Nutrition War Rages On!

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This article by Dr Doug Knueven in Dogs Naturally Magazine explains recent research on lupine/canine adaptation to a human diet.  The research shows evidence that part of the genetic adaptation which occurred as wolves became dogs was an ability to process carbohydrates found in some of the dogs that were studied. 

The title of Dr. Knueven’s article is rather provocative and is meant to be so.  As you read further in the article you find the good Dr. has a balanced approach toward the research.  After careful consideration, he concludes that, while some dogs carry genes that may enable them to thrive on a starchy diet; the vast majority of dogs will continue to get the most benefit from a grain-free ancestral diet.

My conclusion:  Dogs eat meat.  If they eat kibble, they will benefit most from kibble that contains the most meat.

Just as Dr. Knueven predicts, I believe this study will be used by the big dog food manufacturers to defend their extensive use of grain fillers. 

On a related note:  I had the opportunity last September to watch two wolves devour a good sized mule deer doe.  They did not eat the stomach contents.  They tore into the animal through the rectal area and proceeded to rip off and consume large hunks of tissue from the haunches and back area.  The next day the stomach and contents were still largely intact.  Corvids (ravens & crows) were working the carcass over by this time.

So much for the old saw about wolves always eating the stomach contents first.  Yes, I know, one incident is an anecdote, not research.  However one incident is enough to remove some of the certainty of previous assumptions.

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Diesel Is Too Skinny!

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Diesel is too skinny!  We need to put a few pounds on him.  I still believe that feeding a measured amount of a quality food on a consistent schedule solves 90 percent of eating problems, but this wasn’t working for Diesel.  He just wasn’t eating enough to gain any weight.

Diesel is currently feeding on Orijen Red Meat dog food.  For those of you who are dog food snobs like me, you’ll recall that this stuff is about 90 bucks a bag.  So I was a little miffed with Diesel when he turned his nose up at it.  He eats the stuff, but he’s not crazy about it. 

Orijen is the same food I give to my labs and they wolf it down like… well… labs!  My point is that I have a pretty good idea how much of this stuff to feed a 70 lb dog.  Diesel was only eating about half as much as I would expect.

Lyn, my wife and resident dog food expert/fanatic, suggested that I put probiotics in his food to help get his gut working right.  Her thinking was that once his digestive system was properly populated with all the necessary flora and enzymes that his appetite would improve.  I agreed, of course, and started putting the probiotic powder on his food.  I have seen this particular brand of probiotic work extremely well on other dogs but it takes time to work.  I was getting impatient.

On a whim, I decided to crack a raw egg over the food just to see if the old trick might work to get my skinny foster-dog to eat a little more.  It worked.  He started eating kinda tentatively, but soon began slurping and gobbling his food like a proper beast.  I was happy!

Behold, my shame-faced admission of a dirty little secret: I have snickered quietly at the last hundred people who told me the old wives tale about the raw egg on the food making the dog’s coat shiny.  Nope.  Not really.  It doesn’t do much for the dog’s coat that we’ve seen in the last five years of owning a groom shop.              But raw egg does seem to boost appetite!

At least it’s working for Diesel and that’s all that really matters to him.  I’m still gonna do the probiotics like Lyn said, but now at least I’m feeding the stuff to the dog instead of the garbage can! 

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