Dogs and Humans Co-Evolved to Eat More Plants

A genome study at Uppsala University in Sweden found ten genes that help dogs to digest starches. Lab work suggested that changes in three of those genes make dogs better than meat-eating wolves at splitting starches into sugars and then absorbing those sugars. According to geneticist Kerstan Lindblad-Toh, the rise of farming, beginning around 10,000 years ago in the Middle East, led to these digestion adaptations in us and our dogs. “This is a striking sign of parallel evolution,” she says. “It really shows how dogs and humans have evolved together to be able to eat starch.”

Despite the apparent inclusion of plant-based foods in ancient dogs’ diets, many people today mistakenly consider dogs to be carnivores, like their wolf forebears. However, according to Robert Wayne, a geneticist at the University of California, the study adds to evidence that dogs should not eat the same food as wolves. “Every day I get an email from a dog owner who asks, should they feed their dog like a wolf,” says Wayne. “I think this paper answers that question: no.”

About the Author

Benjii's: Michelle May

Michelle May is the Founder of Benjii's. She is a plant-based chef, animal welfare advocate and yogi. With a lifelong love for dogs and interest in food and nutrition, Michelle is passionate about helping improve the lives of dogs worldwide through the food they eat. In addition to Benjii, she is also mom to Bodhi, Bambi and Pablo.

2017-07-03T01:07:38+00:00 April 30th, 2017|