AnimalsHealth and Fitness

Dog food: a surprising study to discover!

Have you ever seen a wolf eat a carrot? Yes, the image makes you laugh, and seems straight out of a children’s story, I grant you…

However, the legend according to which our dogs need vegetables persists, despite the alarming discourse of many animal health specialists… Discover in this article a study that will surprise you, and will make you change your vision of dog food.

Dog food and vegetables: a tenacious myth!

Dogs need vegetables

You have probably heard that vegetables have many health benefits for dogs. Supply of vitamins, fibers, and minerals, control of the animal’s weight, source of protein which satiates them… The “specialists” never stop extolling the virtues of vegetables, even fruits, with great fanfare “scientists”.

Their speech is oriented around a major idea: wild dogs, wolves, even lions, would feed in nature on vegetables. Do you also find it hard to imagine a wolf obediently digging up a potato or a carrot? The same “specialists” to whom you will make this objection will retort that wild dogs consume vegetables by eating the stomach contents of their herbivorous prey…

But here comes the moment when a second objection arises: don’t herbivores mainly eat grass, and no fruits or vegetables? At this stage of the discussion, your “specialist” will probably run out of arguments to convince you of the benefits of these foods in dog food. And for good reason!

A study to shed light on this myth

Lucian David Mech, wolf and wild dog specialist and zoologist, has published many books during his career that shed light on the natural eating behaviors of our dear canine friends. His theories, which are based on 350 years of research and observation of wolves in their natural environment, give a completely different view of dog food.

Here is what he explains, in his book Wolf, about the behavior of wolves when faced with the stomachs of their herbivorous prey:

“Usually wolves eat the larger organs like lungs, heart, and liver. The large rumen (which is one of the main stomachs of large ruminants) is frequently perforated when the wolf extracts it from the carcass and its contents spill out. The plants present in the intestinal tract are of no interest to wolves, but the intestinal wall and the stomach itself are consumed, while their contents will then remain alongside the remains of the prey.

And Lucyan D. Mech emphasizes the fact that these plants are not even of interest to wolves who have nutritional deficiencies! He even specifies:

“In order to grow and stay alive, wolves need to ingest most of their herbivorous prey, with the exception of plants found in the digestive system.

The observation of this specialist is clear: wild dogs, like our four-legged life companions, absolutely do not need these vegetables to survive. And we can even go further: it is clear that fruits and vegetables can be more or less dangerous for the health of our dogs.

The real (harmful) effect of vegetables on dog transit

A marketing discourse above all

Just as human diets are subject to fads, those of our four-legged friends are subject to reflection. What’s the point of including vegetables in the dog food they sell, when their natural diet doesn’t include any?

Which dog food should you choose to meet your natural needs?

A carnivorous diet, or nothing!

Contrary to what myths may tell, dogs did not become omnivores, but they are still carnivores. Instinctively, their body calls for meat, be it poultry meat, birds, small mammals, lamb… It is therefore only natural to choose meat-based dog food, rich in protein. animals. However, it must be recognized that giving fresh quality meat to your dog every day is very expensive. To overcome this problem, the solution, known and widespread among the general public, is of course to turn to croquettes containing meat.

But beware, here too, aware that consumers are demanding products close to the real needs of their dogs, there are roundabout ways of advocating a protein intake. It is, for example, not uncommon for certain brands of kibble to contain “animal by-products”, or even “fresh meats” which, depending on their origin, may in fact be of poor quality. Products just as contrary for the digestive comfort of your dog as vegetables …

To subscribe to the natural needs of your companion, it is advisable to choose kibbles that meet very specific criteria.

But also be sure to choose kibbles that voluntarily limit the number of cereals, which could also have an impact on its transit (constipation for example when used in large quantities).

By choosing kibbles that respect their physiology, you will see a noticeable improvement very quickly and will preserve their natural vigor. Breeder’s word!

Respect your dog’s natural needs by choosing kibbles that suit him

A guide based on real expertise

Discover in this free 50-page book, the food to adopt to permanently improve the comfort and health of your dear companion, by choosing his croquettes according to his real needs. This guide will also help you to best preserve the health of your dog throughout his life.

Protein for dogs in their diet

Meat, and more particularly proteins, play an essential role in the dog’s body. However, we must not forget the need for a quality protein intake.

Most foods contain proteins (a chain of peptides made up of amino acids). Foods rich in protein are well known, we find meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products. Vegetables and cereals also contain vegetable proteins, but these are not nutritionally equal to animal proteins (muscle proteins).


After reading the study and the related article, I was left wondering what the purpose of the research actually was. However, one of the final paragraphs of the article may offer a hint:

“Since all three types of dog food didn’t seem to result in health problems, one takeaway from this research may be that extruded, lightly cooked and raw dog foods can all meet dogs’ nutritional needs if made using evidence-based guidelines and safety protocols.”

There it is again, that strange reference to no health problems in the dogs who ate the four pet foods for 28 days. Perhaps the hoped-for outcome was that the dogs wouldn’t do as well on the fresh or raw diets. Or perhaps it was an attempt to establish that fresh and processed dog foods are the same.

Whatever the intent of the research, I’m happy these types of studies are beginning to take place here in the US I feel the pet food industry has no choice but to begin evaluating the health benefits of fresh (raw and gently cooked) pet foods because of their popularity.

I was fortunate to be able to visit Dr. Anna Hielm-Björkman, professor at the veterinary school in Helsinki, Finland, who is also studying dog metabolomics.


Other research on how diet impacts the canine gut microbiome has provided better insight into the benefits of feeding species-appropriate diets to dogs. For example, an Italian study published recently compared the influence of a raw meat and vegetable diet versus an extruded diet in eight healthy Boxers.

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