Paleo For Pets: Is A Paleo Diet Right For Your Dog?

Jack Russell Terrier Dog Lying On A Meadow And Eat A Raw Bone

(Picture Credit: Alina Potopeanu/EyeEm/Getty Images)

Back in the days of hunters and gatherers, protein and nuts were the main ingredients of every meal. This did our ancestors well, but more than this, even the animals and pets would enjoy the same food and benefits.

This is why a common trend now for pets is feeding them the Paleo diet. If you are considering changing your dog’s diet or even spicing it up with specialized Paleo days, it might be good to consider what experts think of the benefits and cons. As always, you should consult your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet.

What Paleo Is All About

The idea of a Paleo diet may scare some pet owners because of two things: it’s assumed to be all raw all the time, and it’s a human diet that may seem inappropriate for dogs. However, this may be as natural as any diet goes.

Paleo Dog: Give Your Best Friend a Long Life, Healthy Weight, and Freedom from Illness by Nurturing His Inner Wolf author and veterinarian Jean Hofve shared that the Paleo diet takes after the dietary tendencies during the Paleolithic period where hunter and gatherer roles were in place. This translates to roughly the Caveman diet, which only included meats, nuts, veggies, and fruits, and takes away the more modern food options like dairy, grains, and processed foods.

Beyond the actual act of eating a Paleo diet, however, is the need to let your dog live the Paleo lifestyle. “The whole lifestyle includes training, exercise, and good, proper rest, which the way we talk about it is not something you’ve heard before,” shares Dr. Hofve. She refers to this as Grounding or Earthing, wherein you allow your dog to walk on the grass, avoid environmental toxins, and reduce their stresses.

Include These Important Ingredients

Man in kitchen preparing potatoes and steaks with dog watching

(Picture Credit: Westend61/Getty Images)

The Paleo diet mostly consists of protein and vegetables–this could mean all kinds of meat, veggies, nuts, and fruits. For dogs, a Paleo diet can consist of meat and bones. Paleopet author and veterinarian James Coghlan suggests that the issue with regular dog food is that it consists primarily of starch. Dogs are not hardwired for a diet of grain and starch.

A Paleo diet is fit for hunting prey and complements the physical qualities of a dog. They benefit from the nutrients of this natural diet. These include fiber, probiotic bacteria (the good kind of bacteria), partially cooked vegetables, and certain meats for protein. This eliminates too many empty carbohydrates in their system.

Finally, the Paleo diet benefits your pet–and even you!–in that it is much cheaper than regular dog food. Natural ingredients prepared with minimal to no preservatives reassures you of your dog’s diet. You know what’s in your dog’s food because you make it.

Is There Any Danger To A Paleo Diet For Dogs?

Diets always involve some level of risk. Cooking food eliminates bacteria, so people assume the Paleo diet promotes the risk of contracting disease from bacteria.

“We know that in modern food processing, all meat is contaminated with bacteria. End of discussion–period! It’s all got bacteria,” says Dr. Hofve. “The real concern is with people handling the food because certainly, people have gotten salmonella from handling food that had salmonella on it.”

Salmonella is the biggest issue in preparing raw meats. If the food is not properly handled, children and babies in the household may be exposed, even if they do not ingest any of the food prepared.

Start your pet on the Paleo diet by feeding them easily digestible food. This could require proper cooking or even pureeing. Just keep in mind that the ingredients need to be unprocessed and natural.

Paleo diets may seem like a fad. But even dogs can benefit from home-cooked meals without the processed qualities and preservatives found in many factory-made foods.

Are you thinking about trying the Paleo diet for your pet? Which ingredient will you try to feed your pet pal? Consult with your local vet for this diet change and let us know your experience in the comments section!

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