Trendy Paleo Could Make Pets Sick. Pardon?
An article on NPR’s website, asks whether a ‘trendy diet could be making dogs sick’.
Guess what ‘trend’ they were referring to?
Yes, the brand- new, never been tried before, Paleo regime.
Right. Because it hasn’t been around for 2.5 million years?
After the initial visceral, skeptical response I experienced by the title, I carried on to read what the premise might be.
One vet stated in the article, “There are two issues with raw pet food diets…many are not nutritionally balanced for pets … and there’s also the public health issue.“
Fair enough on the first point. I am certainly not an animal nutrition expert, but it’s not too hard to figure out that dogs and cats in the wild, or rather, their ancestors, would not eat just meat. They’d kill something and eat the whole thing, including the contents of the guts.
I actually saw this with my own eyes; our family dog was a hunter in her own right and when I was little, my dad and I observed on one occasion her hunt, capture and consumption of an entire woodchuck…even the grass within the stomach of the creature.
Ever notice how your dog might exhibit ‘odd’ behavior sometimes, of eating grass? Well, guess why they might be doing that? Chances are, they got into (or were given) something they shouldn’t have consumed, gotten a bit stopped up and then are following their intuition to get some fiber to get things moving again.
Bottom line- just giving your pet plain raw meat isn’t going to cut it. But then, that’s not the Paleo diet.
Moving along to another point in the article which piqued my interest, “…raw food diets are not necessarily more natural, …domestic dogs have evolved to eat more carbs because they have evolved along with humans.“
OK, maybe so; again, I am not going to claim to be an expert on canine evolution, however I will comment that why must these carbs come from the grains that infiltrate so many pet foods, even the most premium (read – expensive) brands that you might find at your vet’s office?
I’m an athlete, and and I’m Paleo and guess what I eat when preparing for long endurance activity! Yam.
And guess what we feed our fifteen year old Weimaraner as part of her balanced, raw diet? A concoction made of ground beef, offal and….sweet potatoes along with fish oil, antioxidants and some assorted natural enzymes provided by her vet.
I hardly think it’s a coincidence that Daisy is about to turn fifteen, given the fact that she’s a retired endurance athlete who is Paleo.
“In 2012, the American Veterinary Medical Association adopted a policy discouraging raw food diets for pets.”
Hmm… this sounds familiar. What other organization can you think of that discourages what is essentially a natural, real food based approach to eating (read: Paleo), in this case for humans, that could potentially serve to gain by not providing all the information in the interest of achieving higher sales?
“Still, advocates say raw food is closer to the way animals would eat in the wild. Dogs are carnivores; they’re not meant to eat grains that are found in most commercial pet food products.”
Couldn’t agree more. Dogs don’t need to eat zero-nutrition quality, inflammatory fillers that make them sick, fat and develop ‘allergies’ any more than we do.
Finally, the article concludes with, “ feeding raw and feeding dogs people food are unlikely to make much of a dent in the commercial dog food market anytime soon. Sales of dry dog food have been increasing for the past 13 years, from a $5 billion market in 2000 to a $9 billion market in 2013, according to the Pet Food Institute.”
Great. Just like the sugar industry. Sales keep growing, people keep getting addicted and being told that ‘it’s ok’ and false information continues to be presented.
Do yourself, and your pets a favor. Learn about giving them a balanced food plan, whether you make it yourself or purchase it from a good, local source, and give them the gift of health and a lifetime of well being… rather than waiting for them to develop a dull coat, allergies and worse… cancer, and then trying to fix it.
Why make them suffer from what could be prevented all along?
Just like for dogs- serve them real food and get them moving.
True Paleo is not dangerous for pets. “Raw meat only” is not True Paleo. Period.