I couldn’t figure out why the tomatoes kept disappearing right as they were ready to be picked. No one in my family would admit to taking them. Then one day I was standing at the kitchen sink, looking out the window and I saw Quincy, our faithful mutt, throwing his body against the pots. As he knocked the ripe tomatoes down, he would gobble them up as soon as they hit the ground.
You’re not a carnivore and neither is your dog. There I said it. I can just imagine all the immediate protests that statement might instigate. “Polite: you are mistaken my dog is a carnivore.” Outrage: “Are you out of your $#@%^^& mind, Woman!”
It’s true though. My Dad LOVES read meat. He considers himself a carnivore. I suspect he knows that he is really an omnivore but he won’t admit it. If my mom let him, he would have red meat at every meal. (You should see what the guy orders on pizza! You can’t even see the cheese.) If I had my way he would be an herbivore. Alas, Dad is an omnivore and so is his bichon frise, Lucy.
Lucy loves veggies so much that she will sit on the floor by my feet while I am cutting them and whine for me to throw her a treat. Her favorite is the stems from kale. (My dog Chauncy enjoys these as well.) The best way to get her to eat her whole dinner is to include steamed veggies in the mix. One of their other faves is cut up pieces of the stalk from broccoli.
Why do some many people believe dogs are carnivores then? Some of the obvious reasons would be that dogs have long, sharp teeth that would seem ideal for ripping flesh and hunting. They are also closely associated with wolves, who many would agree are carnivores but there have been arguments made that wolves are omnivorous as well. Although, physically they are built as carnivores, dogs appear to have adapted over thousands of years of hanging with humans and are now suited to a more varied diet. Dogs are capable of metabolizing carbohydrates.
Dogs may have always been a bit instinctually omnivorous anyway. Have you ever noticed your dog eating grass and dandelions in your backyard? They are not being weird. They are smart. Dogs know what humans have forgotten. Many weeds are natural cleansers for the body. Dandelions are especially wonderful because not only do they act as a diuretic, clearing the body of waste, they are also rich in many vitamins and minerals. (More on that in a future post.)
Dogs, like humans, benefit from a varied diet including fruit, vegetables and lean proteins. (There is some debate about whether or not dogs should eat grains. There is also debate over whether humans should either. It’s beyond the scope of this blog but it is worth investigating on your own if you choose.) Some vegans believe that dogs (and cats) can maintain good health and feed their pets meatless meals and supplements. Personally, I am not comfortable omitting meat from my dog’s diet. He seems to thrive on well-balanced diet of meat, raw & steamed veggies and some grains.
Cats, on the other hand, are obligate carnivores. Although, they do eat grass to cleanse their systems like dogs do, they are biologically built for meat consumption. They have sharp teeth and nails, short digestive tracks, heavy-duty acids to break down raw meat. A vegetarian or vegan diet contains no taurine, an essential amino acid for cats but one they cannot produce on their own. Although, it is possible to supplement a cat’s diet to include taurine and other essentials that would be absent in a vegan diet, I do not think this would be the NATURAL choice for a cat. I respect nature… thus the name of my blog.
Does your dog eat his or her veggies? Let me know in the comments section. I would love to hear from you!
Love and Blessings to All,
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How could I have missed that handsome puppy! I love this article, I know some dogs who have to be gluten free because they have developed skin allergies & get chronic infections. I’ve actually done some research & discussed making Teddy’s dog food with my Vet. The Vet was in favor of a high quality commercial dog food because he felt it was hard to create a consistent balanced diet. The dog food we feed Teddy had meat without byproducts, brown rice, barley & lot’s of vegetables. No corn, soy or wheat. We also feed him raw veggies & fruit in snack amounts. Thanks for your research on dogs’ & cats’ digestive system. 🙂
Thanks Jodi! And thanks for sharing the connection between gluten and skin issues for some dogs. Teddy is a lucky pup!