Diet

Despite their descent from wolves and classification as Carnivora, dogs are variously described in scholarly and other writings as carnivores[145][146] or omnivores.[3][147][148][149] Unlike obligate carnivores, such as the cat family with its shorter small intestine, dogs can adapt to a wide-ranging diet, and are not dependent on meat-specific protein nor a very high level of protein in order to fulfill their basic dietary requirements. Dogs will healthily digest a variety of foods, including vegetables and grains, and can consume a large proportion of these in their diet.[3] Compared to their wolf ancestors, dogs have adaptations in genes involved in starch digestion that contribute to an increased ability to thrive on a starch-rich diet.[150] A number of common human foods and household ingestibles are toxic to dogs, including chocolate solids (theobromine poisoning), onion and garlic (thiosulphate, sulfoxide or disulfide poisoning),[151] grapes and raisins, macadamia nuts, xylitol,[152] as well as various plants and other potentially ingested materials. Dog food refers to food specifically intended for consumption by dogs. Technically carnivorous, dogs have sharp, pointy teeth, and have short gastrointestinal tracts better suited for the consumption of meat. In spite of this natural carnivorous design, dogs have still managed to evolve over thousands of years to survive on the meat and non-meat scraps and leftovers of human existence and thrive on a variety of foods. In the United States alone, dog owners spent over $8.5 billion on commercially manufactured dog food in 2007.[1] Some people make their own dog food, feed their dogs meals made from ingredients purchased in grocery or health-food stores or give their dogs a raw food diet. Most store-bought dog food comes in either a dry form (also known in the US as kibble) or a wet canned form. Dry food contains 610% moisture by volume, as compared to 6090% in canned food. Semi-moist foods have a moisture content of 2535%. Pet owners often prefer dry food for reasons of convenience and price, spending over $8 billion on dry dog food in 2010 a 50% increase in the amount spent just seven years earlier.[11] [edit]Wet dog food Wet or canned dog food is significantly higher in moisture than dry or semi-moist food.[12] Canned food is commercially sterile (cooked during canning); other wet foods may not be sterile. A given wet food will often be higher in protein or fat compared to a simil

r kibble on a dry matter basis (a measure which ignores moisture); given the canned food's high moisture content, however, a larger amount of canned food must be fed. Grain gluten and other protein gels may be used in wet dog food to create artificial meaty chunks, which look like real meat.[13] [edit]Alternative dog food In recent years, new types of dog food have emerged on the market that differ from traditional commercial pet food. Many companies have been successful in targeting niche markets, each with unique characteristics.[14] A non-alcoholic "beer" for dogs (Kwispelbier) is made in the Netherlands from beef extract and malt.[15] Popular Alternative Dog Food Labels: Frozen or freeze-dried, comes in raw or cooked (not processed) form. The idea is to skip the processing stage traditional dry/wet dog food goes through. This causes less destruction of the nutritional integrity. To compensate for the short shelf life, products are frozen or freeze-dried. Dehydrated, comes in raw and cooked form. Products are usually air dried to reduce moisture to the level where bacterial growths are inhibited. The appearance is very similar to dry kibbles. The typical feeding methods include adding warm water before serving. Fresh or refrigerated, produced through pasteurization of fresh ingredients. Products are lightly cooked and then quickly sealed in a vacuum package. Then they are refrigerated until served. This type of dog food is extremely vulnerable to spoiling if not kept at a cool temperature and has a shelf life of 24 months, unopened.[16] Homemade Diet often comes in a bucket or Tupperware-like package. In the past this was thought to be a diet that owners create themselves. However, recently, many small companies have begun to home-cook dog dishes and then sell them through specialty stores or over the Internet. Many pet owners feed dogs homemade diets. These diets generally consist of some form of cooked meat or raw meat, ground bone, pureed vegetables, taurine supplements, and other multivitamin supplements. Some pet owners use human vitamin supplements, and others use vitamin supplements specifically engineered for dogs.[17] Vegetarian dog foods are manufactured by several companies. They are usually balanced and contain ingredients such as oatmeal, pea protein, and potatoes instead of meat to supply protein. A dog owner may choose to feed a vegetarian food for ethical and/or health reasons, or in cases of extreme food allergies.