MYTH – Wolves In The Wild Do Not Live As Long As Domestic Dogs Because Of Their Diet
Recently we have had reports from ‘experts’ claiming that wolves only have a life span of 6 – 8 years and that is due to them eating raw. From their reports the humble human will glean the ‘fact’ that eating what comes naturally to them kills them sooner than our domestic dogs. What the ‘so called experts’ have failed to do is provide all of the facts on why some wolves die young.
Here is a post that explains in simply terms why wolves die younger than our domestic dogs who live in comfortable surroundings and are given food every day.
“The assumption of this claim is that the diet of wolves shortens their lifespan and that we therefore should not feed this diet to dogs. However, this is another example of faulty reasoning and false logic. Yes, wolves do not live as long in the wild as their domestic counterparts, but this is NOT because of the food they eat. Why would nature design an animal to be sustained on a diet that inevitably kills it? How could eating what it was designed and has evolved to eat decrease a wolf’s lifespan? Its diet is what keeps a wolf alive! If it did not eat, how would it live? These questions aside, we must look at how absurd it is to link wolf longevity solely to diet.
Living in the wild is a tough job. Wild wolves face the brunt of nature and must deal with the bitter elements every single day—heat, cold, rain, storms, blizzards, ice storms, etc. They also must deal with the high energetic costs associated with bringing down huge herbivores like elk, deer, and moose. They also encounter intraspecific competition for food among other wolves in addition to interspecific competition with bears, cougars, and humans. They face predation, habitat loss, and prey loss by humans as well as a decreasing environmental quality in habitat and food. They also must deal with parasites (every wild animal has them and usually coexists quite peacefully with them), with foreign toxic pollutants, with wolf-wolf altercations, with wolf-prey altercations, with wolf-other carnivore or scavenger altercations, and with increasing encroachment and habitat destruction by humans. They face a sporadic prey supply and starvation routinely and may go several weeks without food. In spite of all this they can still thrive well enough to expend precious energy in reproductive forays, producing litters of healthy pups and creating an increased demand for food. These are the reasons a wolf’s lifespan in the wild is shorter, NOT because of its diet. It is precisely their diet and genetic hardiness that keeps them alive, even in the face of disease. It is not that their food is somehow lacking and incapable of sustaining them, but that they cannot always get enough of that food to meet all their metabolic requirements. It is that very food that fills, heals, and sustains them. Hopefully you can now see how ludicrous it is to assume diet is the reason for a decreased lifespan in the wild.
When we look at our domesticated wolf companions—our dogs—this lifespan issue becomes a moot point. Our dogs do not live in the wild and therefore do not face most of the energetically costly factors wolves face. Our dogs live comfortably in our homes where they should always receive enough food and care, and where the raw food they need can be obtained from parasite-free sources.”