Dogs have been described as carnivores[117][118] or omnivores.[17][119][120][121] Compared to wolves, dogs have genes involved in starch digestion that contribute to an increased ability to thrive on a starch-rich diet.[19] Based on metabolism and nutrition, many consider the dog to be an omnivore. However, the dog is not simply an omnivore. More like the cat and less like other omnivores, the dog can only produce bile acid with taurine, and it cannot produce vitamin D, which it obtains from animal flesh. Also more like the cat, the dog requires arginine to maintain its nitrogen balance. These nutritional requirements place the dog part-way between carnivores and omnivores.[122]
Domestic dogs have been selectively bred for millennia for various behaviors, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes.[17] Modern dog breeds show more variation in size, appearance, and behavior than any other domestic animal.[17] Dogs are predators and scavengers, and like many other predatory mammals, the dog has powerful muscles, fused wrist bones, a cardiovascular system that supports both sprinting and endurance, and teeth for catching and tearing.
In a study of seven breeds of dogs (Bernese mountain dog, basset hound, Cairn terrier, Epagneul Breton, German Shepherd dog, Leonberger, and West Highland white terrier) it was found that inbreeding decreases litter size and survival.[84] Another analysis of data on 42,855 dachshund litters found that as the inbreeding coefficient increased, litter size decreased and the percentage of stillborn puppies increased, thus indicating inbreeding depression.[85] In a study of boxer litters, 22% of puppies died before reaching 7 weeks of age.[86] Stillbirth was the most frequent cause of death, followed by infection. Mortality due to infection increased significantly with increases in inbreeding.[86]

"I like to give my clients options, options that give them more of a comfortable feeling when trusting there beloved pet in the hands of a complete stranger. My dog was a rescue, she felt more comfortable at home or with me than anything else. Being in someone's home with out me present or being caged would sky rocket her anxiety through the roof. Many pet owners can agree that a pet is not just a pet but like an actual part of the family. For pet owners that have pets such as mine I do like to provide them the option of in home services to ensure there pets are as comfortable as possible while they are away. Services provided include walking, daily meals, bathing, medication administration, house/pet sitting, in home boarding, boarding in my own home, lots of fun and play time as well. Whatever your comfortable with it can be provided. Animal care has been my passion sense I was a little girl. Taking care of animals is not just a way to earn a quick buck for me, I actually enjoy it."


The scientific evidence is mixed as to whether companionship of a dog can enhance human physical health and psychological wellbeing.[191] Studies suggesting that there are benefits to physical health and psychological wellbeing[192] have been criticised for being poorly controlled,[193] and finding that "the health of elderly people is related to their health habits and social supports but not to their ownership of, or attachment to, a companion animal." Earlier studies have shown that people who keep pet dogs or cats exhibit better mental and physical health than those who do not, making fewer visits to the doctor and being less likely to be on medication than non-guardians.[194]
In mythology, dogs often serve as pets or as watchdogs.[208] Stories of dogs guarding the gates of the underworld recur throughout Indo-European mythologies[210][211] and may originate from Proto-Indo-European religion.[210][211] In Greek mythology, Cerberus is a three-headed watchdog who guards the gates of Hades.[208] In Norse mythology, a bloody, four-eyed dog called Garmr guards Helheim.[208] In Persian mythology, two four-eyed dogs guard the Chinvat Bridge.[208] In Welsh mythology, Annwn is guarded by Cŵn Annwn.[208] In Hindu mythology, Yama, the god of death, owns two watch dogs who have four eyes. They are said to watch over the gates of Naraka.[212]
The practice of using dogs and other animals as a part of therapy dates back to the late 18th century, when animals were introduced into mental institutions to help socialize patients with mental disorders.[201] Animal-assisted intervention research has shown that animal-assisted therapy with a dog can increase social behaviors, such as smiling and laughing, among people with Alzheimer's disease.[202] One study demonstrated that children with ADHD and conduct disorders who participated in an education program with dogs and other animals showed increased attendance, increased knowledge and skill objectives, and decreased antisocial and violent behavior compared with those who were not in an animal-assisted program.[203]
Dogs have been described as carnivores[117][118] or omnivores.[17][119][120][121] Compared to wolves, dogs have genes involved in starch digestion that contribute to an increased ability to thrive on a starch-rich diet.[19] Based on metabolism and nutrition, many consider the dog to be an omnivore. However, the dog is not simply an omnivore. More like the cat and less like other omnivores, the dog can only produce bile acid with taurine, and it cannot produce vitamin D, which it obtains from animal flesh. Also more like the cat, the dog requires arginine to maintain its nitrogen balance. These nutritional requirements place the dog part-way between carnivores and omnivores.[122]
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