Carnivore? Omnivore?

I take fact over opinion any day. I'm seeing lots of  opinions trumpeted (stridently no less) as 'facts' that dogs are carnivores and there is no place for vegetables in a dog's diet. Clearly these people with such strong opinions about such things do not have the happy combination of a dog and a garden.  So for all of you stridently yammering folks on the internet who say with such authoity that dogs do not eat vegetables and vegetables do not belong in a dog' diet, zip it up!

Now I freely admit that my sample size is not statistically significant, but I cite the following as true facts:
  • My sister in law's dogs would pull up radishes out of her garden.
  • 2 of my dogs eat blackberries off the bush
  • All of my dogs love tomatoes (as does my sister in law's dogs)
  • I found 2 poodles in the wild (yes, this is true).  They ate everything including digging for grub worms and anything out of the garden.
  • 2 of my current dogs eat (with gusto) cucumbers and squash
 According to this article in National Geographic News, 
Dogs and bears, which diverged some 50 million years ago, are 92 percent similar on the sequence level. 
Well, with wolves at 99% dog DNA sharing and cave bears (and bears are great omnivores) at 92%, I'm willing to bet that my observations are lining up with the cave bear omnivore.

I'm not a rocket scientist, nor do I need to be.  But any observant human being (of which I ascribe to myself!) who has dogs and opportunities (e.g. a garden, bread on the counter, hamburger on the plate) will know that a dog is an opportunistic eater.  Now having said that...just because they can eat it does not mean that they should....and the same goes for us.  We eat a great many things that our ancestors did not eat.

I think it a reasonable assumption to say that that it is unlikely that a dog ate grains such as rice, soybean and wheat.  However,  our family dog, Duchess (a German Shepherd mix always on the look out for some man-butt to sneak up on and bite) would routinely wrestle fresh corn from the field across the street, though I never saw her tackle soybeans.  I have had dogs eat raw potatoes-sparingly.  It was likely more the chew experience than the taste--but I surely do not know.   Goodness knows that eggs are a wonderful thing...raw or cooked.  And I have to believe that dogs in the wild were frequent consumers of any egg thing (and the layer) on the ground.

Truthfully, dogs likely existed on the very thing that we are not to feed them....scraps from our table.  I imagine that early man's garbage heap was a cornucopia of great things that nurtured the symbiotic relationship that benefits canine and human.  And it has only been about 150 years since commercial pet food was invented.  Here's a great article from Feline Nutrition.

So in the grand scheme of things, pet food has only been available for ... tee up for LET's Do Math...

  • Dogs domesticated somewhere between 18,800 and 32,100 years ago according to Scientist Magazine
    • That makes an average of  25,450 years ago.
      • Pet food in existence since about 1890 after being introduced in 1860
        •  that's 124 years
      • Ratio of pet food existence since domestication average
        • 124/24450 =  .005
Looks like pet food industry does not quite measure up to years of historical significance in terms of historical record.  Accordingly, we should be careful about conclusions drawn on the basis of this 'slice'.

Fundamentalism of any ilk is to be avoided at all costs.


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