Is a dog a carnivore?

What are the dogs’ eating habits? Do they only eat meat? To answer these questions, let’s talk about dog food. In addition, we will present the main types of food that dogs can eat.

Is a dog a carnivore?

No, dogs are not carnivores but that doesn’t mean they don’t eat meat. But if they’re not carnivores, what are dogs? Dogs are classified as omnivores.

Omnivorous animals feed on various types of food including meat, vegetables, fruits, and other foods. Domesticated dogs must be fed correctly balanced food by a veterinary nutritionist.

In the wild, wild dogs and their predecessors fed on leaves and vegetables, in addition to hunting small rodents and birds. Thus, these animals were able to meet their diet and nutritional needs.

Types of food for domestic dogs

The most offered food for dogs are industrial or natural diets as discussed below:

Industrial foods

Dogs can feed on industrial foods that are manufactured to meet all the dog’s dietary needs when provided in adequate amounts. Each manufacturer has a feed formula and therefore the amounts of food to be offered to dogs also change according to the animals weight.

Along with industrial food, snacks can be offered, and foods such as fruits, vegetables and even rice with chicken. However, there is no need to add these types of foods. That’s why they should be done periodically to avoid the dog’s diet being unbalanced.

Natural foods

Another way to feed the dog is through natural diets, diets that the owner can cook at home and provide for his pet. In order to have a balanced diet, you should look for a veterinary nutritionist.

Homemade diets can include grains, vegetables, and meats. In addition, to supply all nutrients to dogs, supplementation with commercial vitamins may be necessary.

Food must be prepared according to the veterinarian’s instructions. The quantities of each food must be respected as prescribed. Avoiding the loss of nutrients and making it as tasty as possible for the dogs.

What happens when a dog has an unbalanced diet?

The excess of nutrients and the lack of them can lead to serious problems in dogs. The main symptoms to watch out for are:


Hair loss;

locomotion difficulty;

Pain in limbs;

neurological signs.

Animals with excess nutrients can present an imbalance in the homeostasis of the dog’s physiology. Depending on the nutrient, the dog can have skin diseases, kidney disease, heart disease and even neurological signs.

Already the absence of some nutrients can lead to weakness, weight loss and even difficulties in bone fractures, resulting in pain, litter, and a lot of discomfort for dogs to get around.

When the dog’s diet is unbalanced, a veterinarian should be urgently sought for dietary corrections, avoiding damage to the animal’s health. That is why you should not feed an animal with homemade diets without first consulting a veterinarian.


Dogs are not considered carnivores but omnivorous animals. Omnivores are animals that can feed on other types of food than just meat. In the wild these wild dogs tend to prefer the consumption of meat acquired from hunting small rodents and birds. However, domestic dogs can receive different types of food, and these have adapted well to commercial diets balanced for the species. Some dogs can also receive snacks or even the natural diet, but these foods should be provided to the animal only when balanced and prescribed by a veterinary nutritionist.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Is a dog a carnivore?

What spices can I use in dog food?

To make food for dogs a veterinary nutritionist should be consulted. But some spices can be used such as:

  • Oregano;
  • Basil;
  • Thyme;
  • Parsley;
  • Mint;
  • Rosemary;
  • Cilantro.

Can you put salt in dog food?

Yes, but salt should be offered to dogs in small amounts. The sodium present in salt is a very important mineral for the proper functioning of the dog’s organism. If in doubt, consult a veterinarian.

What foods are toxic to dogs?

The most toxic foods for dogs and should not be fed to animals are:

  • Chocolate;
  • Coffee;
  • Garlic;
  • Onion;
  • Star fruit;
  • Others.


Carciofi, A. C., Takakura, F. S., De‐Oliveira, L. D., Teshima, E., Jeremias, J. T., Brunetto, M. A., & Prada, F. (2008). Effects of six carbohydrate sources on dog diet digestibility and post‐prandial glucose and insulin response. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, 92(3), 326-336.

Truett, A. A., Borne, A. T., Monteiro, M. P., & West, D. B. (1998). Composition of dietary fat affects blood pressure and insulin responses to dietary obesity in the dog. Obesity research, 6(2), 137-146.

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