“Paleo For Dogs? Vets Say Trendy Diet Could Make Humans Sick”

An article on NPR’s website [1], asked whether a ‘trendy diet could be making dogs sick’.

One vet stated in the article, “There are two issues with raw pet food diets…many are not nutritionally balanced for pets … and there’s also the public health issue.“

Fair enough on the first point; wild cats or wolves would not eat just meat, they’d kill something and eat the whole thing, including the contents of the guts.

So while letting your pet consume plain raw meat isn’t going to cut it, this in and of itself is not the Paleo Diet® anyway.

Another point in the article which piqued my interest was, “raw food diets are not necessarily more natural for canines and domestic dogs have evolved to eat more carbs because they have evolved along with humans.“

But must this translate to giving our four-legged friends corn- and wheat-based kibble and treats; the ingredients so commonly found in the food we buy, even the most premium versions at vet offices?

I couldn’t help but to take a peek at a can on the shelf at my vet’s office only to see an ingredient panel [3] eight lines long:

Water, Chicken, Beef, Beef By-Products, Pork Liver, Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, Whole Grain Corn, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken Liver Flavor, Soybean Oil, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Iodized Salt, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Ascorbic Acid (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid), L-Lysine, minerals (Zinc Oxide, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate), Iron Oxide color, Beta-Carotene.

Corn? Rice? Soybean Oil?

And many brands get far worse than that.

With pets eating store-bought food such as these, it’s no surprise that over half the pets in the US are overweight [3] and are developing a canine version of leaky gut.

The article continued, “In 2012, the American Veterinary Medical Association adopted a policy discouraging raw food diets for pets.”

This is all too familiar; what other organization can you think of that discourages what is essentially a natural, real food based approach to eating (as in Paleo,) in this case for humans, that could potentially serve to gain by not providing all the information in the interest of achieving higher sales?

“Still, advocates say raw food is closer to the way animals would eat in the wild. Dogs are carnivores; they’re not meant to eat grains that are found in most commercial pet food products.”

Couldn’t agree more. Dogs don’t need to eat zero-nutrition quality, inflammatory fillers that make them sick, fat, and develop ‘allergies’ any more than we do.

Finally, the article concludes with, “feeding raw and feeding dogs people food are unlikely to make much of a dent in the commercial dog food market anytime soon. Sales of dry dog food have been increasing for the past 13 years, from a $5 billion market in 2000 to a $9 billion market in 2013, according to the Pet Food Institute.”

Great. Just like the sugar industry. Sales keep growing, people keep getting addicted and being told that ‘it’s okay,’ and false information continues to be presented.

Do yourself, and your pets a favor. Learn about giving them a balanced food plan, whether you make it yourself or purchase it from a good, local source, and give them the gift of health and a lifetime of well being, rather than waiting for them to develop a dull coat, allergies and worse: cancer, and then trying to fix it.

A great resource to learning all you need to know about providing real food options for your dog can be found in Dr. Pitcairn’s Book [4], Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats.

Why make them suffer from what could be prevented all along?

It’s the same for dogs as it is with humans: serve them real food and get them moving!



(1)  https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/05/27/312188167/paleo-for-dogs-vets-say-trendy-diet-could-make-humans-sick

(2)  “Hill’s® Science Diet® Adult Chicken & Beef Entree – Canned.” Hill’s Pet Nutrition. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2016

(3)  “More than Half of U.S. Pets Are Overweight or Obese, Survey Finds.” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2016

(4)  Pitcairn, Richard H., and Susan Hubble. Pitcairn. Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats. Emmaus, PA: Rodale, 2005. Print


About Nell Stephenson, B.S.

Nell Stephenson, B.S.Nell Stephenson is a competitive Ironman athlete, personal trainer, and a health and nutrition consultant. She has an exercise science degree from the University of Southern California, a health/fitness instructor certification from the American College of Sports Medicine, and over a decade in the health, fitness and nutrition industry. To support her training for the Ironman Triathlon, Nell has tried many different nutritional plans and has found that the Paleo Diet is superior to all other ways of eating. She’s found that she’s leaner, faster, and fitter than ever before and uses her own experience to teach clients how to achieve optimal nutrition and health. Visit her website at paleoista.com. Download meal plans tailored to you here.

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“2” Comments

  1. My German Shepherd is on a raw diet (muscle meat, organs, bone) and has been since a pup – he’s going to be 9 this year is in perfect health – he was allergic to Standard Dog food diets – within 8 hours of going raw no more digestive issues – and Cats are obligate carnivores they are supposed to only eat meat/organs – I don ‘t get the way most folks think.

  2. Maybe they consider “raw food diet” one and the same with an “animal food diet”? My dog will not eat raw animal products. Everything medium rare. I refuse to buy the grain/corn based food anymore.

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