What Is A Prey Or Paleo Diet?
One of the recent trends for feeding pets is the Paleo diet. It is a diet that tries to mimic the main ingredients of meals eaten during the Paleolithic or Stone Age when people were still hunting and gathering food for sustenance. Given the popularity of this diet in humans, the proponents of the Paleo diet for pets assume that animals would enjoy the same meals and benefits that benefited our ancestors.
Another would be the Prey Model Raw (PMR) Diet. The PMR diet is one of the many raw diet types suitable for dogs and cats and can be accomplished in two different feeding methods.
There are, however, pet owners who have second thoughts about placing their dogs and cats on a Paleo diet. First, it is mostly made up of raw food, and a diet that works wells with humans may not necessarily benefit dogs as they have different nutritional needs. Here are some important things you should know about the Paleo diet so you can make an educated and well-informed decision regarding your pet’s nutritional needs.
What composes a Prey diet?
In PMR the concept is to feed the entire animal, head to tail, leaving no waste. Whole prey is the entire animal with fur or feathers, organs, glands, blood, and intestinal tract intact. Wild whole prey is an ideal source of food for PMR diets. However, domesticated prey animals can be fed as well.
The recommended guidelines for a PMR diet is 75-80% muscle meat, 10% raw edible bone, 5% liver, 5% other secreting organs, and 0-5% animal based fiber. Franken Prey is another term used for raw feeders who follow PMR ratio guidelines but do not feed whole, intact prey animals.
If you feel squeamish about a Prey Model Raw diet, try for a freeze-dried raw diet instead.
What composes a Paleo diet?
The Paleo diet is also called the “caveman diet” or “hunter-gatherer diet”. Its main components include meats, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. The diet has no place for grains, dairy, and processed food. For dogs and cats, a Paleo diet is composed of meat and bones, which can be either cooked or raw. The natural diet is an excellent source of fiber, beneficial microorganisms, and protein. It does away with carbohydrates that most pets don’t have much need of. As for fruits and vegetables, both can be offered raw or cooked. Steaming or pureeing “pre-digests” veggies and breaks down the plant cell walls and makes it easier to digest. Since dogs are not obligate carnivores, they can utilize essential nutrients from these foods. But for cats, almost all fruits as well as starch-rich vegetables should be avoided.
Tips to remember when adding vegetables to your pet’s diet
- Green leafy vegetables top the list of ideal veggies to be given followed by celery, zucchini, and green beans.
- Sweet potatoes, beets, and green peas contain more starch and should be given sparingly if your pet has no weight issue.
- Cabbage, kale, broccoli, and other cruciferous vegetables contain substances that can negatively affect thyroid function. But cooking and feeding in moderation eliminate this concern.
- If your pet has urinary crystals or stones, avoid giving spinach and rhubarb.
- Have a list of foods that should not be given to dogs or cats, such as grapes/raisins, onions, garlic, shallots, macadamia nuts, and cherries just to name a few.
Ideally, ingredients of a Paleo diet should be organic. Meat should be from livestock that is grass-fed or pasture-raised, and/or sourced locally. The closer your pet’s diet is to the natural diet of its ancestors, the better.
More benefits of a Paleo diet
- The diet does not contain fillers and artificial additives, chemicals, or preservatives
- Since the diet consists mainly of proteins and fats, there is improved satiety; your pet feels fuller for a longer time.
- The composition of a Paleo diet enhances the palatability of your pet’s meals.
- The ingredients have anti-inflammatory properties. Red meat is also an excellent source of iron.
- It’s also made of natural ingredients with little or no preservatives.
- Making your pet’s food means that you know what your pet is eating.
- Raw foods are excellent sources of “live” enzymes.
- Meat and organs that are given raw or lightly cooked are more digestible thus, there is better absorption and utilization in the animal’s body.
- Pets that are overweight or obese benefit from being placed on a Paleo diet because it’s high in protein and low in carbohydrates.
- There is a low risk of developing diabetes, especially in cats, because there is better insulin metabolism. A Paleo diet can also help diabetic cats achieve remission.
- The low-carb diet permits better control of blood glucose in diabetic dogs.
- The thriving microbial flora in the animal’s gut boosts the integrity and function of the immune system.
To complement the healthy food, pets on a Paleo diet should also live the Paleo lifestyle; it’s what experts refer to as “grounding” or “earthing”. It includes training, physical activity, adequate rest, reducing exposure to stressors, avoiding toxic chemicals in the environment, and spending time in the great outdoors.
Potential risks of Paleo diet for pets
With all its benefits, the Paleo diet also has its downsides. Some of these include the following:
- Since raw meat primarily composes the Paleo diet, there is the risk of bacterial contamination, particularly Salmonella which is an important food-borne pathogen.
- The diet may be incomplete and unbalanced for pets as there is no specific amount and proportion of the foods that are included in each meal.
- The Paleo diet is inappropriate for dogs that live an active lifestyle because they need a lot of energy from carbohydrates.
- While it’s a healthier choice, preparing Paleo meals for your pet will take time and effort. Indeed, it is not so easy or convenient. It’s also more expensive than commercial pet food.
What are the best brands of Paleo pet food diets?
With the continued popularity of the Paleo diet in pets, manufacturers of commercial pet food products have formulated special rations that contain biologically-approved raw foods that offer several health benefits for pets. Some of the most popular include Absolute Holistic Air Dried food for cats and dogs.
If you are thinking about switching your pet’s diet to Paleo, it is recommended that you consult with a veterinarian or pet nutritionist to ensure that your pet will have a complete and balanced diet. Also, the new diet should be introduced gradually to your pet to give time for the animal’s system to get used to it and to avoid digestive upsets and adverse reactions.