I totally agree with your comments Platz but one has to remember that a dog is most likely not a domesticated wolf and one of the the current theories is that dogs and wolves descended from a common ancestor not the former from the latter. To follow up on that pioint I just want to throw out some information for people to consider about the whole natural diet issue that hopefully will help them with their decisionmaking about what and how to feed. A genetically healthy dog can generally survive on any diet as long as it is calorically rich be it carbohydrate, protein or fat.
In many parts of the world working dogs rarely if ever see meat and they live reasonably long and healthy lives. Go to the mountains in central and eastern Europe and ask the shepherds how much meat they feed the Livestock Giuardian Breeds. Chances are not much if any. Also in the US before the advent of commercial kibble and moist meats, people generally fed dogs leftovers and table scraps. A combination of bread veggies fruits meat bones and who kows what else. And these dogs prior to the commercial dog food era lived long lives.
I can remember my father and mother, god rest their souls show me pictures of dogs from their childhood and those were dogs fed this way living to 17 18 years of age. Bring on the the kibble generation and I've seen dogs raised on nothing but cheap kibble that I wouldn't give to my worst enemy's dog and the dogs live into their mid to late teens. Bring on Dr. Billinghurst, and his BARF diet 40 years after the true and still to me the best resource on raw meat feeding, Juliette de Bairacli Levy, and some people short cut his diet and feed nothing but boney chicken parts to their dogs and many of those dogs seem to live healthy lives. Conversely try to feed a wolf or a high content wolfdog nothing but a dry kibble dog food and they will more often than not do nothing but have continual diarrhea and up in poor health from malnutrition. Wolves truly are a carnivore. And to your point about the veggies and grain, there really ain't that much igrain or grasses in the gut of a wild or domestic hooved animal when devoured by a pack of wolves to contribute much to the diet.
Coyotes and foxes although they prefer to feed on prey animals are also know to eat fruits and berries for nutritional sustenance. So part of the point to my unfortunately long post is that there is no right or wrong way to feed a dog. Some methods are obviously better than others but it is surely a combination of numerous factors. To me the biggest factor is genetics, (I point back to my comments above about longevity and questionable diets) but also, the quality of the raw foods, quality of the kibbles, use of probiotics, use of digestive enzymes, omega 3 and other supplements, rotation of foods just to name a few.
Because of these differences in wild canines (especially the wolf) and the domestic dog in what they are able to eat and digest well in order to maintain their general health, to me it shoots holes in the theories of all of these new age natural diet authors who set up all of these "the dog is a wolf so it must eat x,y and z" or it won't be healthy rules. That whole paradigm just drives me nuts because most of those authors are really clueless about what and how wolves eat and haven't even seen them eat in the wild like you have let alone in captivity. However, that is still not to say that a dog won't do perfectly well on Billinghursts BARF, or Volhards, or Pitcains or Yarnells or any of the other dozen or so natural diet authors' feeding protocols. Or others who kind of go the middle of the road and combine raw meat with high quality aftermarket kibble or even others who buy the 40 pound bag of kibble in the local supermarket for $12.
Me personally, I feed kibble and whole ground carcass meats (no fowl at all) and I have fed that way to wolfdogs and pure wolves since the mid 1970s and to my domestic dogs since the late 80s with good results in health and longevity. I've had four of eight canines make it to 15, one to 16 and one to 17. Of the two that didn't one passed from cancer at age 8 and the other at age 5 from a genetic defect, Ventricular tachycardia. Overall I think a good track record. As far as all natural diets being fed to dogs, the healthiest and longest lived dogs I've seen on those types diets are dogs fed predominantly whole ground carcass land mammals namely goat, lamb, rabbit, bison, and beef with minimal amounts of fowl.
I know a great dane fed this way 16 years old, nominally arthritic and still very agile. Antther dane owned by the same person is 12 and looks and acts like a five to six year old. To close this epistle, people should do as Estrela suggested, do your research and decide to do what is best for your dogs, no matter if it means feeding kibble, veggies, fruits and grains and raw or cooked meats as long as the dogs are healthy and their owners are comfortable with what they are doing that is all that matters. Sorry for the long post.