Unleashing the Truth: Are Dogs Naturally Carnivorous?

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Are Dogs Carnivores?

Dogs are thought to be facultative carnivores, meaning they can eat both carnivorous and omnivore foods to survive. This is a result of their evolutionary past and the changes that have occurred in their digestion, gastrointestinal system, and teeth. Nevertheless, they prefer to be carnivores; I have never witnessed my dog drooling over a salad or digging up the vegetable garden, but most dogs slobber over even the smallest piece of meat.


Wolves, which are carnivores, are the ancestors of dogs. Wolves eat mostly meat, and their diets are rich in fat and protein with little in the way of carbs. Dogs, which originated from wolves and were tamed, began to adapt to a more omnivorous diet as well, consuming both meat and any leftovers that their owners gave them.

Gastrointestinal system

The gastrointestinal system of dogs is similar to that of wolves, with a shorter small intestine and a longer colon, which is well-suited for digesting meat. However, unlike wolves, dogs have an enlarged cecum, which is a pouch located at the beginning of the colon, and it allows them to ferment plant material and extract more nutrients from their food.


Dogs’ teeth are also adapted for a diet that includes both meat and plant material. They have sharp, pointed canines that are used for tearing meat and strong molars that are used for crushing and grinding plant material.


The process of digestion in dogs is similar to that of other carnivores. They have a highly acidic stomach that helps to break down meat and kill harmful bacteria. However, unlike pure carnivores, dogs also have the ability to digest plant material, thanks to the presence of enzymes in their saliva and the enlarged cecum.


When it comes to chewing, dogs have a different approach than other carnivores. Dogs have a unique jaw structure that allows them to chew their food more thoroughly than other carnivores, which helps to break down plant material more effectively.

So there you have it

Dogs are classed as carnivores but they have adapted to be omnivores, as much out of ease of getting food from their humans as well as not going hungry, they are preferentially carnivorous but can survive on carbs and plants if need be, hence the biological term facultarive “capable of but not restricted to a particular function or mode of life.”

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My passion for dogs started in childhood growing up in a household full of dogs. I have been breading American Bulldogs since 1998, as a breeder, show judge, trainer and lifelong student of dogs and their behavior. I am the owner of this website whose roots go back to a labor of love started in 1998.

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