There is a lot of debate about what diet is best for our furry friends. Raw, fresh or kibble are the most popular choices for a dog’s diet and are picked based on various reasons such as budget and beliefs. However, there is a lot of research that suggests dogs function best on a raw food diet. This is hugely due to their ancestry and how they have evolved from a wolf-like species.

In this blog, we’ll explain the historical roots of your furry friend to help you make a more informed decision about what you choose to feed your pets.

Ancestry of dogs

Around 60 million years ago, a small mammal, similar to a weasel, lived in the part of the world that we now call Asia. The genus that became the ancestor of dogs, wolves, jackals and foxes is called Miacis. Although there are no direct descendants of Miacis, it is what godlike canids evolved from. Around 30 to 40 million years ago, Miacis evolved into what we would know as the first true dog - called Cynodictis. This animal was medium-sized, longer than it was tall and with a long tail and brushy coat. Over time, Cynodictis gave rise to two branches, one in Africa and the other in Eurasia. The Eurasian branch was named Tomarctus and is the progenitor of wolves, dogs and foxes.

There is evidence to suggest that dogs descended directly from wolves. The line that produced modern living wolves branched off from the line that produced dogs, which eventually became extinct. This split happened around 27,000 and 40,000 years ago.

How dogs were domesticated

Scientists believe that dogs were domesticated between 15,000 and 30,000 years ago. There are two main theories about how this happened. The first theory is that humans and wolves started to live near each other and the wolves that were less aggressive and more friendly were more likely to be tolerated by humans. Over time, these wolves became domesticated dogs. The second theory is that humans started to breed wolves for specific traits, such as loyalty, obedience, and hunting ability while feeding them leftover meat. Over time, these wolves became domesticated dogs.

What did dogs use to eat?

DNA studies of dog’s early ancestors, the canids, show that they carried a substantial amount of genetic diversity, suggesting that past wolf populations were much larger than they are today. Through isotopic analysis, researchers were able to determine that the earliest dogs consumed horse, musk, ox and reindeer, but not fish or seafood. Many early dogs would have been used for tracking, hunting and transporting game and would have been fed scraps of meat in exchange for their loyalty.

Why is complete raw dog food good for dogs?

There are many reasons why dogs live better on a diet comprised largely of meat. Firstly, dogs' bodies are designed to produce only about 25 per cent of the enzymes they need to digest their food. The other 75 per cent should be in the food they consume. All raw foods contain the enzymes that the body requires to digest the food. But when foods are cooked, the enzymes are destroyed. The body needs to work harder to digest cooked food as it needs to create its own digestive enzymes.

Why choose a raw diet for your dog?

There are many reasons why you should consider feeding your dog a raw diet, including:

Raw food is naturally digestible

A raw diet is the natural choice for your pet. Dogs are able to absorb nutrients better from whole foods rather than through synthetic vitamins as these are often added after the process of manufacturing kibble and canned foods. Dogs need a diet that is rich in quality protein and low in carbohydrates and sugars in order to thrive. Choosing raw dog food that doesn't contain any fillers, additives or preservatives will set your dog up to be happy and healthy.

Healthier skin and coat

Your dog’s skin is the largest organ and deserves to be treated well, starting from the inside. You will notice that dogs who are getting more vitamins and minerals have a nicer coat and healthier skin. By feeding your dog raw food you are enabling them to absorb the necessary nutrients more efficiently. Furthermore, raw food contains the enzymes needed to help break down and consume the nutrients in the food. If your dog is consuming cooked food, they will find it harder to break down the food and many of the nutrients will be lost.

Less odour

Some dogs consume food that is higher in fillers, additives and preservatives which can lead to some unpleasant smells.  When your dog eats raw food, the difference will be clear through their skin, which will produce less odour-filled oils.  Skin, which will produce less odour-filled oils. Furthermore, your dog’s digestive system will be better supported by a raw diet which often helps to eliminate or decrease gas.

Less poop

A lot of commercial pet food contains ingredients that are not a natural part of your dog’s diet. Things like grains, peas and corn are harder for your dog to break down which leads to more waste. A raw food diet will contain meat, organ and bone which are all things that dogs can naturally digest. These ingredients are used for fuel which means less becomes waste.

Fewer allergies

Many types of commercial dog food are providing your dog with ingredients that they are actually intolerant to until the immune system can no longer defend itself. Gut health is a major cause of stress on the immune system which is caused by the fillers used in kibble and tinned food. Over time, intolerances to ingredients can lead to allergic reactions which shows up through rashes, itchy paws, ear infections and digestive and joint issues.

Immune system support

Raw dog food such as Mersey Raw, only contains ingredients that your dog is designed to eat. This limits your dog’s exposure to things that are bad for their health so your dog is able to heal itself quicker while it isn’t focused on other things. Your dog will be able to handle external and environmental triggers much easier.

More energy

Your dog will have newfound energy when they are on a raw food diet because it is absent of unnecessary ingredients. This means they spend less energy digesting carbs and sugars.

Enhanced hydration

Your dog will be able to gain more hydration through a raw diet because raw food contains a higher moisture content. You may notice your dog drinks less water when you switch them to a raw food diet because they are getting more from their food.

Better weight management

There are many overweight dogs these days, partially through lack of exercise and lack of energy to do exercise, but also because of a poor diet. Many commercial dog foods contain carbohydrates and sugars that are harder for your pet to burn off. Raw food made with biologically appropriate ingredients and non-glycemic vegetables will help your dog maintain a healthy weight.

Healthier teeth

Very few dog owners regularly clean their dog’s teeth, however when eating commercial dog food that is higher in sugar, they can experience dangerous bacteria growth. This can lead to many dental issues in dogs, such as plaque, tartar and bad breath. Raw food is less likely to stick to teeth, which helps to keep your dog’s mouth healthy. Raw bones are also a great way to keep your pet’s teeth clean. Chewing on these bones helps scrape plaque away from teeth, massage gums and generate circulation.

Mersey Raw - Raw Dog Food, Raw Treats for Dogs & Much More

Mersey Raw is a premium dog food supplier in the UK helping dog owner’s transform their dog’s health and wellbeing. Whether you need your raw dog food delivered straight to your door or you want 1kg raw mince for dogs, we’ve got it all. Helping to promote a healthier shinier coat, greater joint health and improved dental hygiene. Get in touch today to learn more.