Feed a dog grains and starches: It’s the way evolution intended.
That’s not my mantra, but according to a team of Swedish researchers, as wolves evolved into dogs, they learned to not only crave, but to exist, on eating things like wheat, corn, barley, and potatoes. According to the study published in the journal Nature and reported by the Washington Post, the findings support the idea that wolves evolved to dogs, due in large part, to their foraging and eating behaviors.
I recall learning about wolves sitting fireside near humans in my 11th grade Social Studies class, and these new findings seem to support that very notion. Wolves ate our scraps, came to tolerate human beings, and eventually came to serve a purpose to man: companionship, working, herding, guarding, etc.
Dogs were not the result of humans desiring their companionship and selectively breeding them, emeritus professor of biology and expert on dog evolution at Hampshire College in Massachusetts, Raymond Coppinger, says. Wolves scavenged from people and thus began the evolution. In fact, genetic differences in brain function between wolves and dogs have been found in the study, which is still being analyzed.
In a report filed by the Washington Post, starch digestion was analyzed. It seems that wolves have two copies of the pancreatic enzyme needed for starch digestion whereas dogs have four to 30. Gene duplication of amylase is also found in human evolution. Dogs eat fast, for the most part, right? People eat pretty slow or at least less rapidly than a dog. We produce the enzyme in our saliva while a dog’s amylase activity happens in the pancreas; thus, they “wolf” their food down. Feed your dog a table scrap and he still eats fast. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve said, “eaaaaaasy” to my dogs over the years.
What does all of this have to do with grains and dog food? As humans evolved, so too did wolves: into dogs and with a human diet rich in agricultural products like grains and starches. So if dogs ate wheat, rice, barley, corn and potatoes in order to evolve into the species as we know it, are dry foods loaded with corn meals, carbs, and grains actually better for a dog than say, a designer primarily meat-based diet?
I do not and will not feed my dog dry dog food, but that does not make it a selection for everyone. I am of the ilk that if the diet works for your dog and is allowing him or her to live healthy, produce firm stool, and allow the dog to grow and thrive without health issues, then that is the right dog food for your pooch. However, having read enough, talking to experts whom I trust, and seeing what lesser quality foods can do to a dog, I will continue to feed a meat- based diet that also has vegetables and omega 3 oils in it.
What do you think of these results? Are you surprised? Moreover, are you pro grain or anti grain (or somewhere in between) in terms of your dog’s diet? Bark at me below.