You’ve heard of the paleo diet. The basic idea is that our bodies have evolved to handle a certain kind of diet. By adopting a diet closer to what our Paleolithic ancestors were eating, our bodies will be healthier. Pet paleo diet follows the same logic. Ditch the kibble—because honestly, when’s the last time you found kibble growing in the wild?—and start feeding your pets the kind of foods their canine or feline ancestors ate. So what exactly does a pet paleo diet look like? Keep reading to find out!
Pet Paleo Diet for Cats
All members of the feline family from your lazy little house cat to that cheetah hurdling across the savannah is an “obligate carnivore”. In other words, they need to eat meat. It’s not just that they prefer to eat it. Their digestive systems literally cannot digest plant matter.
Plant matter won’t kill them, but their bodies won’t be able to break it down and absorb nutrients from it the way our bodies can. In other words, a cat eating vegetables is about the same as a human eating paper. A strict 100% vegetarian diet for a cat would be exactly as nutritious and beneficial as a strict 100% paper diet for a human.
What to Feed Your Cat
Cats need raw meat. They need lots of it and they need all the parts of the animal — organs, gizzards, bones, skin, etc. There are two ways you can feed your cat the diverse pet paleo diet it needs:
- Feeder animals: The absolute easiest way to feed your kitty a pet paleo diet is to let them be the little predator Mother Nature intended. Pet stores sell mice, insects, and feeder fish usually intended for reptiles. However, your kitty will love chasing and chowing down on them, too. To avoid over-running your home with mice or crickets, you’ll want to put your cat in an enclosed area like the bathtub so they can go to town and their prey can’t run free.
- Raw meats: if you’re a bit squeamish about giving your cat living creatures to hunt, you can buy raw meat instead. Make sure to get a varied selection of 80% lean muscle meat, 10% organ meats, and about 10% edible bones. Print out the kitty food pyramid here to keep your cat’s diet balanced.
If you’re going the raw meat route instead of the live animal route, follow the safety tips and advice here. And to make sure your kitty is getting everything she needs every day, check out a sample pet paleo diet plan.
Sample Pet Paleo Diet for Cats
Our sample cat paleo diet includes:
- 3 pounds of whole chicken (or other poultry). This includes the skin, bones, and organs.
- 1 cup of sardines with skin and bones.
- 4 oz. liver if the poultry does not include the organ meats.
- Plenty of water (for drinking).
These ingredients will provide enough food for 10-14 days. Simply divide the ingredients up evenly into 10-14 portions when you buy them. Freeze these portions. If you find that your cat still seems hungry, increase the portion sizes a bit until they are satisfied.
Making the transition to pet paleo diet will give your pint-sized predators a new lease on life. They will be more energetic and more playful. At the same time, they’ll be less aggressive and less temperamental. No wonder cats get a bad rap as being mean! How would you feel being fed dry kibble all your life when what you really want is a big juicy steak?
Pet Paleo Diet for Dogs
Dogs are omnivorous just like humans. They can digest both animal and plant matter. However, a doggy food pyramid would be kind of an upside-down version of the human food pyramid.
That is, a canine in the wild (think wolves, foxes, wild dogs, etc.) eats mostly raw meat and supplements the meat with a bit of plant matter. Humans, on the other hand, should eat mostly fruits and vegetables and supplement that with a bit of meat.
What to Feed your Dog
To keep your dog healthy and happy, you can follow a similar diet as the cat’s recommended diet above. A diverse range of animal parts bought fresh from your local butcher is an excellent choice. To that, you’ll want to add a couple of vegetables:
- 70-80% raw meats (including the organs and raw, uncooked bones). At least once a week, the meat should be fish.
- 20-30% raw fruits and vegetables. These should be chopped up into small (kibble size) pieces.
- 0-10% whole grains (like oats or quinoa). You can completely cut grains out as your dog doesn’t need them at all. But it’s OK to add a bit in.
Sample Pet Paleo Diet for Dogs
As for the actual portions, your dog should be eating about 2-3% of its body weight per day. That means a 16-pound dog would need about a half pound of food per day. According to this, one week of food would include:
- 2 ½ to 3 pounds of raw meats (including at least 4 ounces of organs and 4 ounces of fish).
- 1 pound of fruits and vegetables
- A maximum of 8 ounces of whole grains.
Feeding your dog a pet paleo diet is actually pretty easy and not as expensive as it sounds. First of all, it’s all raw so you don’t have to spend time cooking anything. You’ll just spend a few minutes chopping everything up. Secondly, if you follow the correct portion sizes, it’s not really that expensive. Furthermore, you’ll save a lot of money on vet bills. With a complete daily dose of essential nutrients, your furry friend will be far less likely to get sick!
The best way to learn about the ideal pet “paleo” diet for your pets is to look at what their relatives in the wild normally eat. If you have a python for example, do some research about pythons in the wild. What environment are they native to? What do the pythons in that environment eat? If possible, feed them exactly that food. If not, find the closest thing to it.