The growth of vegetarianism and veganism in the United States is largely attributable to the belief these diets are healthier for adult humans. As a result of that trend, some pet owners and other animal welfare proponents are advocating for diets with less meat for dogs. Their argument is that dogs are omnivores and can survive and thrive on plant-based diets while meat is less desirable, even harmful to canines. Unfortunately, this mistaken belief about the diet of dogs can lead to negative health consequences. Below are a few reasons why dogs benefit from eating mostly meat-based diets:
Dogs are carnivores, not omnivores
While it is true that dogs often will eat most anything they come across, this is not a sign of their true biologically assigned preferences. Instead, it is more accurate to classify dogs as facultative carnivores, which means they are able to eat a diverse number of foods but meat is their primary dietary demand. The biology of a dog's skull, including its teeth size, shape and arrangement within the mouth, indicates a clearly developed preference for animal based diets. Unlike house cats, which must consume practically all meat, dogs do have some flexibility to vary their diet; however, diets with a high degree of plant matter can contribute to sickness in dogs.
If a dog becomes used to eating plant-based diets, it will need to be reconditioned to eat meat in some cases. That means the proper feeding of dogs needs to be performed by giving them large, meaty portions of raw food, including the bones. Despite what is commonly assumed, it is small food pieces, not large chunks, that can cause choking in dogs, as they tend to gulp their foods. This gulping behavior is designed to allow larger portions to be swallowed whole, and by eliminating a chewing motion that isn't natural to dogs, there is established a healthier eating pattern.
Bones are beneficial on several levels
A dog and its bone is an iconic image in America, but some people have attempted to dissuade dog owners from feeding bones due to fears of causing injury. This misguided effort has brought harm to dogs by preventing them from receiving benefits offered by bone consumption. Here are a few of these positives:
Bones provide important dental benefits - Chewing bones provides dogs with opportunities to maintain and improve their dental health. Bones clean away tartar and plaque and help prevent the need for animals to obtain extensive dental cleanings.
Bones are a psychological relief - Due to their carnivorous jawlines and hard-wired programming, it is important for dogs to engage in chewing on hard objects. Bones provide a natural choice for mentally stimulating dogs that might otherwise become bored and develop behavioral problems.
Bones contain high levels of nutrients - Despite myths you may have heard, dogs can safely eat raw bones without being harmed. In fact, raw bones are full of calcium and phosphorous, and both of these nutrients are important for healthy growth in dogs. However, it is vital to keep in mind that cooked bones do pose a threat to the welfare of dogs; bones that have undergone heating can become brittle and dry, and dangerous splintering becomes a problem as a result. Splintered bones can cause perforation of the stomach and intestines.
Meat-based diets are easier on digestion
Diets that contain large percentages of meat and bone are less-taxing on the digestive systems of dogs. Foods that are vegetable or grain-based can cause bloating in dogs, and they also produce larger, malodorous stools. In particular, cereals and other vegetables are prone to causing digestive upset due to their propensity to ferment inside a dog's stomach. Not only that, but starchy foods that come from plants, such as potatoes and rice, generate an abnormal response in the pancreas of dogs; this can lead to significant long-term health problems for dogs.
Because bones have all these benefits, when you buy antlers for dogs, you do something good for your dog's health.