In many ways cats and dogs already lead the ideal lifestyle in many people’s opinions. They don’t have jobs, or mortgages and for the most part don’t even have to deal with the hassles of kids too often. They sleep whenever they like and someone else waits on them hand and foot and provides their meals without them having to lift a finger – well a paw anyway.
However, the one thing that Fluffy and Fido cannot escape without their pet parents help is the fact that a lot of modern, mass produced pet food is as bad for them as modern, processed foods are for their humans.
The fact that pet obesity is increasing at an alarming rate and many cats and dogs are developing diabetes at younger ages than ever before can, in part many feel, be attributed to the fact that their food is not exactly meeting the dietary needs they were ‘wired’ for. Therefore, and you already saw where I am going with this no doubt, your furry friends can actually benefit from joining the Paleo revolution as well.
Kitty and Puppy Chow Paleo Style
The one general ‘rule of thumb’ when shopping for human Paleo friendly foods is that you keep well away from the center aisles of a grocery store because that is always where all of the processed foods you are supposed to be avoiding are. It is also where you will find the dog and cat food which is, unfortunately, as full of grains, legumes, additives and other chemically ‘stuff’ as a lot of the processed foods designed for humans is.
Both cats and dogs should eat a meat based diet. In fact, a cat put on a ‘vegetarian diet’ will likely die, because their unique body systems need certain amino acids that can only be found in meat. Dogs on the other hand are basically omnivores so they benefit from a diet that contains both meats and vegetables.
So how do you translate these needs in Paleo terms? Raw meat is the obvious starting point. Some people are afraid to feed their pet’s raw meat because they worry about E Coli. The fact is though that cats and dogs are ‘designed’ to eat raw meat and have a digestive system that minimizes that risk. However, if you have the time there’s nothing wrong with cooking Fido’s meat at the same time as your own I suppose!
In terms of non-meats there are certainly human Paleo foods that dogs should not eat – especially nuts and avocados – but they will benefit from other fresh vegetables. As for cats, being fairly finicky creatures it is unlikely that they will be willing to touch the stuff but you could always give it a try!
Like kids, your pets should be switched to Paleo gradually. At each meal increase the amount of Paleo food and decrease the amount of processed foods, watching out of course for any adverse reactions.
Getting Over the Sticker Shock.
Good food costs more. This is simply an unfortunate fact in today’s economy and it applies to Paleo food for pets as much as it does for humans so there will be some initial ‘sticker shock’ to get over when switching your pets to a Paleo diet.
As is the case for your own meals though there are ways to save money. Organ meats are one inexpensive option (simply because most American humans don’t like them) and these are full of great nutrients. You will also save if you buy grass fed ground beef in bulk (for both you and your pet)
So What are the Benefits?
People who have switched their pets to Paleo report similar benefits to humans. Far fewer digestive and gastro problems, a shinier coat, increased energy and in chubby pets, noticeable weight loss. Some owners even say that age related arthritic conditions improved when they switched the older pets to a Paleo diet.
A ‘Paleo Pet’ offers benefits for their human too. Hundreds of research studies have found that pet ownership seriously reduces stress and a livelier, healthier, more energetic pet is not only lots more fun to be around but will also live longer to enrich your life and, by keeping your stress levels down, help you live longer as well!
Bio: Jennifer Smith is nutrition trainer and beauty blogger who has a special interest in paleo diet, healthy lifestyle and hair growth. You can find her latest articles on hairspiration.net, facebook page or pinterest