Is my dog a carnivore

Had anyone told me  that I would seriously question whether or not the descendant of a wolf was a true carnivore or not, I would have laughed.

This all started several years ago when I had a client who feed their dog a human diet. Of course she was on the health conscious kick so, she and the dog ate mostly vegetables.  The dog was fat, lethargic and looked a bit down.  I suggested increasing the animal protein in the dogs diet and here came a spew of rheoric regarding vegetables and organics in the canine diet.

Just like Motley’s top 10, Never get stuck on one theory or idea. I listened and went to work researching the issue.

I thought … simple… I will call a vet and ask. Well that did not work. To her credit she told me she was not sure and proceeded to do some research of her own.  In decyphering her answer, I came to the conclusion that dog where indeed Carnivores.

Reporting this to my client.. she insisted that too much protein would constipate the dog. From my own experience, too much protein is hard on the kidneys and gives you the trots. To many vegetables will block you up and give you ferocious gas and constipation (look it up). Long story short, you don’t win em all.

I recommended the carnivore diet based off of science. Still the onslaught of advice to feed your dog like an omnivore persisted.  Finally, I stumbled across Mike Ritland’s book and found a carnivores diet like no other.  Now I honestly don’t know if this was Mr. Ritland’s invention or it was based off of Navy research. I do know that the Navy is great at researching things.  I am attempting to clarify this point. So, I realized that I could support the carnivore position with a very simple experiment.

There is a rule in nature that is straight forward. Those that adapt to their environment will survive. Those that lack the equipment to adapt to their environment will not.

This is how it works.

This is called comparative anatomy.

1 Cat – Carnivore (luckily the marketing people haven’t screwed this one up…yet!! ) we all seem to agree that Cat’s are still Carnivore’s

2. Cow is a herbivore

3. Bears are known omnivores, as are humans. I use a Bear because there could be some confusion since they love meat but, they are confirmed omnivores.

Now if we wanted to do it the hard way we could study every organ and every digestive function of each animal.  Fortunately we are in luck.  I realized that all we need to do is compare teeth.

Teeth are specifically designed over time to break down what the animal is designed to eat.  The most clear cut examples of this are sharks and snakes.  Now back to our four variables for comparison.

Bear -note larger “square molars” Crush vegetables and/or bone.  Most similar to human. (known omnivore)  Also, note that the back molars of the Bear and Human are far more similar to a cow than a Wolf, Cat or Dog.

Note- premolars of canine and feline are far more similar in design then those of the omnivore/ herbivore side.









Now this is just a sample of the comparisons you can make but, my findings are that the Dog is a carnivore. This is even supported by the scientific definition of a carnivore.

Even sharks gain some plant material from the fish the eat.  The  small animals eat the plants, the bigger animals eat the small animals with the plants in them.  Dogs are even known to eat grass. This does not mean they are like cattle. They are Carnivores.

Motley’s Dietary recommendation for the average home.

Find a dog food that is animal based but has a good source of vitamins.

Take the recommended amount for your dog and replace .333 or one third of the amount with meat.  If your dog has diarrhea there is to much protein, or pee is very yellow in color. If you have constipation there is to much fiber.  I add bone meal for minerals and extra fat in the winter.

If you really want to go all out read Team Dog by Mike Ritland who has one of the most impressive dog diets I have read about.

Good luck,

Feel free to ask Motley questions …. we are here to help.


Motley and Jeau