Paleo diet friendly pet food animals dogs cat grain free-min

Paleo Pet Food

I'm looking after some dogs at the moment, in the owners home. I'd assumed animal nutrition – Pet Food – would be difficult to get wrong – but I couldn't have been more incorrect with that assumption.

Surely dogs are supposed to eat raw meat? That would make a lot of sense, as in the wild what else would they eat?

The tins of dog food we've been left contain the following ingredients:
Meat including chicken, beef, lamb and pork; vegetables; vegetable protein; pasta; vegetable oil; cereal; gelling agents; gluten; vitamins & minerals; vegetable fibre; flavours; colouring agents.
Looking at some other brands of Pet Food, these certainly aren't the worst either.

We've also been instructed to boil up pasta and add it to the food to keep the weight of the dogs down. This is, apparently, on instruction of the vet. I can't think of a single good reason to give animals pasta.

Sadly as these aren't my dogs I can't change their menu, but it has made me wonder how different the dogs would be on a different diet – and what the ingredients in their food is doing to them?

Have you got dogs, cats or other pets? What Pet Food do you feed them? I'd love to hear what happened if you changed their diets to a more natural way of eating.

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37 replies
  1. Pammie
    Pammie says:

    Wow, it makes such a difference what they eat! I looked after my sisters dog, for a year, (whilst she was ill). Her dog was so overweight to start with, was allowed to eat, anything and everything! As I had no idea where to start ( I’d never had anything to do with dogs before).
    I went to the library and read all I could, so exercise and diet were my focus. After a year I handed back the dog to my sister it looked fitter younger and healthy. (no tinned stuff or rubbish allowed)

  2. melissa
    melissa says:

    I have just recently started making my own dog and cat food after 15 years. One dog recently developed glucoma and the other dog got an infecting in his bottom and the vet advised to feed a diet of chicken and rice. I had never thought much of their diet before this. After 2 weeks i stopped the rice and added veggies to the meat as i figure the meat we buy in the supermarkets here wouldn’t be as nutritionally dense as the wild meat they would have caught themselves. They (2 maltese terriers and one cat) have been on the diet now for a month. The infection had cleared and i am interested to see if this makes any improvement to the other dogs eye sight. Fingers crossed

  3. Jane
    Jane says:

    I found with one of my dogs mood was strongly affected by any changes in diet. (Got really ‘bad tempered’) If I tried to cut down on meat.

  4. Megan
    Megan says:

    My cat always licked, sometimes to the point of bald patches especially on her belly and back legs.
    Different vets over the years always said it was a flea allergy causing her to lick, despite never seeing a flea on her and religiously using the flea treatments from the vets that you squirt on the back of their neck. Some said it might a neurotic thing (like biting fingernails). If it got really bad she would have to have a hydrocortisone injection. She also had to have a few teeth out when she was around 7yrs old, and then when she was 14 she had the rest of them out (excluding her fangs and the wee small front teeth).
    She was fed mainly on Royal Canin or similar expensive brand biscuits from the vets.

    After I went grain free, I started looking at her food and it just didnt make sense to feed her grain based food either – she’s a cat! a carnivore!
    So I found the Orijen brand of grain free cat biscuits, and Wow what a difference!
    About 2 months after cutting out the grain based stuff, all her hair on her belly had grown back! She hasnt had a bald patch since, no more obsessive licking.
    Flea allergy? hmmph! more like grain allergy causing itching.
    She’s now at the point after being grain free for a year where she doesnt even want the Orijen biscuits, she just wants raw chicken breast, minced meat, salmon etc.
    She hasnt been to the vet in 2 years, is healthy with a shiny coat, is 1.5kg lighter, and people just dont believe she is 16-17yrs old!

    Sure its more expensive then the supermarket or vet brands, but I’m sure if she had been raw fed her whole life she would still have her teeth and wouldnt have had a single bald patch.
    Any animals I have in my life from now on will be raw fed.

  5. Emma
    Emma says:

    I had a dog and a cat when I was growing up and the dog got raw kangaroo meat and grated veggies (zucchini and carrot usually) and the cat just got raw kangaroo and occasionally some raw fish and they both lived to very old ages.

    It really bothers me to see some of the crap that pets get fed, they’re animals, they shouldn’t be eating anything from a packet/tin!

  6. Suzanna
    Suzanna says:

    Otto, the cat, gets grain free Wellness wet food. I’m hoping to transition him to a homemade recipe soon. I don’t want to feed him crap I won’t eat. Poor pasta dogs!

  7. Jillm
    Jillm says:

    A famous Australian vet visited the owners of an obese dog. He gave them lots of advice including add grated carrots to the food. Dogs in the wild don’t eat carrots.

    • Jac
      Jac says:

      But they would if they could find them. My dog beats me to the mushrooms growing on the lawn, the fruit that falls of the trees, and digs up and eats flower bulbs.
      Feeding dogs and cats real food is great but you must make sure the composition of their diet reflects what they would have eaten if they caught/scavenged it themselves – that means you need to include offal and bones, too, not just muscle. Dave’s diet (below) sounds pretty good!

      • Dave
        Dave says:

        Jac, correct – the breeder we bought our Staffy from gave us some great information on feeding, but i was not comfortable feeding her just muscle meat. Dogs would not have eaten just muscle meat – if they kill something they eat the whole lot; bones, organs and everything.

        We bought some cheap “dog meat” from the butcher but she threw it straight up – I think the fat content was too high. The chicken carcasses we get are perfect. They are the leftover frame of the chicken after they take the wings, drumsticks and breasts off. They are mostly bones, trace left overs of meat and fat…and about $3 for a kilo bag that lasts us 3 days. We actually also do throw her the occasional carrot or bits of broccoli to give her some variety, but by far the base of her diet is raw meaty bones.

        If anyone is interested in feeding your pets like this, check out Web site is by an Australian Vet called Tom Lonsdale. He also wrote a book of the same name. We got a lot of our info from this site. Great source of info.

    • Mel
      Mel says:

      You’re right, they probably wouldn’t eat a carrot in the wild, but they would eat the stomachs of the animals that they caught and those stomachs would contain the foods that had been eaten.

  8. Dave
    Dave says:

    We have a 17 year old Maltese cross who we have fed canned food her whole life. Still going strong…go figure! 17 years ago when she was born we didn’t know better. However, 12 months ago we got ourselves a new puppy – a beautiful Staffy. This time around we did our research. We ONLY feed her raw meaty bones – mostly chicken carcasses (you can get at Woolworths by the kilo), chicken wings and cans of sardines. She is thriving, her coat is amazingly shiny (everyone comments how shiny she is!!), she has none of that “dog smell”, fresh breath, and she’s satisfied because she actually has to CHEW her food! I can’t imagine why you would feed a dog any other way.

      • Dave
        Dave says:

        Well…sort of. The Staffy will eat ANYTHING 🙂 , and always finishes off scraps of whatever the old dame hasn’t eaten. But the old one now eats raw chicken necks. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks. I swear, since the older one has started eating more raw meat and bones she’s had a new lease on life. She’s now looking at us saying…”when are we going for a walk?!”. She hasn’t done that in years! It’s really quite bizarre.

        On the other hand, if you think about it, it’s sort of along the same lines with what’s happening with humans when they adopt a diet that is more in tune with their evolutionary heritage.

  9. LB
    LB says:

    We have an almost 2 year old Australian Shepherd and since he was born he has only eaten a diet of raw meat including bone and organs. We also try to add kelp and some veggies. He is very happy, healthy and full of energy. Although it is very time consuming because we portion and prepare all his meals ourselves I think it will have a huge impact on his health in the long term.

  10. Nikki
    Nikki says:

    We have two mixed breed dogs. Both will eat anything you throw out the door.

    Broccoli, pumpkin skin, cabbage stalks, etc. It doesn’t bother them. They also get our leftovers if they get a bit old for us as well as bones from the butcher. They usually get biscuits for breakfast through the week as it is easier and the rest is while we are cooking or weekend mornings.

    They are 2 of the healthiest dogs you have ever seen. Super shiny coats, tons of energy.

  11. Mel
    Mel says:

    Until recently (i.e. when I started on the paleo diet a couple of months ago) I was feeding my dog better than myself. She gets raw meaty bones every day as well as muscle meat, fish, offal, eggs, a small amount of pureed veges and lots of GREEN TRIPE (she really loves tripe nights!). She is very healthy, with no doggie odour or bad breath (except on sardine night). Now I can say that we are both eating (and thriving on) the food that our bodies were designed for!
    Unfortunately, the pet food companies have brainwashed the majority of vets into advocating totally artificial food for pets. No wonder their clinics are full of sick animals!

  12. Debra Handra
    Debra Handra says:

    Not sure you should be supplementing a dog food with pasta, however can’t really hurt.

    My dogs eat Sunshine Farms Grain-free dog food and are doing very well on it. Made with duck and sweet potato and never had weight issues. Perhaps, pet owners need to start paying more attention to labels. Your dog should be eating a mostly meat protein diet. Lots of fillers, i.e, corn, rice and wheat aren’t good for him.


  13. Victoria
    Victoria says:

    There has been a new kick for feeding your dog raw meats because thats how they consume it in the wild. However, it is not healthier for the pets or the pet owners. Animals in the wild do not just consume the “meat” of the animal, they first consume the insides (intestines, liver, heart, etc), which are where most of the nutrients lie. When feeding your dog a diet of just raw meat, you can cause some serious deficiencies. There have also been studies done to show that although the raw meat has no adverse effect on the pets, feeding raw meat to your pets increased the likelihood of having pathogenic bacteria present in their feces. Since humans are the ones cleaning up after their dogs, these bacteria can spread and are more likely to make the owners sick, especially if there are kids in the house that put things in their mouths and don’t wash their hands. It seems counter intuitive to feed your pets processed foods when you are not consuming them but pet food companies are designed to create diets for your pets that have all the correct nutrients in them. This goes for cats, as well.

  14. Nicole McPherson
    Nicole McPherson says:

    This makes me so mad/sad. When I got a cat last year I was shocked at the amount of crap in most pet foods. We have tried to go with at least some raw meat every week (liver, lamb fat or raw chicken seem to go down well!) and otherwise we go with Lily’s Organics brand here in the UK, which doesn’t have any nasties in it. We also supplement with a very small amount of organic grain free dry food for teeth health.

    I don’t think many people understand the risks of not feeding their pets a completely ‘wet’ diet also – I understand this may be financially or otherwise unaccessible to everyone, but minimising dry food where possible has been shown to boost kidney health in later years.

    Thanks for the post! 🙂

  15. Ingrid
    Ingrid says:

    My dogs were always raised on Science Diet on recommendation from the vet. They were all long lived and healthy animals so really can’t fault the product, it’s just expensive. A couple of years ago I acquired a 5 year old chihuahua whose teeth were in such bad condition most of them had to be removed for her to be able to eat. She had a devil of a job to chew her kibble so I started to cook her meals of beef and chicken mince with loads of vegies and coconut oil and rice or pasta but deleted the pasta and rice as theyreally have no nutritional value. She loved her cooked meals. We recently added a Weimeraner pup to our family. The breeder raises his dogs and pups on the BARF diet. Raw meaty bones, offal, vegies, probiotics, eggs, good oils, you name it! All healthy food we eat ourselves, so into to production mode we went. He’s growing so rapidly and has hollow legs so we spend a fair amount of time in the kitchen making huge batches of food to fill the freezer. We mince the steak and offal, smash up chicken necks, ferment whatever vegies are seasonal, using lots of greens. Add the eggs, flaxseed oil, yoghurt and anything else we can think of. Any bones from the meat we can’t grind are given during the day. The pup also gets a dollop on top of extra yoghurt or bone broth and the Chi gets grated cheese or bone broth, she doesn’t like yoghurt. She likes her new diet, although she doesn’t eat as much as she used to, it seems to satisfy her earlier and her long coat is softer. It’s a lot of work but I think it’s worth it. A couple of books by Australian vet, Dr Ian Billinghurst ‘Give Your Dog a Bone’ and ‘The BARF Diet’ are a good resource.


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