What is a Paleo Diet for Pets?
A paleo diet for pets means a diet consisting of foods that your pet is biologically designed to eat, which means no grains, legumes, starchy vegetables, dairy, refined sugar or chemical additives. Paleo pet food contains only animal protein and added vitamins and minerals.
Like the human diet, pet food has drastically evolved in the last 70 years—and some trends are bound to come and go, but a paleo diet is most likely here to stay.
Conventional Pet Food Dangers
Conventional kibble and wet food might contain inexpensive grains and carbohydrates such as corn, wheat, soy, oatmeal or rice to reduce the cost of producing the food and bind the protein source together. “These grains are cheap and economical,” says Will Post, Founder and CEO of Hound & Gatos, a high-quality paleo pet food company. “When you look at all the processed and commercial foods nowadays, it’s almost all carbs.”
These grains are often genetically modified and grown with conventional farming standards, including the heavy use of pesticides. Conventional kibble can also contain artificial colors and flavors, preservatives, and other food-grade chemicals. The process of creating kibble can strip otherwise wholesome ingredients of their nutritional values.
Grain-free dog food or grain-free cat food doesn’t use these inexpensive, lower quality binders, but that doesn’t mean these options are paleo. In many grain-free dog food or cat food options, you’ll find ingredients such as potato, peas or lentils in addition to protein sources. While there are benefits to avoiding grains, this type of kibble is typically still mainly carbohydrates.
The problem with using these ingredients is that a cat or dog’s body has no nutritional requirement for carbohydrates at all. “Dogs and cats were created to eat meat, not rice and grains,” says Post.
Because your pet’s body is not designed to process grains or carbohydrates, a lifelong diet that contains these foods can lead to health issues. All carbohydrates, no matter what the type, ultimately break down into sugar, which feeds obesity, cancer, arthritis and more. Foods that contain artificial ingredients and low-quality grains can cause systemic inflammation, triggering conditions such as diabetes in dogs and kidney disease in dogs, according to Post.
Poor diet can also trigger inflammatory bowel disease, the symptoms of which include chronic alterations between diarrhea and constipation. A dog or cat suffering from inflammatory bowel disease may experience pain, bloating and vomiting; it may also interfere with your pet’s ability to absorb key nutrients.
A poor diet can also cause your cat or dog to develop food sensitivities or allergies. Symptoms include skin irritation, chronic ear and skin infections, and gastrointestinal troubles, such as vomiting and diarrhea. Food sensitivities can also trigger chronic pain, systematic inflammation and weight gain.
Is Paleo Right for Your Pet?
“Going back to the ancient times where we ate basic meat and vegetables, and no commercial foods or processed foods, I believe it was a lot healthier” for both humans and pets, says Post. To give your pet the best diet possible, go paleo for pets and ditch the grain-packed kibble laden with chemicals, artificial flavors and colors, and a myriad of preservatives. Switching to a diet focused on wholesome protein may reduce the risk of chronic health problems and improve the quality of life in your dog or cat.
Following the ancestrally appropriate paleo diet, Hound & Gatos food focuses on quality protein sources with vitamins and minerals, with no added carbohydrates or artificial preservatives. “With a paleo diet, pets are eating what they were created to consume,” explains Post. “We offer 100% meat diets.”
Your cat will love Hound & Gatos Lamb, Chicken & Salmon Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food, a wet food made from lamb, chicken and salmon. This wet food contains absolutely no plant protein and is free of soy, grains, glutens or artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. Hound & Gatos Trout Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food is another high-quality option; this canned food is made from trout and duck liver.
Due to the rich protein and water content, these Hound & Gatos canned cat foods can help prevent conditions like feline kidney disease and feline inflammatory bowel disease.
For man’s best friend, Hound & Gatos offers a variety of paleo dog foods. Hound & Gatos Chicken & Chicken Liver Formula Grain-Free Canned Dog Food is made from home-style chicken as the single-protein source. Hound & Gatos Salmon & Lamb Liver Formula Grain-Free Canned Dog Food is made from Pacific Northwest salmon as its single protein source. Both varieties are free from soy, grains and gluten and contain no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. Both are hypoallergenic to help reduce the risk of canine inflammatory bowel disease, canine gastritis, diabetes in dogs, kidney disease in dogs, and other conditions caused by poor diet. All you’ll find in each can is the nutrition your four-legged best friend needs to live a long and happy life!
Transition Your Pet to Paleo
Pets thrive on a paleo diet, but that doesn’t mean you can quickly switch over from conventional kibble. Sudden changes in diet can result in digestive issues, so introduce any new food slowly by mixing it with your fur baby’s current food for the first 7-10 days. Each day, decrease the amount of the old food and increase the portion of the new paleo cat food or dog food.