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(13 Posts)
EasyToEatTiger Wed 29-Jan-14 11:19:37

We know that dogs don't behave like wolfs. And that what we thought about wolves and how we related it to domestic dogs has now been discredited. It has been said that dogs are no more descended from wolves that humans are descended from chimpanzees, but that in both cases there is a common ancestor.

This does matter in lots of ways. At the moment there is a big move towards raw feeding, which would suggest that the dog is a carniverous predator. Other sources suggest that the dog is a scavenger.

All these ideas can't be right. Or are people becoming dogmatic in their beliefs about the origins of dogs, how to live with them and how to feed them??

fanoftheinvisibleman Wed 29-Jan-14 11:30:00

I raw feed. I don't believe dogs are wolves. I thing that dogs are more than capable of being both predators and scavengers at the same time. To be honest, watching wildlife documentarys many species survive doing a mix of the two things.

But I defy anyone watching my terrier around birds to tell me he has no predator instinct...he practically vibrates with it. He ignores furries but is used to having them around.

I think it is more complicated than being one thing or the other.

EasyToEatTiger Wed 29-Jan-14 11:41:29

Our dogs make lousy hunters and would have died long ago if they relied on fresh meat! I think there is a lot of confusion and conflicting evidence surrounding dogs. Lots of mammals are omniverous. The South American Maned Wolf eats fruit and veg and small animals. Basically whatever's around. The African Wild Dog, another canid is a carnivore.

I think there is work to be done and understanding to be understood!

PeriPathetic Wed 29-Jan-14 11:45:12

I belieive that wolves, and other members of the Canis species, are opportunistic omnivores. Which is why they are so successful.

I raw feed. But my dog has absolutely no inclination to scavenge and pretty much only eats meat and fish. And cheese. All attempts at offering other items are cleanly and carefully pushed away.
She has a very strong hunting instinct (but little success).

Dogs are dogs, in all their many shapes, sizes, styles and appetites. So varied it's hard to generalise, IMHO.

ender Wed 29-Jan-14 12:08:36

Agree its impossible to generalise. My lab is a scavenger, if let off lead by the river he always finds at least one dead duck, once he found three and ate them all. If he was left to roam free he'd be eating all day. My other dog (GSD crossed with something skinny and v fast) is a hunter, brilliant at catching rabbits, squirrels and pigeons but doesn't eat them, just kills v quickly and carries them about looking pleased with himself and tormenting the lab.

HotPanda Wed 29-Jan-14 13:08:52

ender that is a perfect description of my 2!
The weimeraner will scavenge anything, and it is a mission to get her to leave it. She does have a strong prey drive, but hasn't managed to catch anything yet.

The dalmatian is a hunter, through and through.

I feed raw, but they also get leftover veg etc.

EasyToEatTiger Wed 29-Jan-14 15:19:37

I am soooo confused!smile An omnivore is specialised to eat whatever it can and a carnivore is specialised to eat meat. I have been reading masses about the pros and cons of the raw diet for dogs. I still don't get it. Not if dogs are specialised to eat any old rubbish like humans. A dog cannot be both an omnivore and a carnivore, surely?

NuttyMuttie Wed 29-Jan-14 16:46:08

A dog is an opportunistic scavenger although optimised to eat meat over veg, carbs etc. I think the phase used is dogs have an "undeniable carnivorous bias".

A dog shows traits of being a carnivore - eg teeth formation and how they chew, musculature and external anatomy,

Amylase is a specialized enzyme most herbivores and omnivores produce in their saliva. Dogs do produce this but in the intestine not in their saliva so this can make carbs etc harder for dogs to digest. This puts major effort on the pancreas to digest plants etc.

Dogs do not have any means of breaking down cellulose or starch. (Hence why kibble etc has so many additives in it to add vitamins etc to a diet the dogs can not digest!).

Interestingly there is discussion that wolves eat their stomachs prey however this has now been disproven and wolves actually will shake out the stomach contents of their kill (unless a small animal) eat the stomach and leave the contents if their kill is an omnivore.

The whole reason dogs have become domesticated is their ability to adapt, they worked out that humans gave them what they needed, eg food, shelter etc and so the dogs evolved to work for humans and to eat what they could find.

Dogs are dogs and dogs are brilliantly adaptable. However dogs main food source needs to be meat!

EasyToEatTiger Thu 30-Jan-14 13:59:14

I have been reading some work written by Alexandra Semyonova, amongst lots of other ideas. She is very clear as to why Cesar Milan's ideas are dangerous as opposed to simply out of date. I am no expert; simply struggling to wade through so many ideas and wondering what on earth we do understand as anything beyond fantasy!

EasyToEatTiger Fri 31-Jan-14 13:20:03

So if dogs find it hard to digest carbohydrate, that leaves fat and protein? I thought that if dogs eat too much protein, they bounce off the walls. Their feral counterparts don't have walls to bounce off, so they're probably a bit better off.

fanoftheinvisibleman Fri 31-Jan-14 13:51:36

People get very easily confused when it comes to meat and protein levels though. Don't make the mistake of thinking it is 100% protein. A boneless chicken breast for instance is approx 30% protein. There is a large moisture content in fresh meat too which is why raw fed dogs often drink less. One of the things people often comment on about raw is how calm dogs are.

I can neither confirm or deny this as I have a high energy young terrier. But whilst he is a whirling dervish out and about and will walk for miles, he is very well behaved and a pleasure to have at home. My mum dog sits whenever as she always says you don't know ypu have him so he is an all round mix!

tabulahrasa Fri 31-Jan-14 14:18:42

"I thought that if dogs eat too much protein, they bounce off the walls"

Some people say that - others that it's what the protein source is that's the issue, protein straight from meat in a raw diet doesn't seem to do it, where protein from other sources in commercial food does - so basically it's protein from other sources that are added to foods that are a problem rather than how much protein.

EasyToEatTiger Sat 22-Feb-14 18:06:56

We still have much to learn about our best friends... It is extraordinary that so many things have taken us such a long time to get round to figuring out!

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