There is still much debate on how different dogs are from wolves, and while everyone may never agree, the fact remains that they are related. The main conflict however is on how closely related they are, with some sources citing wolves as distant cousins while others see them as so closely related that dogs and the gray wolf share the same scientific classification. In fact, Purebred Breeders has learned that the Smithsonian Institute was responsible for reclassifying dogs, so they now fit under Canis lupus which means that scientifically speaking they are the same species as the gray wolf. What then does this mean in terms of the nutritional needs of wolves versus those of dogs? Do they differ, and if so, how much?
It is argued by some experts that dogs are no longer able to eat like wolves because of their domestication. The idea is that their stomachs are too sensitive to handle raw bones and are susceptible to injuries (possibly resulting in death) because splintered bones can puncture the stomach. Purebred Breeders understands that there is also the belief that domestication has led to a number of things in the dogs’ body being dormant including some instincts, behavioral patterns, hunting and survival skills, and digestive engines that allow wolves to handle their diets.
The repression of the enzymes needed to handle a wolf’s diet therefore means that dogs rely on foods that are easier to digest. The change in diet and lifestyle as also led to the need for foods that provide protein, aid digestion, offer minerals and vitamins, promote heart health, bone growth, and the health of other vital plus sensory organs. Purebred Breeders must note that the breeding of the species has also created purebred and hybrids that require special nutritional care to help ward off the onset or worsening of some genetic predispositions which has led to a wide variety of commercial dog foods created to suit these needs.
Purebred Breeders would also like to present the argument shared by a wide segment of society that dismisses the claim that dogs are so far removed from wolves that their nutritional needs differ. They claim that scientifically speaking dogs are the same in terms of anatomy and their genes are so close (hence the reclassification) that the claims about a dog’s inability to handle the same food is wrong. The belief in this camp is that dormant enzymes can easily become active again if necessary; which explains why strays and wild dogs survive without premium foods.
It also explains why so many people have switched their dogs to a raw food diet, and why dogs are fed differently in so many countries without consequence. Opponents also believe that allowing dogs to consume what they would naturally eat in the wild is better because it provides the type of nutrition they normally would get. Purebred Breeders understands that the belief is that wolves naturally get what they need to sustain as well as grow their own bodies without any additions to “promote” anything, and dogs would too.
The debate will likely range on for years to come, but Purebred Breeders is clear on one thing; dogs and wolves are extremely similar. In fact, wolfdogs were created through the breeding of wolves and dogs, and now continue to exist as wolfdogs are mated with each other in controlled environments. As pointed out by some, the fact that the two can mate and produce offspring that can themselves reproduce simply means that they are of the same genetic material. It can never however be denied that the breeding of the modern dog has led to changes that have to be taken into consideration, or that dogs have in fact died from a ruptured stomach. In the end, the value of a diet will be apparent in how well the animal tolerates it and what it provides. Additionally, just like human beings, the nutritional needs can vary based on lifestyle, age, as well as purpose.