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The Evolution of Dog

Modern dog has evolved to thrive on a diet rich in whole grains

In a recent study, published in the journal 'NATURE', genetics experts analysed both wolf and dog DNA. The study found that a key factor in the domestication of the dog was their ability to easily digest carbohydrates and starch in food that they scavenged from rubbish dumps around early human settlements.

For over 20 years, Burns diets, which are based on whole grains such as brown rice and maize with controlled amounts of highly digestible animal protein, have helped to maintain or improve the health of hundreds of thousands of dogs.

Recently we have seen a growing trend towards feeding dogs raw food or commercially manufactured grain-free foods. These diets are promoted by enthusiasts as being the most natural diet a dog can eat. This belief, however, is a misconception based on a theory that because dogs have descended from wolves they must need the same diet as their wild ancestors.

The study showed that dogs, and in particular their digestive systems, have evolved since their days in the wild. You only need to consider how different a Chihuahua is to a wolf for this to make sense.

Researchers found that domestic dogs have many more copies of the 'gene for amylase' (a pancreatic enzyme which digests starch / carbohydrate) than wolves. This new genetic evidence confirms scientific knowledge about the dog’s digestive system*. Modern dog has evolved to thrive on a diet rich in whole grains.

References:

*Guilford, Center, Strombeck, Williams, Meyer (1996) Strombeck’s Small Animal Gastroenterology, 3rd Edition. Philadelphia. W.B. Saunders Company.


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