are dogs omnivores?Today I flicked through the UK barf club discussion forum, the discussion site affiliated with AMP, and saw that there was some discussion on the non-meat (fruit and veg) component of dog diets - quality and quantity. I just thought I'd give you my penny's worth.
Firstly I have to state that dogs are not carnivores.
Tom Lonsdale, in his book Raw Meaty Bones, gives guidance for cats and dogs as if they were had similar eating habits. I¹m sorry Tom, cats are not just small dogs, they have a completely different nutritional need, dental pattern, gastrointestinal setup, and behavior, reflecting their differences. Cats are carnivores,
yes. Dogs are omnivores; carnivorous omnivores, perhaps, but omnivores all the same.
Omnivores eat meat (including everything else in a carcass - perhaps we should call them carnivores?) and non-meat. Even in the frozen wastes of Siberia or Northern Canada, they
will eat mainly herbivore carcasses - carcasses full of vegetation. Even if, in these extreme
circumstances, wolves can survive, they do not thrive as the diet is minimal in quantity and
quality. We can feed our dogs a lot of good quality fruit and veg to optimize the diet. I think
The man has survived on a sub-optimal diet for his/her entire evolution until about 100 years ago.
This does not mean we should continue eating roots and the odd rabbit. One of the major
contributors to human health, alongside the sterling work of Mr. Crapper and all the other
sanitation engineers through the ages, is diet (not doctors, vaccines, and antibiotics as some will tell you). Improved diet means improved health. Always. Incontrovertibly - always. If we are doing it for us, why not for our dogs? Eating well is easy to do and makes so much sense.
Dog's digestion is more like a man than a cat's, so this is why I suggest a 30-50% inclusion of meat in the diet I recommend. Raw meaty bones are on top of this, so at a push, the meat proportion could reach 60% for the very fit and very young (if high protein suits them). Fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and herbs all contain components that are not found in carcasses.
Offering a good variety of all of these things takes our wolf model from scraping an existence
on the nutritional edge to thriving in nutritional plenty. Blending the fruit is a good idea. The same goes for root and leafy veg. Plenty of variety is a
good thing. Most meals should have a green tinge if you can. Colour is a good way to ensure
variety - if you're giving a good variety of color, then you can be pretty sure you're getting all the food groups. Grinding the nuts and seeds mimics the action of herbivore teeth allowing greater digestion of these things. Herbs are not just for flavor - they contain minerals and vitamins and contribute to a rounding of the diet.
If you find preparing fruit and veg a bit of a pain, then please note that those nice people at
AMP has thought of this and done all the dirty work for you. Nature's Menu Frozen Range
offers a choice of diets where raw meat and veg have been mixed and frozen for you. They
are ideal for those too busy to do the whole BARF diet or for those who can, but find
holidays and trips difficult.
So, I hope this helps to clarify my position on how much non-meat should I feed my dog.