Canine nutrition has been the subject of much research in recent years. Since prepared dog food accounts for a greater volume of supermarket sales than any other single grocery item, the commercial incentive is tremendous. As a result, American dogs are the best fed in the world, probably the most expensively fed, and certainly the most often overfed.
Biologists describe the dog as a carnivorous mammal. But modern authorities say that his cohabitation with man has caused him to become like us, omnivorous. Dogs are remarkably adaptable to different kinds of diets, including diets that are high in vegetable content.
The dog’s digestive system is not exactly like ours. The general process is the same, but the timing is different. First of all, mastication is less important in canine digestion. The dog’s teeth and jaws are designed for tearing meat and grinding bones with amazing efficiency and up to 300 pounds of force. Dogs chew little and swallow rapidly. They cannot chew with their mouths closed.
The dog’s taste buds are situated under his tongue, but his food passes quickly, practically untasted, through the pharynx and esophagus into the stomach, where the principle digestive process takes place. The dogs gastric juices are much stronger than ours, allowing him to digest matter which would give us a severe stomach ache, to say the least.
Your dog’s stomach is very elastic, and can expand to a capacity of one pint in a small lap dog, while large dogs make room for 8 quarts of food. The gastric juices in his stomach are high in acid and food remains there longer than it does in ours. This is why they require a richer, more concentrated diet than we do. Digestion takes place mostly in the stomach, very little in the mouth.
The dog’s …