Nutritional Information

The Ancestral Canine

Did you know that there is only a 0.2% difference between the DNA of the Grey Wolf and your four legged friend? Research concluded in 1993 by Dr Robert K. Wayne, Canid Biologist and Molecular Geneticist at University of California, Los Angeles, caused official reclassification of the domestic dog from Canis Familiaris to Canis Lupus, genus of the Grey Wolf.

 

The Diet of the Ancestral Canine

The natural diet of your dog’s ancestors was a whopping 49% protein, 44% fat and 6% carbohydrate, resultant of consuming 85% to 90% meat, primarily from whole prey, along with smaller amounts of fish and eggs, scavenged grasses, berries, nuts and other vegetation. Whilst on the outside, most of today’s dogs now resemble nothing of the ancestral canine, on the inside, they still have much in common. They have a short, simple, acidic digestive tract to enable animal proteins and fats to be quickly and easily digested, sharp teeth and vertically moving jaws, designed for tearing meat, and a lack of amylase in their saliva, which we, as humans, use to digest carbohydrates.

All humans know that eating a healthy diet, including lean meats, balanced fats and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is good for us. The science is indisputable and the same is true with our dogs. But the lifestyle of the domestic canine of today is far removed from that of its ancient ancestors, who would have travelled up to 30 miles a day to hunt and find food. Trotting along at 5 miles per hour but capable of reaching speeds of 40 miles an hour, their high protein diets gave them the stamina to roam a territory of around 50 square miles and stay warm during harsh winters. The average domestic canine of the 21st century is more likely to have a couple of walks a day in the park and spend its evenings curled up in front of the fire.

Whilst the purists would have us believe that the domestic dog of today should still be fed only its carnivorous ancestral diet, the question has to be asked, does your four-legged friend actually require the same protein, fat and carbohydrate levels of its ancestors, bearing in mind 10,000 to 15,000 years have elapsed? Without you, your dog is more likely to scavenge in dustbins than go out and hunt. Our wild foxes are further proof of this. At Ancestral Canine, we believe a happy balance should be struck, whereby a good quality complete dog food should be fed, with items from the ancestral diet given, perhaps at least once a week, providing the variety and added interest of fresh, unprocessed foods and enhancing his general well-being.

 

Moving Closer to the Ancestral Diet

By feeding your dog, even just once a week, some of the following foods, you will bring him a little closer to the food of his ancestors, without much effort on your part.

  • Beef Hearts
  • Sardines
  • Eggs
  • Vegetables and Fruits

Beef Hearts are relatively inexpensive, readily available (if ordered from your butcher), high in protein, low in fat and a great source of taurine, carnitine, coenzyme Q-10, ribose, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), gamma linolenic acid (GLA), trace minerals and other nutrients. If beef hearts are not available, then both lamb and venison hearts are good alternatives. Cut into small pieces and either serve raw, or very lightly cooked, so as not to destroy the enzymes and overall nutrient value of the meat.

Sardines in water with no added salt are the best for dogs. Sardines in olive oil are acceptable but for the healthiest fat balance, avoid sardines in soy or other omega-6 rich oils.

Eggs provide important brain, eye and body nutrients in natural, unprocessed forms. They should be part of every dog’s diet, especially pregnant bitches. The membrane inside the shell can also be used, as it contains glucosamine, chondroitin sulphate and hyaluronic acid, all nutrients reported to help relieve joint and soft tissue pain. Eggs are best served raw.

Vegetables and Fruits can provide the best defence against cancer, the number one killer of dogs. Feeding a variety of colourful vegetables and fruits provide optimum nutrition, providing hundreds of different types of antioxidants and other beneficial plant compounds.

Dark berries, such as blueberries (not grapes or raisins), provide nutrients that are important for proper brain development.

Orange foods, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, provide antioxidants that protect the eyes.

Spinach, kale and spring greens are rich in trace minerals and contain antioxidants that the help the brain, eyes and body. Green leafy vegetables contain boron, another brain nutrient. They also contain chlorophyll, which may help delay the onset of symptoms of liver cancer.

Cruciferous vegetables, especially broccoli stalks, have the most proven anti-cancer fighting properties.

 

Foods You Shouldn't Feed Your Dog - Ever

  • Chocolate
  • Onions
  • Grapes and Raisins
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Xylitol

Chocolate can be extremely dangerous for dogs as theobromine it contains can affect heart and kidneys. If consumed in large enough quantities, chocolate be fatal to your dog. Chocolates made specifically for dogs are completely safe, as the theobromine has been removed.

Onions can cause severe sickness in dogs, due to the chemical thiosulphate, which can cause haemolytic anaemia and be fatal. Poisoning can arise equally from a large dose of onion, or from the accumulative effects of several meals containing small amounts.

Grapes and Raisins can cause life-threatening renal failure and should never be fed.

Macadamia Nuts have been shown to cause severe mobility issues, including muscle tremors, weakness, swelling of limbs and hind-quarter paralysis, even where as few as six nuts have been consumed. Whilst debilitating for the dog and highly distressing for the owner, the effects do appear to be temporary.

Xylitol is used as a sweetener in chewing gum, low calorie sweets and desserts and can be dangerous for dogs. Larger doses can cause low blood sugar and liver failure, both of which can be life-threatening.