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What Do Dogs Eat in the Wild?    

Wild dog eating grass

This may not be for you. If you have a weak stomach, maybe you should stop reading at this point. The menu a wild dog eats is not pretty and some people may never look at dogs the same again.

For starters, wild dogs will eat insects, mice, rabbits, birds, and other small animals. Plus, they will eat rotten food, half-digested food in another animal’s stomach, internal organs, the leftovers from other animals’ meals, and much more.

To put it bluntly, dogs get a lot of nutrition from those things that humans would vomit over if they had to eat them. As we said, it isn’t pretty.

Do Dogs Eat Grains in the Wild? And Other Myths About Grain Free Dog. Click here to learn more.

Do dogs eat meat in the wild?

Wolf eating meat in the snow

Much of what they eat will depend on what type of wild dog they are. There is a wide diet range when it comes to meat and dogs will not turn their noses up at any leftover meat.

While some wild dogs hunt larger game, the regular wild dogs will eat small animals like mice, squirrels, chipmunks, and so on. Also, dogs will eat chicken and smaller livestock when they are in the right area.

That is not to leave out whatever meat they find in the trash. Dogs are good scavengers and their noses will lead them to those pieces of meat or bones that have been tossed away.

Finally, dogs living in the wild will not pass up any dead animals they come across. That to them is an easy meal where they do not have to exert any energy to get full.

Meat is one of their primary sources of protein and other nutrition. They will hunt for it if they have to. You just do not want to be around when they capture a small animal.

What did dogs eat before they were domesticated?

Rabbit standing in tall grass

There are about 10 or more wild dog types still in existence today. Their dietary habits are easy to study giving researchers some insight into what dogs ate prior to being domesticated.

Some of their diets will depend on where these wild dogs live and what type of food is available. By food, we not only mean vegetation but animals that were unlucky enough to cross these wild dogs’ paths.

Here is a list of items on the wild dogs’ menu:

  • Wombats
  • Rabbits
  • Possums
  • Wallabies
  • Geese
  • Cattle
  • Kangaroos
  • Snakes
  • Small rodents
  • Birds
  • Marsupials
  • Reptiles
  • Gazelles
  • Antelopes
  • Wildebeest calves
  • Warthogs
  • Tubers
  • Sugarcane
  • Fruit
  • Waterfowl
  • Seabirds
  • Ringed seal pups
  • Fish
  • Lemming
  • Voles
  • Insects
  • Seaweed
  • Berries

In other words, wild dogs would eat whatever they could find and what their bodies were telling them they need. In regard to feces, you would be surprised at the nutritional value that body waste contains. Dogs know about the billions of bacteria found in this wild dog food source.

The nutritional value of feces is unimaginable but dogs get protein, essential fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, and fiber from eating feces.

This will explain the many open dirty diapers left in the street on some days.

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass? Click here to find out.

Do wild dogs eat bugs?

Wolf dog looking up at the camera

Yes, there are several wild dog types that have bugs and insects on their menu. Most likely, they may not eat them all the time but when their bodies tell them they need that particular nutritional source.

Their diets are not regular and they may skip a day or three between meals. Then they will hunt for whatever they need. If there was something wild dogs do not eat, it is grain.

For some reason, the wild dog’s digestive system cannot digest this food source properly. Even if they could eat grain, they do not have the ability to convert it into sugar and store it for later.

They do supplement their diet with different vegetation. So in the long run, wild dogs do get a balanced diet. They just do not get it at the same meal. It may take them several days to consume all the nutrients their bodies need.

It all depends on where they live, what type of wild dog they are, and other factors. Bugs may not be high on their dietary list but they won’t turn them away when they need to eat them.

Some final words

Yellow Labrador jumping into a body of water, chasing a duck in flight

If you took a hard look at what wild dogs and dogs in the street ate, you may swear off food for a while. Dogs are not picky eaters and their diets will contain a wide range of ‘nice’ wild animals as well as other cute animals that people like to see.

The good news is that the wild dog does eat a balanced meal it just takes them several days to get all those nutrients.

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