Take it from me: I know nothing about what is good for dogs to eat, and what isn’t. I don’t know whether K9 dog tucker is OK to feed our little guys or not, as I’m not a scientist and haven’t studied any research. But I’d like to see valid science shed some light on it.
I guess the role of journalists these days is not to actually examine anything. To be fair, this fluff piece is in the Business section of the ‘News’ website — it’s not investigative journalism, simply uncritical publication of bumf. But it annoys me, and I think it’s potentially dangerous to the health of dogs:
Geoff Bowers spent three months monitoring the feeding habits of the grey wolf in the freezing landscape of Alaska.
The former policeman, dog handler and dog trainer from Britain examined the carcasses of dead moose to see which parts the wolves ate, how much they ate and what they left behind.
Bowers says DNA shows dogs are 99.8 percent wolf and their digestive system is exactly the same, so it makes sense to base their diet on that of the wolf.
So, a former dog handler and dog trainer studied wolves in the ice and snow of the Arctic. He says because dogs and wolves share a large proportion of DNA they should share the same diet.
Dogs and humans share a lot of DNA too. Does that mean we should share the same diet?
I also query how studying a wild animal that hunts its own food in snow and ice and harsh conditions can be a good model for a pampered house dog that is handed two square meals per day and a half hour run in the park if it’s lucky.
Then we come to this bizarre statement:
The DNA of a wolf and a dog is as closely matched as black and white humans, he says.
Really? Do different races have substantially different DNA? I’m no scientist, but I find that one very very hard to believe. It reminds me of some very old-fashioned and dangerous thinking that abounded in the days of slavery and racial degradation.
I do know that slight variations in DNA sequences can help us track how humans dispersed around the planet, but that’s not what he’s reported as saying.
My own DNA puts me as a member of Haplogroup H, people who left Africa and travelled via the Middle East to Europe. Is that different in some consistent way from ‘black’ DNA? I doubt it.
He saw their stamina increase and vet bills halve in one month and then almost disappear completely.
So in one month he saw vet bills halve? Our dogs see the vet once per year, but they’re pets not working dogs. Still, after one month this food regime had proved its worth?
That hardly seems long enough to determine anything. What happens after a year, or two years? Is there anything in this diet that could build up over time and cause difficulties in the long term? I don’t know, and if no-one has researched it, who could know?
By the sound of this article the ‘research’ was rubbish. This brand of dog food is based on woolly notions, and its efficacy and safety have not been proven by any scientific method.
Maybe it’s the best dog food ever. Maybe it’s not.
This ‘news’ article has left us in the dark.
[Original article : Dog tucker a winner for K9 | Stuff.co.nz.]
If you’re a scientist, especially one with relevant knowledge of biology and DNA, or animal nutrition, I’d love to see your input in the Comments.