Has My Dog's Biology Evolved?

While it’s scientifically true that dogs have evolved from wolves, things have changed over the last 30,000 years or so. Like you, pets have evolved over time — and as science-based research into animal biology now shows us, so have their digestive biology.

In fact, it’s in part due to dogs’ relationship with humans that their biology have changed. During domestication, dogs’ genetic make-up changed from their wolf ancestors, allowing them to thrive on a variety of balanced foods including whole grains and other carb-rich ingredients.

It’s impossible to measure a dog’s instinctive desire for meat, but when given the choice, research shows pets choose higher fat foods, not higher protein.

While it can seem easy to digest the idea that your pet should eat like a wolf, this dietary approach can cause complications:

  • Dogs can have too much protein
  • Raw pet foods can put both your pets and you at risk for foodborne illness
  • Many meat ingredients contain excess of minerals and are unhealthy in high amounts

At Hill’s, we believe having a full understanding of nutrition is important. That’s why we aren’t fooled by dogs’ sharp teeth or family connection to wolves — our nutritionists and food scientists work hard to understand what dogs can digest, as well as what they should digest for optimal nutrition.

So, what can you do to make sure your dog is getting fed what they need for their optimal nutrition?

  • Look for balanced, reputable pet foods that consider their current needs
  • Look for high quality protein sources that are easy to digest
  1. Meyer H, Kienzle E. Dietary protein and carbohydrates: Relationship to clinical disease. In: Proceedings. Purina International Nutrition Symposium, Orlando, FL, 1991: 13-26.