How your dog’s nutritional needs change as they age

Compared to the projected $82 billion dog food market Hypercube Insights forecasts by 2026, the origins of the domesticated dog’s diet are quite humble.

Around 20,000 years ago, early hunter-gatherers, hoping to spare themselves from the consequences of excess protein consumption, such as diarrhea and protein poisoning, would give wolves spare scraps of meat. The practice not only laid the groundwork for dog nutrition and today’s pet food industry but may have even played a pivotal role in the domestication of dogs themselves.

Ollie looked at news articles, research journals, and historical sources to outline the major milestones in the history of dog food and nutrition.

The nutritional needs of dogs began diverging from those of their wolf ancestors due to genetic changes that allow modern dogs to digest starches much more efficiently. The shift paralleled advances in agriculture and dog domestication. The development of these starch-digesting genes mirrors similar changes in human populations who began consuming higher carbohydrate diets due to agriculture. Still, up to this point, dogs’ diets primarily consisted of leftover scraps from their companion’s meals, with no regard for specialized needs.

It is difficult to pinpoint precisely when the practice of feeding dogs specialized diets first emerged, as it likely evolved over time. However, the earliest documented recommendation for a specialized canine diet originates over 4,000 years ago in author Marcus Terentius Varro’s manual “Farm Topics.” The text advises dog owners to feed them scraps of meat and bone and barley bread soaked in milk.

Literature on specialized dog diets could be found among noble families with working and hunting dogs in the Middle Ages. In a 14th-century text, author Gaston III, Count de Foix even details specific foods to give sick dogs, including buttered eggs and goat’s milk. However, providing dogs with specialty meals did not transcend classes until the emergence of a more affluent middle class in the 19th century, during the Industrial Revolution.

Next Post

High dog euthanization rate at L.A. County shelter built to save them

Mon Dec 4 , 2023
When she met a jagged-eared German shepherd puppy named Pickles at the Palmdale Animal Care Center, rescuer Alyssa Benavidez thought the former stray was being overlooked by adopters and wanted to find him a home. To draw attention to the playful 10-month-old, Benavidez recorded videos of Pickles to post online […]
High dog euthanization rate at L.A. County shelter built to save them

You May Like