What Do Dogs Eat in the Wild?

Every species has their own biologically appropriate diet, and dogs are no exception to this. This means that there is a specific diet that they would be able to live on, which is typically what they would find for themselves in the wild. 

What Do Dogs Eat in the Wild

Have you ever wondered about what dogs actually eat in the wild? You are certainly not the only one. Thankfully, we have all of the answers to your burning questions, and we are going to provide you with lots of information on the subject in this article. 

Hopefully, this will help you to better understand dogs and their natural diet, and you can finally find out what they would have eaten in the wild before humans went and domesticated them. 


What Do Dogs Eat in the Wild?

Dogs are carnivores, which means that the main part of their diet in the wild would be their prey. Their prey in the wild could be anything from small animals, like mice, voles, rabbits, birds, insects and more, to larger prey that has been caught through the help of the pack.

Dogs would also make sure not to waste any part of their prey, and they will even eat things like internal organs, meat, and bones.

Dogs are not obligate carnivores like some other animals, which means that they can and do eat vegetable matter.

Wild dogs will keep an eye out for rotten fruit, and they will even eat the semi-digested contents of their prey’s stomach. Some wild dogs would dig up vegetables and eat things like grasses and herbs. 

Wild dogs are known for being scavengers,  and they eat the leftovers from every single animal that is killed or that dies.

When it comes to eating in the wild, dogs will receive valuable nutrients from materials that us humans would turn our noses up at. Such things could involve vomit, feces, and decaying flesh.

On the subject of feces, you might be interested to learn that it contains both the dead and living bodies of millions of bacteria, which makes it the perfect source of protein, essential fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and fiber. 

If your dog at home is eating a processed diet, they might also turn to eating feces as their own way to try and stay healthy. 

What Things Do Dogs Not Eat in the Wild?

What Do Dogs Eat in the Wild?

Something that is almost as important as what dogs need to eat in the wild is what they should never eat in the wild. We are going to provide you with more information about this below.

Dogs that are living in the wild might not need to eat every single day, and depending on where they live, the season, the size of the pack, and other variables, they might only eat on every second or third day.

They can even go longer than this at times without suffering, but it will all depend on their individual circumstances. A healthy dog will be able to go for up to a week without food.

Something else that is interesting is that wild dogs do not eat ‘complete’ meals, which are what experts recommend that we feed our domesticated dogs.

Dogs are able to meet their own nutritional requirements over time, and they will eat what they need or look for it if their body is telling them that they need it.

This is called the ‘balance over time’ concept, and it is essential to the way in which dogs should be fed, as there is evidence to suggest that dogs fed all the ingredients that they need in proportion at every meal can suffer increased health problems.

A final thing to take note of is the fact that dogs do not eat grain. This is due to the fact that they cannot digest it properly, and even if they could, they are unable to convert it into sugar and store it for later use.

A Breakdown of What Dogs Eat in the Wild


Carrion refers to dead animal carcasses, and this is an important food source for dogs that are living in the wild. If they stumble across a dead animal, they are more than likely going to eat it. 


The majority of wild dogs will also eat bugs on occasion, and you might even notice your domesticated dog doing this from time to time.

They are most likely to go for slow bugs that are easy to catch, like roaches, caterpillars, and beetles. They might also go for flying bugs that happen to come close to them. 

Small Animals

Dogs in the wild will eat lots of small animals, and this is one of their main sources of food. Slightly larger animals like ducks and geese can also become dinner in the right circumstances, but they are only usually targeted when they are injured, as they are more unlikely to escape.

Large Animals

Wild dogs do not usually go for large animals that often, but they will prey on large animals on occasion, including deer and farm animals. They will usually be attacked by a pack of dogs, rather than one on its own.

Farm animals are one of the most common targets when it comes to larger animals, and it is not only dogs that will prey on such animals. Coyotes and wolves are two examples of other animals that will  prey on farm animals.

Leafy Vegetation

There is no conclusive evidence to suggest which plants stalks and leaves wild dogs would prefer, but they are certainly known to chow down on leafy green materials on occasion.

This is to be expected, as dogs are omnivores that are able to enjoy a variety of different food types, including vegetables.

It is also possible that green leafy materials are not eaten intentionally, as it is possible for a dog to accidentally get a mouthful of vegetation when they are eating something from the ground.


Fruit is another popular food source among wild dogs, and they will not turn their noses up at it if they come across it.

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Written by Vanessa

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