One of the recent trends for feeding pets is the Paleo diet. It is a diet that tries to mimic the main ingredients of meals eaten during the Paleolithic or Stone Age when people were still hunting and gathering food for sustenance. Given the popularity of this diet in humans, the proponents of the Paleo diet for pets assume that animals would enjoy the same meals and benefits that benefited our ancestors.
Another would be the Prey Model Raw (PMR) Diet. The PMR diet is one of the many raw diet types suitable for dogs and cats and can be accomplished in two different feeding methods.
There are, however, pet owners who have second thoughts about placing their dogs and cats on a Paleo diet. First, it is mostly made up of raw food, and a diet that works wells with humans may not necessarily benefit dogs as they have different nutritional needs. Here are some important things you should know about the Paleo diet so you can make an educated and well-informed decision regarding your pet’s nutritional needs.
In PMR the concept is to feed the entire animal, head to tail, leaving no waste. Whole prey is the entire animal with fur or feathers, organs, glands, blood, and intestinal tract intact. Wild whole prey is an ideal source of food for PMR diets. However, domesticated prey animals can be fed as well.
The recommended guidelines for a PMR diet is 75-80% muscle meat, 10% raw edible bone, 5% liver, 5% other secreting organs, and 0-5% animal based fiber. Franken Prey is another term used for raw feeders who follow PMR ratio guidelines but do not feed whole, intact prey animals.
If you feel squeamish about a Prey Model Raw diet, try for a freeze-dried raw diet instead.
The Paleo diet is also called the caveman die or hunter-gatherer die. Its main components include meats, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. The diet has no place for grains, dairy, and processed food. For dogs and cats, a Paleo diet is composed of meat and bones, which can be either cooked or raw. The natural diet is an excellent source of fiber, beneficial microorganisms, and protein. It does away with carbohydrates that most pets don’t have much need of. As for fruits and vegetables, both can be offered raw or cooked. Steaming or pureeing pre-digests veggies and breaks down the plant cell walls and makes it easier to digest. Since dogs are not obligate carnivores, they can utilize essential nutrients from these foods. But for cats, almost all fruits as well as starch-rich vegetables should be avoided.
Tips to remember when adding vegetables to your pet’s diet
Ideally, ingredients of a Paleo diet should be organic. Meat should be from livestock that is grass-fed or pasture-raised, and/or sourced locally. The closer your pet’s diet is to the natural diet of its ancestors, the better.
To complement the healthy food, pets on a Paleo diet should also live the Paleo lifestyle; it’s what experts refer to as grounding or earthing. It includes training, physical activity, adequate rest, reducing exposure to stressors, avoiding toxic chemicals in the environment, and spending time in the great outdoors.
With all its benefits, the Paleo diet also has its downsides. Some of these include the following:
With the continued popularity of the Paleo diet in pets, manufacturers of commercial pet food products have formulated special rations that contain biologically-approved raw foods that offer several health benefits for pets. Some of the most popular include Absolute Holistic Air Dried food for cats and dogs.
If you are thinking about switching your pet’s diet to Paleo, it is recommended that you consult with a veterinarian or pet nutritionist to ensure that your pet will have a complete and balanced diet. Also, the new diet should be introduced gradually to your pet to give time for the animal’s system to get used to it and to avoid digestive upsets and adverse reactions.