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Food Preferences of Similarly Raised and Kept Captive Dogs and Wolves

Penelitian - The evolution of food preferences may be driven by the habitat a species has evolved in, energetic and protein requirements, and resource distribution. Several predators have been shown to prefer protein rich foods in accordance with their carnivorous feeding niches.

While dogs are capable of hunting, they are primarily solitary scavengers that thrive around human settlements and feed predominantly and indiscriminately on human refuse. The different socio-ecologies of dogs and wolves is postulated to have shaped the way they approach both social and independent problem-solving tasks.

Penelitian Food Preferences of Similarly Raised and Kept Captive Dogs and Wolves

For instance, in line with wolves’ dependence on cooperation in both hunting and pup-rearing, wolves outperformed dogs in a cooperative string-pulling task and showed more food sharing than dogs.

Akshay Rao of the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna and team tested similarly raised and kept dogs and wolves in two different food choice tasks, a classic two-choice task and a multiple-choice paradigm.

Researchers predicted that if dogs have adapted to a more opportunistic, scavenging foraging style, they would show a weaker preference for meat over starch rich foods and be less affected by hunger than wolves.

“We found that our subjects did not differ in their preference for meat over kibble in either paradigm. However, wolves’ choice patterns were affected by satiation, with wolves being less “selective” when hungry,” said Rao.

These differences were more noticeable in the multiple-choice paradigm than the two-choice task, suggesting that the former, novel paradigm may be more sensitive and better capable of evaluating food preferences in a diverse range of species.



The team found that the distinct differences in wolves’ and dogs’ ecology and foraging styles do not appear to have affected their food preferences and thus, differences in food preferences are unlikely to have influenced results of previous experiments demonstrating wolf-dog differences in cognitive skills.

Journal : Akshay Rao et al. Food preferences of similarly raised and kept captive dogs and wolves, PLOS ONE, September 20, 2018, DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0203165

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