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Canine Instinct

FROM WOLF TO DOG

Coexistence between humans and carnivores has a very long history. The evidence points towards wolf packs adapting to life near nomad hunter gatherer populations around 50,000 years ago, where they could take advantage of the leftovers of our ancestors’ hunts.

Both wolves and humans adapted to living near each other during this period, and in time humans started to accept the more docile animals into their communities. It is thought that these primitive dogs even helped the humans’ hunting parties, eventually evolving into domestic dogs around 20,000 – 15,000 years ago.

 

Canine Instinct Dog

DOGS, CARNIVORES BY ANCESTRY

Despite having evolved considerably, the dogs that live in our homes still have part of the carnivore metabolism and hunting instinct of their wild ancestors.

We cannot forget that dogs still have characteristics clearly shared with other carnivores, such as teeth (to cut, tear, and chew), the lack of amylase in their saliva, their high tolerance of vitamin A (from livers), as well as not being able to synthesize vitamin D. These characteristics indicate that dog’s metabolism is mostly oriented to animal origin products. Diets based on small mammals (lamb, rabbit…) and birds (chicken, turkey) as well as fish (salmon, trout); their meat, organs and bones (rich in fat within the marrow) are ideal.

THE IMPORTANCE OF A VARIED DIET

Dogs need to keep their vital functions, activity, muscular mass and glossy coat through a balanced and healthy diet. In order to achieve this, ingredients that provide nutrients other than protein must be added to their diet: carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Dogs’ domestication in agricultural societies allowed for a metabolic adaptation to absorb the carbohydrates present in their diet, such as those provided by grains (rice, barley, oats) and some vegetables, like peas. These, when provided unaltered (whole grains) also contain fibre, which can be beneficial to the digestive system.

Fruits and vegetables complete the essential nutrients required by dogs, with dietary fibre and polyphenols from berries that have an antioxidant effect.

Nutrition has always had a fundamental role in dog’s character and physical development. Their energy and stamina, and ultimately, their wellbeing and happiness, depend on their health. There is nothing better than a good diet to achieve it.