We all love our dogs and want the best for them! They are such an important part of our family. Just like children, their diets need special attention.
Let’s take a look at how dogs are built and how they are different from us. With this knowledge, we can choose foods that suit their physiology and help them to live long and healthy lives. To understand the differences between humans and dogs is to understand why they need quality proteins and a variety of whole, natural foods. But feeding our furry family is not mysterious.
Let’s start with the teeth and jaw. Dogs have 42 well-spaced teeth. People have 32 and our teeth are closer together. The space between dogs’ teeth allows food to enter quickly. Dogs’ mouths are funnels to get food into the stomach as quickly as possible. Your dog gulping his food is his natural way of eating – he has fewer taste buds than we do, so there appears to be no need for him to savor his dinner! Our canine friends also lack the ability to grind food. Their jaws only allow up and down movement. They can’t slide side to side like humans can. They also do not predigest starches in the mouth like we do. We get cavities. Dogs get tarter build up, but no cavities!
It takes about 5 seconds for food to move from a dog’s mouth to the stomach. Once in the stomach, the food is stored and digestion begins. Dogs have more acid in their stomachs than people do and this allows them to break down bacteria more effectively. They also have this antibacterial ability in their saliva.
The small and large intestine in the average human is approximately 36 feet long. That’s the length of a school bus! A 70 lb dog has a 6-foot long intestine therefore dogs need high quality proteins to be able to digest them quickly. People have longer digestive systems so we can handle eating raw fruits and vegetables. Give a dog a piece of whole carrot and it comes out the other end much the same way it entered!
Complex carbohydrates and vegetables should be cooked and vegetables pureed to allow predigestion. Cooking keeps the glycemic index low to help maintain even blood sugar levels. This causes less stress on the pancreas and liver.
If you are like me and have your dog sleeping on the bed with you it’s not a great leap to understand that after being domesticated for thousands of years dogs, while different from humans in many ways, are similar in others. You need a variety of whole natural foods to thrive in our environment and your dog needs a variety of quality foods too!
Dr. Janice Elenbaas
Always remember, Health comes from the inside out!
Dr. Janice Elenbaas DC has had a long and successful career as a Chiropractor to both humans and animals. As the first woman recognized to adjust animals in Canada and a founding member of the first Ontario Veterinarian Chiropractic Association she is passionate about our animals’ health. With four years of nutritional studies coupled with a natural approach to health care and a lifelong love of animals it was only natural that Dr. Elenbaas founded Lucky Dog Cuisine Inc., a company dedicated to providing All American, all natural, human grade, cooked meals for dogs.