fido. Ciao until next time!