Pet Nutrition

Posted on: January 31, 2013

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Meat or Potatoes: What’s the Best Diet for Dogs?

wolf-and-dogAmong pet owners and veterinary professionals, there are a range of beliefs and recommendations about the style of diet we should be feeding our pets. Given that our furry companions are animals after all, the debate has focused on whether dogs can properly digest a diet including grains and starches or if a meat-only diet is more appropriate.

It is thought that domesticated dogs evolved from wolves almost 11,000 years ago. That being said, should companion dogs eat a diet similar to that eaten by wolves in nature or one of processed kibbles?  The answer is probably somewhere between the two.

The results of a recent study, published in Nature, proved dogs can properly digest various types of carbohydrates.

The study, titled The Genomic Signature of Dog Domestication Reveals Adaptation to a Starch-Rich Diet, looked at the genetic sequencing of dogs and wolves. It discovered genetic adaptations possessed by modern dogs that allow them to produce enzymes to digest carbohydrates; wolves lack these enzymes.  As dogs co-evolved alongside humans these genetic adaptations conferred a selective advantage to our canine companions, broadening their food base and allowing them access to a greater diversity of resources.

When looking at pet nutrition, it’s important to offer a balanced diet.

A diet consisting of only protein is missing important nutrients available in whole grains, vegetables and fruits. The key to a healthy pet diet is balance and quality ingredients with minimal processing.

Doylestown Veterinary Hospital offers nutritional counseling to clients.

From skin conditions to dental health to weight management, there are specialty foods that can meet the nutritional needs of your pet. Call us today to schedule an appointment to discuss pet nutrition and diet recommendations.