A growing trend among dog owners is feeding them the paleo diet, which helps with weight loss and better health.
The number of pets suffering from obesity-related health problems caused by poor diets and overfeeding is increasing daily.
In the days of hunters and gatherers, nuts and proteins were primary ingredients in every meal and the pets and animals in that time enjoyed the same benefits and food.
Every animal has a special paleo diet and if you are considering transitioning your dog to a paleo diet, read on for its possible pros and cons.
Can dogs eat paleo?
A dog's paleo diet means giving the dog a diet that consists of its traditional foods of proteins, added vitamins, and minerals.
Most dog owners may detest this diet as it mainly includes food the dog is biologically designed to eat, claiming it seems inappropriate and raw all the time.
However, this diet is as natural as they come, very appropriate for dogs, and contains the fewest possible chemical, processed and synthetic ingredients.
The Paleo diet includes exercises, training, and proper rest while keeping an eye on your dog to avoid environmental toxins and reduce stress.
Its natural nutrient benefits complement a dog's physical qualities and are fit for hunting prey.
These nutrients include; minerals, fibre, probiotic bacteria (good bacteria), protein, and supplements to eliminate abundant empty carbohydrates in the dog's system.
What do you eat on a paleo diet?
Loren Cordain, a researcher from ColoradoState University, was the first developer of The Paleo Diet, stating that it is how animals and humans were genetically designed to eat.
An ideal dog diet has 70-80 percent of fish and meat with 20-30 percent of cooked veggies or fruits.
This diet includes non-starchy veggies, lean meat (turkey, chicken, buffalo, pork, and lean beef), bones, seeds, eggs, pumpkin, sunflower seeds, fresh fruits, omega-3 marine oil, and nuts.
However, the diet excludes dairy, cherries, starchy vegetables, garlic, grapes, grains, legumes, onions, avocados, chemical additives, refined sugar, or anything processed.
Always make an effort to research what to give your dog before putting anything in their bowls. Also, avoid overfeeding as some foods can cause calorie issues for the dog.
Below is a detailed wording of the foods one can give their dogs in a paleo diet:
Beef, especially grass-fed, is high in Omega 3 essential fatty acids making it necessary for most dogs' paleo diets.
Ensure to give in moderation to avoid overfeeding as this may lead to secondary problems like overweight, digestive, and immune issues.
Chicken, an excellent source of lean protein, is given to dogs in addition to different animal proteins in cooked, grilled, roasted, or baked forms.
Its bones may be choking hazards to dogs or cause intestinal blockages and can be fatal so ensure to remove them before treats.
It has a superior nutrient quality, such as collagen, a protein needed for joint health, digestion, and the dog's healthy skin and coat.
Also, it contains glucosamine, an amino acid that assists in the reduction of inflamed and painful joints, making it therapeutic for dogs with arthritis.
To ensure you're feeding your dog bone broth free of toxic ingredients such as garlic or onions, avoid buying varieties from stores and consider making your own at home.
They are a good source of beta-carotene and fibre that helps dogs' eyesight and digestion, although if given excessively, their high levels of vitamin A can be toxic for your dog.
1-2 tablespoonfuls are ideal for larger dogs, while for puppies and smaller dogs, 1-2 teaspoonfuls.
The fibre in pumpkins often helps relieve stomach upsets such as diarrhoea and constipation. It is safely cooked and a rich source of vitamin A.
Administering to dogs should be in small amounts, preferably 1-2 tablespoonfuls for larger dogs and 1-2 teaspoons for puppies and smaller dogs.
Cooked eggs with the yolk include, as it is a spot for vitamin B, a rich source of protein. Hard-boiled eggs are also an excellent option for your dog.
Raw eggs may be supported and deemed okay for dogs as they are less prone to salmonella, but it's better to cook or boil them to avoid specific health risks.
A good source of electrolytes (like magnesium and potassium) and proteins, shrimp, is safe for dogs to eat after removing shells, legs, and tails to prevent choking.
Ensure to feed your dog only cooked shrimp because raw ones may have harmful bacteria.
Processed turkey meat slices are highly dangerous to your pet's health so avoid them and only give real, cooked turkey.
They are a powerful source of lean protein for the dog, just like chicken.
They are rich in Omega 3 essential fatty acids that improve coat and skin health and are an excellent anti-inflammatory nutrient.
Sardines are a healthier choice, unlike larger fish, as they absorb fewer heavy metals and toxins in the ocean. Remove any bone from the sardines as they can be choking hazards.
Good relief for constipation, coconut oil has healthy saturated fats to improve the dog's coat and skin health.
Additionally, it has lauric acid that gives it antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties to help strengthen the dog's gut health and immune system.
These fruits can be enjoyed more often than others because they are low glycemic. They are mostly packed with vitamins and fibre, and a dog can be given treats in frozen or fresh forms.
Also, they have refreshing antioxidant properties to help the dog cool down during the summer.
These fruits offer the best oral health for dogs with a few daily slices that help freshen their breath and clean their teeth.
They are rich in fibre and vitamin C and are low glycemic fruits for your pet to enjoy daily without the fear of weight management.
They contain bromelain, an enzyme that reduces systemic inflammation and kills parasites. This helps dogs strengthen the dog's digestive system.
It should, however, be given in moderation because of its high sugar levels. You may consider a few small frozen pieces as treats during summer.
What is the achievement rate of the paleo diet?
Transitioning a dog to a paleo diet can be an easy adjustment since it is primarily biological.
However, it will need gradual, probably two weeks, as drastic changes may lead to upset stomachs, digestive problems, or diarrhoea.
In the first 5-7 days, try mixing the dog's current diet with paleo food as you continuously decrease the amount of the old diet while increasing that of the new diet.
The first paleo diet foods should be easily digestible, meaning they may require pureeing or proper cooking with natural and unprocessed ingredients.
Is a paleo diet suitable for dogs?
Most veterinarians are against raw diets, arguing that it causes dental problems, allergies, autoimmune disease, skin diseases, seizures, and, worst, cancer.
Nevertheless, most canines have been feeding on meat for over a million years.
The problem only arises when you feed your dog raw meat or meaty bones without supplements that provide it with necessary nutrients like vitamins, healthy fats, calcium, minerals, enzymes, and amino acids.
Below are potential benefits that come with feeding your dog a paleo diet:
- Raw meaty bones in the diet scrub, scrap, and floss the dog's teeth, reducing plaque deposits and improving their oral diet
- Bones and meat need extra time to chew, making dogs eat slowly and increasing the production of gastric juices for better digestion.
- Improved and healthier, shiny dog's coat and skin
- Raw food is easily digestible and better tolerated by dogs' immune systems, resolving allergy symptoms.
- Paleo diets provide nourishment to working, show, and high-performance dogs.
- Omega 3s in pasture-fed meat and poultry prevent shortening of telomeres and increase paleo diet anti-aging potential.
- They are rich in protein and low in carbohydrates, perfect for weight management and better insulin metabolism.
- The diet is additive, fillers, chemicals, and preservatives free, therefore healthy and entirely balanced for dogs.
- Paleo diets are more tasty and enhanced in palatability
- Non-starchy vegetables and plant nutrients the dog absorbs have anti-inflammatory properties that help with allergies.
What is harmful about the paleo diet?
A paleo diet is mostly a go-to option for most dog owners, but there are a few drawbacks to it, including:
- As raw meat is its primary food, dogs may be at risk of bacteria and salmonella presence
- It has no specified proportion and amount of food as the diet is primarily home-prepared. This may lead to too much or too little ingredient, leading to an imbalance.
- It fails to provide a high portion of carbohydrates; therefore not appropriate for athletic dogs who need these in plenty.
- It provides an inconvenience during preparation and shelf life. Giving dogs raw food may be uneasy for vegetarian owners, and storage may not retain the food's freshness.
- The paleo diet is more expensive as it is much more nutritional and healthier, so owners must pay the price.
Adding Safe Guard
Adding probiotic supplements to a paleo diet goes a long way as they work by increasing amounts of good bacteria in the dog's gut and improving digestion.
This will also ensure that the dog has the nutrients it needs and that its bowel movement will improve. A healthy GI tract boosts a dog's immune system and reduces the chances of digestive disorders.
Safe Guard Pre+Probiotic has Bacillus Coagulans and Bacillus Genus bacterias, which help with anti-inflammatory issues and improve the gut lining.
Fortunately, dogs can get all the nutrients they need from their paleo diet.
Dog owners only need to gradually transition to this diet, keep in check the types of food to feed, and avoid giving their pets to achieve healthier lifestyles.
It is essential to always consult a vet or vet nutritionist before making sudden changes to your dog's diet for a better adjustment plan.
The dog may risk bacterial infestation, but it may not be a problem as the dog's digestive system may adjust to the bacteria.