Although canine domestication is still a hotly debated topic, dogs have been the dogs we know for tens of thousands of years.
Some people believe that dogs were domesticated once, and that all of our furry friends (from the spicy little Chihuahuas to the giant Newfoundland) are descendants of one specific wolf, dating back between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago.
Recently, another study suggests that wolves were domesticated twice, and that the dogs we know today split off from Asiatic and European groups 20,000 years ago.
Regardless of your stance on dog domestication, scientists can all agree that Canine Familiaris has been genetically different from their wolfy, wild counterparts for tens of thousands of years.
What's Different About Our Dogs?
While wolves rely on their family units, or packs, for their basic needs, Canine Familiaris depended largely on humans. They shared our fires, they protected us when we were vulnerable, and we in turn, fed them and forged an inseparable bond that developed over 20,000 years into the relationships we have today.
So, what makes Canine Familiaris different from wolves? Dogs have learned how to read human body language, and pick up on cues from their people (Dogs Decoded, 26-minute mark). It's even theorized that humans evolutionized with the whites of our eyes showing so that dogs can easily distinguish which way we're looking.
So, when you swear up and down that Fido knows when you're having a bad day, you're right!
Dogs are Incredible
We don't think anyone will argue with us on this one! Haha. But honestly, over the most recent few hundreds of years, dogs and people have become even more inseparable than ever.
From search and rescue, to hunting, to bomb detection, to service work, to agility, dogs have been around helping us accomplish our daily tasks for a long time.
Dogs can smell the difference between stress sweat and regular sweat. They can detect racing heartbeats, they can pick up on our habits, and they can adapt to nearly any environment.
I dare you to try and train any wolf to do any of those things. Or even housebreak them for that matter.
Intrinsically, wolves do not have the drive to be a part of our human family unit. Wolves haven't learned how to navigate coexistence with an entirely different species, let alone adapt to that species' culture and become a beneficial member of the family.
After tens of thousands of years of evolution, we have quite literally hundreds of different breeds of dogs--all designed for particular jobs, or to thrive in particular climates, or perhaps your doggo is just a mix of breeds that caught your eye. Long story short, your dog is as individual as you are, and we need to take those couple thousand years of evolution into consideration, especially when it comes to health and wellness.
Contrary to popular belief, wolves eat grass, seeds, berries, and leaves in order to diversify their gut biome, in addition to fermented roughage partially digested by their kill (more probiotics). According to Dr. Karen Becker in her joint interview with Rodney Habib on Keep the Tail Wagging (YouTube Channel), "Wolves don't eat broccoli because it isn't environmentally available, but if broccoli were to somehow miraculously get introduced to their habitat, and they ate it, they would be healthier wolves."
Just like we've adapted from hunter-gatherers to farmers, dogs have adapted to life with humans, and all of the chemicals that come with it. So, while some people may argue that dogs should only eat Raw meat, it's actually true that dogs aren't physically capable of absorbing all of their necessary vitamins and minerals through meat alone.
All About Balance
Help your dog get all the nutrients it needs to be the best that they can be. I'm here to help people understand the benefits of feeding dogs good, clean food, and I'm also here to show you how you can do it affordably.
Just like us, as long as we eat healthy most of the time, our bodies stay fit. Perhaps begins by supplementing your dog's food with fruits and veggies, or adding in some meat. You can also check out my Mix-In Mash, available for local deliveries.