Paleo Dog Nutrition . . . Not Exactly the Same as Humans

I am a big fan of dogs. I enjoy spending time with my two mutts (said with the utmost endearment) and watching them interact with their world with instinct as opposed to logically as we as humans do. Having said that, it probably comes as no surprise that I want my animals to eat as close to the way they would have in nature as possible. Of recent, I have been on a recent pursuit of finding the right things for dogs to eat. Sure there are some reasonable foods out there that have been prepared, but this is just not the same as the way our animals would eat if they were in the wild.

Is the State of Pet Healthcare Really that Different than Human?

Paleo Dog Nutrition

Paleo Dog Nutrition

A trip to an emergency vet will get you thinking. No one wants to go to an emergency visit, but unfortunately it happens sometimes. On a recent visit with my female mix, one thing became very clear to me; there are some striking similarities between the healthcare that humans get and that delivered to our furry friends. God bless the vet who was on staff the night my dog started having an unexplained anaphylactic (allergic) reaction. I still to this day am not certain what initiated it, I just know that the vet was great at her job and helped me get control over the immediate inflammation that had occurred. However, for as good of a job as this vet did, my dog still suffers from subtle, not severe skin itching. To help, I tried seemingly numerous options, both conventional and alternative. If the treatment was reasonable and did not impose harm, we tried it. This allergen free food, that round of allergy shots, this supplement cocktail, etc. Nothing seemed to make a significant difference expect going to pure, raw food.

The Frustration of a Pet Store

Having narrowed down the list of reasons that may have triggered my dog’s immune reaction, I decided to spend some time in the dog food aisle attempting to find the cleanest food I could find. What I found instead was disappointment that turned to anger. The dog food industry is as crooked as the human food industry. Maybe even more so since domesticated animals are mostly defenseless. The ingredients I found should never be consumed by a dog and they would not be except for the fact that they have been enhanced with flavors. Since dogs use their noses extensively, stimulating that region in the brain with smells tells them to eat.

The ingredients I found include, but were not limited to, grains, canola oil and alfalfa, just to name a few. The problem with grains is just as severe in dogs as it is in humans. None of the canola showed that it was from a non-GMO source and since the alfalfa was not defined as organic on any label, one has to assume that it is not. This means that it was sprayed with Roundup, most of which stays in the plant at the time of harvesting and is then ingested by dogs. In a nutshell, it is slowly poisoning an animal. What else is wrong? I was not able to find the source of any of the meats. Not one bag actually listed the meat source. It would state the type of meat; chicken, fish, beef, but not the origin of it. I could continue, but I won’t. So this does not leave many options for food choices.

What Paleo Dog Nutrition Should Look Like

A study of our canine friends will teach us that they are not completely carnivores, although mostly. They do have an herbivore side to them as well.  Therefore, Paleo dog nutrition is mostly a protein, or meat, based diet. I have enjoyed turning my dogs loose in the woods only to watch them come back having taken and dined on some small quarry that they caught. It is a natural instinct for them. However, it also amuses me when we are walking that they will like the grasses and start nipping at them. They also seem to rather enjoy a few fresh vegetables as well.

Duck patty and asparagus

Paleo Dog Eating Duck patty and asparagus

With more meat based options becoming available such as raw patties, it is becoming easier to support the health of our canine friends. I like to make their food or use the patties and supplement with safe vegetables and fruits. Here are just a few that I have found to be safe from researching.

Fruits: apples, apricots, bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, mango, orange, pear, pineapple, raspberries, strawberries and watermelons

Vegetables: asparagus, bell pepper, carrots, celery, cucumber, green beans, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potato

Stopping the Cause of Pet Diseases

Just like humans, chronic pet diseases are on the rise. Who would have thought that diabetes and hypothyroidism would be things that we would be talking about in the canine population? What almost seems crazy, but it is now a reality. As the food of humans has continued to stray further from the original sources and methods of gathering, so too has the increase in human diseases, especially those related to immune dysfunction. Therefore, it is no surprise that the shift in the diet of dogs may equally be responsible for the shift towards increased diseases. Maybe the time has come to consider Paleo dog nutrition as an initial approach to the well-being of our animals.

Please note, by writing this I make no claims of being an animal nutrition expert.  However, I am observant and an informed pet owner.

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