Some pets, especially cats, are supposed to be carnivores. The pet obesity epidemic has been much in the news lately. Has anyone noted health, behavioral, or appearance improvements in their pets after switching from corn-meal containing chow to a more paleo diet?
asked byEd (11488)
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on February 19, 2010
at 04:28 PM
I have a friend who went 'raw' with her pup from the start - from his food (whole raw chickens, liver, various cuts of meat, intermittent fasting (!!!)) to things like tick and flea prevention and worming. His fur is immaculate - soft, but not with that kind of icky greasy coating some dogs get from storebought pet foods. He's also fantastically good-natured, but that may be more due to genes and proper discipline than diet, though I don't think it should be discounted entirely either.
From my own experience, I switched our dog to paleo for a short while after she started reacting badly to her normal food (started drinking a lot and needing to go out all the time, became very restless). She was almost immediately better on paleo, and seemed to have a lot more energy and bounce than before - even though she's a rather spry 9 yr old at that! Had her checked up regardless because of the behaviour/physical changes and it turns out there may be some thyroid issues related to her breed/age, but the paleo change seemed to have alleviated, if not slowed down the onset of this. ^_^
Unfortunately she's back on dry food but a different kind, as my parents (whose dog it really is) have no real desire to keep that kind of diet up. :/ It's a shame because she definitely loved the raw meat and definitely seemed to fare better on it. **I should also add she shed the extra pounds she was carrying while on paleo as well. ;P
on April 07, 2010
at 08:21 AM
I started my dog on "paleo" diet when I first read this post about a month ago. His coat has improved, like everyone said it would, he doesn't get "greasy" feeling and stinky so quickly. I am pretty sensitive about this so I used to wash him 2x a week. After going on this diet I didn't have to wash him for 3 weeks.
His stools are much smaller and firmer (though, unfortunately for me living in a city, he still likes to space them out into 3 little ones throughout the day).
He lost 7 pounds, from 60 to 53, and I didn't think he was overweight to start with!
And best of all, he is calmer! (not so hyper-active) Though this could also have to do with him approaching the end of his puppy phase.
Needless to say, he loves it. And for me it hasn't been that expensive! At the grocery I can get meaty marrow bones fro 25 cents a pound, and meaty soup bones for 50 cent/lb. He gets about a pound twice a day. Sometimes, he gets left over cooked meat or vegetables that we're not going to eat (I'm careful to avoid vegetables known to be toxic to pups). Also I often left him lick the pan after I roast some sort of meat (after I've poured off any fat I want to save, of course). This helps with cleanup too ;) He's also had fish a couple times (herring or sardines) and pork ribs that we on sale.
One more thing: before, I think he would eat kibble until he threw up if I let him, but now if he gets full he stops eating. Unfortunately this does mean that I've found the occasional slab of meat or fish head stored on the floor in our bedroom.
And one last thing: the bones often take him a while- maybe a few days- to eat, so he has something to entertain himself with in those hours when to his dismay we can't give him 100% of our attention. I recently discovered that he's been "burying" these between the cushions of the sofa for later (we live in an apartment and he sadly has no yard to actually bury them in).
It's crazy that veterinarians don't understand that this kind of diet is better--- how could a diet of fresh food closely related to what they would have "in the wild" not be?
on March 02, 2010
at 05:14 AM
The cheapest canned cat food I've found that's grain-free but still claims "complete feline nutrition" is Innova EVO- the chicken/turkey or the beef. Our kitties have decided that they aren't fond of the chicken/turkey but they still gobble up the beef just fine. To switch it up I also get the Evanger's Caviar & Seafood Dinner or the Weruva Polynesian BBQ (worth it because of the free shipping on Amazon.com). Both are grain-free but I try to limit the big fish seafood because of mercury content. Their favorite canned food though is the "by Nature Oganics" brand- all of the available flavors (Chicken and Chicken Liver, Chicken and Mackerel, etc.). Yeah, I probably do too much shopping on Amazon.com, but it's easy and I get extra rewards on my credit card. :) It's a pretty big dent in the budget of course, and I hope to eventually feed them fresh offal and the like, but in the mean time... my first kitty died last year at 13 years of age... of cancer. It was after she died that I switched the other kitties off of cheap grain-filled kibble. To this day I wonder if I had bothered to feed my old kitty quality food rather than the cheapest kibble available if she wouldn't still be alive...
on March 24, 2011
at 10:41 PM
I'm going to jump out of the dog/cat thread here and discuss my pet rabbit who ate a traditional "small pet diet" for his first 8 years, and a paleo-for-rabbits diet for the last 3.
Most rodents/lagomorphs are fed a standard alfalfa pellet mixture, fortified with various synthetic vitamins, and then supplemented with sugary/dairy/grain based treats, because you know how much rabbits enjoy cow's milk in the wild. I never even thought about an alternative because he seemed active enough and rabbit breeders/showers actually recommend against "overfeeding" vegetables. But then once he was about 8 years old he began to slow down dramatically (8 is old for a rabbit) and suffered from mild seizures. A pet sitter that took care of him for a weekend did a very novel thing: for the entire weekend she fed him nothing but good old fashioned plant matter and hay. And you know what? As a geriatric rabbit he was sprinting loops around the living room. I've been feeding him vegetables and hay (a rabbit makes a great compost system for all vegetable/salad trimmings) for 3 years, his coat is healthy, he's alert, and he's so energetic that he charges anyone who comes into the house, though it's not particularly threatening since he tips the scales at about 3 lbs.
So there you go! The world's first domestic Paleo rabbit ('paleo rabbit' kind of sounds like a recipe...)
on March 02, 2010
at 11:48 AM
My mastiff puppy is more paleo than I am. He eats raw, bone-in chicken (mostly thighs and wings for now) which is not terribly expensive. He also gets whatever???s on sale: raw turkey necks, lamb shoulder, etc. A few times a week I give him sardines canned in water with a raw egg, as well as chicken livers, gizzards and hearts (very cheap).
For now I???ve noticed no dog breath and smaller stools. It is a bit more costly than commercial dog food, but in the long term, this will help him avoid obesity, joint problems, tooth tartar and allergies.
on March 01, 2010
at 11:22 PM
Our two cats eat ground turkey mixed with Primal brand raw feline beef and salmon. Some days it's just the turkey, and I sometimes feed them raw beef scraps leftover from slicing it for jerky.
When we first had them, their poo was smelly and runny. It was a big problem. Once they went to raw meat, the problem went away the next day and never returned. They are still very young, and in excellent health.
Here's the Primal brand food they eat: http://www.primalpetfoods.com/product/detail/c/7/id/9
EDIT: One of the cats figured out how to pee in the toilet on his own. It's great except when you need to go and you have to wait for him to wash his paws.
on February 19, 2010
at 05:23 PM
Our three dogs are on a raw/BARF diet. All are pretty close to ideal weights. One has to eat more so as not to lose too much weight. None have the sour doggy odor and we don't even bathe the 2 outside dogs. Their coats are shiny and healthy. Our white bichon/poodle doesn't have nearly as much tear stains as when she was on kibble. Feces pretty much disappear unless one of them gets into the chicken or goat feed.
on April 08, 2010
at 12:27 PM
To everyone who is feeding their pets paleo - kudos - it's great for them!
With that said, I saw several references to feeding dogs bone-in chicken and I feel like I need to put this out there: My wife used to work for a veterinarian. She's seen dogs brought in for chicken-bone issues.
Imagine a chicken leg bone with the knobby ends chewed off, so it's jagged on both ends, wedged sideways across the roof of a dogs mouth, sharp ends in the gums on either side above the upper teeth - wedged in so securely that the dog needs to be sedated so the vet can use wire-cutters to cut the bone in half to get it out. She's seen it.
Imagine a couple-inch (adjust based on dog size) shard of bone being swallowed by a happily nomming dog along with a chunk of meat, and then getting snagged/wedged somewhere in the intestines. In this case the dog owner had to make a decision on surgery for the dog that would be either very costly, or heart-breaking. She's seen it.
When you think about it, with the exception of carrion or sick/wounded birds - birds are probably not a common historical prey animal for dogs. Dogs and wolves are normally pack hunters. They run down prey (often larger than themselves) similar to ancient human persistence hunters. This doesn't work with birds.. birds fly away. Birds get hunted by cats, and larger birds, and humans.
on December 23, 2012
at 08:53 PM
We're the paleo 'flock' around here, not really a pack but honestly, grains/legumes etc its all terrible food for ANY creature I've learned.
Jacko is a 13 year old timneh african grey who I adopted about 8 years ago from a bad situation. She was brown instead of grey from being nicotine stained and malnourished, dry skin, peeling beak etc. Not in good shape. For those of you who don't know the standard 'good nutrition' for parrots is either cheap industrial seed mixes OR the 'holy grail' is refined kibble full of you guessed it---grains, legumes and artificial toxins. With vegetables, fruits...'real food' is at best a supplement and often a treat in tiny portions to avoid 'unbalancing perfect nutrition' of pellets.
Not knowing any better I did the 'good parrot mum' thing and she ate the best of the best---organic and whole ingredients (nevermind that it was basically peanuts, sunflower seeds, corn and lentils with synthetic vitamin powders). And within a year of putting her on this pellet (she'd been on lesser diets---more whole food, less pellets)---heart disease. Her arteries are calcified and her heartbeat was beginning to fail on her.
So...I trusted my instincts and all that toxic crap is gone. She eats lean animal protein and fruit along with a lot of clay, bark, grasses, herbs. Veggies (not something parrots evolved to eat--too much cellulose), grains, legumes---they're all gone. And the result? For the first time in eight years she's finally looking better and FINALLY moulting out all those nasty feathers (she's so grey now in some spots she glows blue-purple). The change has been dramatic and quick---suddenly she was moulting regularly, her skin/beak etc improved, she's itching less, putting on weight finally... Her heart is getting stronger (the skin around her eyes was going blue due to lack of oxygen--its now clearing up). I'm excited to see what the follow-up heart scan will see. All this has happened in the last six months.
Despite my 'substandard' whole food diet she's healing in a way the 'best expert-formulated nutrition and wisdom' could never give her.
Lesson? Nature knows best. IF its not what nature has them eating, I don't care which 'expert' formulated it its NOT appropriate food for the creature.
on December 14, 2012
at 07:47 AM
I just ran some numbers and for a very small 15 lbs. dog it's about $110/year for premium kibble and $600 for the primal food (a little over $4/lbs) from the nearest store.
$500/year seems steep for an already healthy dog.
on March 30, 2012
at 04:25 PM
Three years ago I adopted a 5-year old German Shepherd, Sandy. Sandy was underweight (her ribs were showing), she was severely depressed, and she was limping (after having been at the shelter for a month.) She wasn't eating and was about to be drugged to have an appetite.
I immediately got Sandy off kibble, got her on raw meat, chicken, bones, eggs, canned fish, and, for a time, gelatin and other supplements.
Three years later, Sandy is a happy healthy dog. Paleo is a good diet for her.
on March 24, 2011
at 01:04 PM
Thor is a Grain free Chocolate Lab/Weimeraner mix.
He has more energy outside, yet calmer inside. He listens and learns far faster as well.
I'll never feed another animal anything other than what it evolved to eat.
on March 24, 2011
at 01:25 AM
My dogs and cats have been 'paleo' (zero carb prey model raw fed) far longer than I have! Cats are turning 6 and 4 and have been raw since I got them as little kittens, dogs are 11 and 14 and seem to be fixing to live forever since I cured most of their issues (everything from arthritis to IBS to tartar to arthritis) since I started them on prey-model raw in 2005.
Can't stress enough how amazing it is for my pets. Could never do it any other way. I feel like grain is poison for them, and by the way they have reacted when they somehow eaten it since going raw, I'm hardly exaggerating.
on March 23, 2011
at 08:21 PM
My 10 year old dog has Wobbler's Disease. He recently took a turn for the worse and was almost bedridden. He had trouble walking and was afraid to walk down the steps of our front porch because he was afraid of falling (he fell a year ago).
I was desparate! I began feeding him raw meat and bones, raw eggs & shells. On day one, he was running around. Day two still the same. It is short of a miracle. I started reading up on the raw meat diet. I am still learning. I figured raw meat was as "natural" as you can get to what they would eat in the wild.
I am getting flack from my family like I am going to kill him...Yikes, but I see a difference, the alternative would be to put him down. NO MORE GRAINS FOR HIM!
I also have put home made beef broth geletin in his dog bowl too.
He is a large breed doberman.
on March 03, 2010
at 05:41 AM
I supplement my cats' kibble with raw chicken thighs and liver (1 liver and 1/2 thigh every other day for each cat). Does anyone know if too much liver can be bad for cats? My underweight kitty would gorge himself on it if I let him. I'd love to let him because he really needs to pack on some muscle tone.
on March 02, 2010
at 03:23 AM
The only grain my 2 year old dog has ever eaten was rice when she was a puppy, as the breeder had her on a commercial pet food which I stopped feeding her shortly after she came home with us. I home cook for my dog and she eats grass-fed meat or wild fish, and veggies. For the rare occasion where we are unable to cook her food, she might eat Acana brand grain-free commercial dog kibble mixed into a can of wild Alaska salmon, or some medallions of Paw Naturaw raw dehydrated bison. I also include coconut oil, egg yolks, calcium, and fish oil in her diet.
She has no weight issues, no digestion issues, no skin issues, no ear infections, no dental issues, and no behavioral issues. She was born with a liver defect - that's why I cook her food instead of doing raw 100%, but other than that, she's in absolute perfect health.
I highly recommend getting your pets off most commercial pet food and onto home cooked or raw, or at least grain-free pet food.
on February 19, 2010
at 06:01 PM
I don't know if this is entirely "paleo" since we not feeding them raw meat, but about 3 months ago, we started our two kitties (6 and 8 years old) on a mixture of chicken thighs, beef liver and tuna fish. I combine about 8 lbs. of chicken and 1 lb. of beef liver, and slow cook it in water at a low temperature for about 24 hours. By the time it's done, the water has reduced into a thick gravy and the meat and bones are soft enough to process with a stick blender (the bones disintegrate into the mash). Recently, we started adding 4-5 cans of tuna to the mixture to improve flavor - the cats seem to prefer it that way. I know this sounds like a lot of work, but a batch will last 6 weeks or more, so it doesn't have to be done often. Both cats have trimmed down and are energetic and healthy looking.
One cat had gotten pretty chunky on his old dry kibble diet (we affectionately called him "Jabba the Cat" lol), so it nice to no longer be worried about caring for diabetic kitties in their golden years.
on February 19, 2010
at 04:05 PM
I have two cats that are both a little over a year old. When we first got them, we fed them the standard cheap dry food. After going paleo and reading more about feeding cats, I have switched them to the Wellness Core line of food. I was hoping to use the wet food, but they turned their noses up to it, but they love the dry.
The male cat was starting to put on the pounds and had bad dandruff before making this switch. Now he has slimmed out, the dandruff is nearly gone, and he coat is much sleeker.
We also give them freeze-dried salmon as treats and raw chicken and salmon whenever I'm making it.
I'd love to go completely raw with them, but just can't afford it at this time.
Here's the link to the Wellness food: http://www.wellnesspetfood.com/cat_wellness_dry_core.html
on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM
My dog (kees hond) was mostly eating paleo / native type food (beef, beef hearts, chicken, turkey, paleo vegetables....) for 3 months. She really really liked it, but any particular improvements in health were probably mostly due to treating her hypothyroidism (apparently its common in dogs, compared to humans...).
I found that it went well for awhile, but eventually it started causing upset stomach (no specific cause found). Higher meat content seems to be a problem, although my dog being 9 is probably part of it - she also has trouble with raw carrots and berries.
So far I've found that mostly meat, but also oat and/or potato works out the best for consistent digestion. In younger dogs/cats I've never seen issues with a more "paleo" diet though (although some dogs experiencing morning sickness do better on something that is easy to digest too).
In terms of raw food choice, I'd mention that picking something that has some vitamin/mineral fortifications and maybe probiotics is not necessarily a bad idea. If the manufacturer did not care to meet standard dog nutrition guidelines (which are pretty lax) I would tend to be concerned. Also, a lot of care has to be taken for anything with bone in it, as it can cause serious tearing in the digestive track.
on December 23, 2012
at 05:33 PM
Regarding cost, I think it's the same theory as humans eating more expensive hier quality food: the return on investment is reduced medical expenses, fewer drugs, etc.
on March 30, 2012
at 05:08 PM
I took our shelter mutt (Chihuahua/something mix...15lbs) off the "Science Diet" the shelter was feeding her and she is now grain free. I feed her only grain free treats and BG (Before Grains) buffalo formula dry food. She also gets baby carrots and pig ears for treats. After I switched her, her coat went from coarse and oily to super soft. Her poops are nice and firm and small, and her coat has zero "doggy" smell. She is as odorless as our cats, and in the 6 months I've had her, I only had to bathe her twice. She got muddy in the rain and that is the only reason. We've had no more runny poos like she got on Science Diet. Her coast used to feel like horse hair (she's got a smooth short single coat). She's in great shape now. Very energetic and playful!
on March 25, 2011
at 04:30 AM
My pug is turning 14 in a few days and has been Paleo since she was 5. Grain + meat based kibble made her fat and her poops were huge! On raw meat and veg with salmon oil she now gets compliments for her lean physique. I've started giving her much more fat in her food to keep her calories high and her protein lower. (better for her aging kidneys) and she just keeps rolling along without the usual old dog decrepitude.
It's funny because I immediately knew Paleo was right for her; Wonder why it took so long to figure out it was right for me too?
on March 24, 2011
at 10:10 PM
My wife switched her cat from a "good" dry cat food to all canned meat a couple years ago, and he slimmed down a lot and seems very healthy. Even in the winter when he rarely goes out, he doesn't fatten up.
I've always given my dog all the bones and meat scraps I could, and she has as good a dry food as I can find (currently a grain-free one) as a backup, which she doesn't touch very often. She's ridiculously healthy. Even cooked bones -- yes, I know, you're not supposed to give them cooked bones; they'll splinter and kill them dead. All I know is she's been eating them for 10 years, and she'd be pretty disappointed in me if I stopped letting her have them. Or as my mom put it, "I've been giving your dad's dogs all our leftover bones for years, and I haven't managed to kill a single one of the dumb things."
on March 24, 2011
at 01:46 AM
I've been feeding my cat frozen raw chicken for almost a year - she LOVES IT, and she has more energy and her skin has stopped causing her issues. (She had really terrible skin problems, to the point that she would lick herself raw in places.)
My 2nd cat is more picky and won't eat the raw food, but I switched to Wellness brand that has less processed stuff and few grains, much better for him.
Just discovered this site: hare-today.com - they sell ground up MOUSE!! o_o
A quick question though - where do you guys source your meat? We don't really have any organic options available (very rural-ish Michigan) do you think its ok to use supermarket meats? Unfortunately, my paleo attempt is limited to supermarket meat as well :(
on March 23, 2011
at 11:13 PM
Our dog has had problems with his anal glands for the last several months, and was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and put on Prednisone. Steroids! For a 17 pound dachshund mix! One look at the ingredients in his commercial kibble overwhelmed me with guilt. For the last 6 weeks, I've been feeding him ground beef mixed with a little white rice and peas and carrots; perhaps not the most optimal diet for an 8-year-old dog, but there's no soy, wheat, corn or processed crap.
And he's off the steroids, which is good enough for me.
on November 03, 2010
at 03:00 AM
We have five cats; we live on five and a half acres surrounded by farmland, 400 meters from the nearest road, and several square kilometers of bush out back.
Our cats spend most of the day outside, coming in when they feel like it. We try to keep them indoors at night due to the local coyotes. They're basically getting a paleo cat lifestyle and diet (they all hunt and eat everything from bugs on up; Stella, our oldest and Daddy's spoiled sweet little relentless killing machine, got a big garter snake this summer), supplemented with a litterbox, vet-grade cat food, and a warm place to sleep at night.
They are all sleek, fit, and healthy, with glossy coats.
on November 03, 2010
at 12:16 AM
W8lift You have it backwards on the left over junk in the dogs intestines. ALL dogs are carnivores and have a powerful very short, fast and efficient digestive tract. They are only designed to eat raw prey with large ungulates being the choice of preference.
It is the kibble aka crap in a bag that they cannot digest nor are they physically built to eat anything plantlike. Bagged food produces volumes of stinky bacteria laden undigested crapola. Large volume because no matter how small the kibble company grinds the stuff it still cannot be digested. Experiment by giving your dog a raw carrot and note that it comes out still looking like a carrot . lol
Just compare jaw structure. The wolf (dog) has a hinged jaw that only can open and close straight down. This allows crushing tearing and shearing meat from a carcass. Look at the jaw of an omnivore or herbivore that can move sideways to grind plant matter like a camel or a bovine for example.
Dogs cannot digest plant matter without putting excess strain on the pancreas to produce more than normal digestive enzymes and hormones. So many pets are suffering from pancreatitis, diabetes, arthritis ,and other modern disease etc just as humans that follow the S.A.D. way of eating. Dogs are carnivores and cats are obligate carnivores which means kitty MUST have raw meat for optimum health.
HTH, shirley who has lived the raw prey model feeding for our dogs and cats for 12 years or so.
on March 01, 2010
at 11:01 PM
While we are here I am feeding two Mexican dogs- Tomas is a large older dog, and Daisy is a 4-5 month old pup. I cook them either white or brown rice with poached chicken and some beef liver added. Dry food is available too, but they much prefer the fresh food.
Once their chicken is cooked and stripped from the bones, I continue cooking the bones with celery and carrot to make a soup base for us. If the pup eats something weird and gets sick (she roots around in strange places all day!) I give her a bowl of broth instead of dinner, which is why I usually don't add onion at the broth stage of soup making. Onion is not good for dogs I've been told.