The effect of protein vs carbohydrate rich diet on the behaviour of juvenile Indian free-ranging dogs
Domestic dogs have evolved from the carnivorous wolf. During the process of domestication, the dogs underwent directional selection which targeted the gene Amy2B. This process had enabled dogs to survive on more starch rich diets than their ancestors’ carnivorous diet. In India, free-ranging dogs are found mainly in environments rich in carbohydrate based foods but poor in protein foods. Juvenile free-ranging dogs, which are in their growth phase, have higher energy requirements than adults. In our experiment we provided twenty juvenile dogs with either a carbohydrate rich or a protein rich food source and tried to determine which was a better food source for the dogs. We observed that the dogs that fed on the protein foods performed active behaviours at a higher frequency. This result could indicate that despite the dogs’ evolutionary change for more efficient starch metabolism, protein is still a better food source for dogs.