Does your pup’s dietary program include enough meat? While vegetarian diets can be made to meet most dogs’ requirements, meat-first programs offer greater nutritional value. The following post discusses the reasons why dogs thrive when fed a meat-focused diet.
Reducing or even eliminating meat from your diet is a noble goal – it’s certainly good for your health as well as for the health of the planet. However, is it a good idea to make your dog follow suit?
It’s true that dogs are omnivores, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that dogs can derive nutrients from as many plants as we do. Here are a few reasons why it’s probably a good idea to give your dog a meat-first diet.
- Dogs have evolved to eat meat. As I said before, dogs are omnivorous. However, when you look at their mechanisms for breaking down and digesting food, it’s clear that they have developed to be meat eaters. Their teeth aren’t suitable for grinding; they’re for tearing. Their digestive tracts are better constructed to process meat, since they have relatively short intestinal tracts, sizable stomachs, and very powerful stomach acid. They also don’t manufacture the kinds of enzymes that allow for optimal plant nutrient absorption.
- Wild dogs don’t gather, they hunt and scavenge. Although wolves and dogs can and will eat vegetation when they must in order to survive, they don’t possess the internal mechanisms that cause them to be attracted to vegetation. When they see a small animal, their very first instinct is to hunt it. They’ll only eat plants when there are no other options.
- There are far more plants that dogs can’t eat than animals. With the exception of highly processed, nitrate-intensive, cured sausages that you can’t find in the wild anyway, dogs can eat any kind of meat. However, there are multiple vegetables and fruits that are toxic to dogs, including vegetables from the allium family, avocados, grapes, rhubarb, and mushrooms.
Meat-first doesn’t necessarily mean “meat exclusive.” There are some non-meat foods that offer good sources of protein and vitamins that can be given as a supplement. Some of the best dog foods for maintaining optimal nutritional balance are Nutrish, Pedigree, and Zignature. DCM, obesity, and kidney disease are degenerative, life-shortening medical conditions that are related to diet.
Consult your vet to find the best nutritional program for your pet’s needs, lifestyle, and health.
I’m an enthusiastic pet parent to two beautiful and breathtakingly energetic rescue dogs. I enjoy blogging, spending time with my family, and posting silly pictures of my mutts on Instagram.
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