Dog foods tend to follow the same trends as people foods. One diet that has become very popular for its health benefits is the paleo diet. The paleo diet tries to mimic what our ancestors would have eaten in the wild. A paleo dog diet does the same. So should you consider a paleo diet for your dog? If so, what dog food brands can be eaten on a paleo diet? We’ve put together a guide to help you understand the paleo diet for dogs and recommend some of the best paleo diet dog food brands on the market.
What Is A Paleo Diet?
A paleo diet tries to mimic the eating habits of our ancestors. A paleo diet consists mainly of lean proteins, fresh vegetables and fruits, and nuts and seeds. The paleo diet does not contain any highly processed foods and limits dairy and grain. A paleo diet for dogs follows the same basic guidelines focusing on a meat heavy diet with lots of vegetables and minimal processing. Some dog food brands fit the paleo requirements without necessarily being labeled as paleo.
How Can A Paleo Diet Help My Dog?
Paleo diets are extremely healthy for dogs because they do not contain any of the highly processed foods or additives that have no nutritional value for your dog. A paleo diet can have a lot of healthy benefits for your dog including:
- Enhanced immune function
- Improved energy
- Shiner coat and healthier skin
- Alleviates chronic and metabolic disease
- Reduces allergic reactions
- Better digestion
What Are The Downsides Of A Paleo Diet For Dogs?
The biggest issue with a paleo diet for dogs is the cost. Paleo diets are much more expensive, especially if done as a raw foods diet. There is also some concern that the paleo diet does not contain enough carbohydrates which is great for energy and especially important for active or senior dogs. Also dogs benefit from a complex nutritional profile, so limiting the variety of foods your dog eats may deplete them of essential nutrients. So if you’ve decided to implement a paleo diet for your dog, you need to make sure that everything you are feeding them is well balanced and nutritionally dense.
Paleo Dog Food Resources
Most paleo diets are raw foods diets and there are several veterinarians that have put together comprehensive diet plans for your dog. Here are two of the most popular resources to learn more about a raw foods paleo diet:
Paleo dog was written by two holistic veterinarians Dr. Jean Hofve and Dr. Celeste Yarnell and explores the benefits of a paleo diet for dogs. The book outlines the risks associated with processed dog foods and the health problems facing our dogs. Then it provides information essential nutritional requirements of a paleo dog diet and includes several recipes for paleo dog food. Check it out on Amazon here.
Dr James C. Coghlan is a holistic veterinarian who has been designing paleo diets for dogs since 1996. In his book Paleopet, Dr. Coghlan outlines the dangers of excessive starch in processed dog foods and creates a simple, nutritionally-dense paleo diet plan for any dog owner. Check it out on Amazon here.
Best Paleo Dog Foods
If you are looking to implement a paleo diet without transitioning your dog onto a raw foods diet, there are plenty of natural dog food brands that have created recipes that follow the basic tenets of a paleo diet. Here are some of the best paleo-friendly dog foods on the market:
Orijen Tundra is a great dry dog food for a paleo diet because it follows the basic tenets of what your dog would eat in the wild. It is made with a mix of game meats including venison, bison, elk, duck, quail, and steelhead trout with whole vegetables, fruits, and wild herbs. It contains no fillers, unnecessary starches, and is freeze-dried so it is not heavily processed. All of the ingredients used in Orijen dog food is sourced locally in Canada and this is widely known as one of the top dog food brands today.
Merrick backcountry is also very paleo-friendly because it mimics the big game meats wolves would hunt in the wild. It’s made with lamb, buffalo, and venison and does not contain grain, wheat, corn or soy. The food is also minimally-processed as the kibble is freeze-dried raw. Feeding a freeze-dried raw food diet is quickly becoming a favorite alternative over pure raw dog food diets due to convenience, cleanliness, and fewer chances of health issues. While freeze-dried raw food does not deliver the same amount of nutrients as a pure raw food diet, it is still much higher quality than dry kibbles.
Sojos Wild Free-Range is a great option for dog owners who want to feed their dog a paleo raw foods diet but do not have the time to make all the food from scratch. Sojos is made with wild boar, whole vegetables and fruits, and is grain and gluten free. Sojos is a dehydrated raw food that you add water to create a fresh, raw paleo-friendly diet. As with freeze-dried raw foods, this type of food is not quite as nutritious as a true raw based diet, but it is far more convenient and is also far better than traditional dry kibbles.
Grandma Lucy’s Pureformance is another great kibble for a paleo dog diet. It’s made primarily with goat and whole fruits and vegetables. It is also grain free, soy free, and filler free and like the other paleo options it is minimally processed. Grandma Lucy’s is a smaller company but is quickly becoming a favorite among a cult-like following. While not readily available at most big box grocery stores, this dog food can be found online or in boutique pet food stores.
The paleo diet for your dog can be a really healthy option. It has numerous benefits, but it does require some extra work. If you decide to put your dog on a raw foods paleo diet, there are some informative books on the market that can help you ensure you get the best nutrition for your dog. However, if you decide to try a more traditional kibble but want to still follow the tenets of the paleo diet, there are some great dog food brands available. Whatever you decide, a paleo diet is a good option to consider for your dog’s diet.