My Dog Eats (Mostly) Paleo

Screen-Shot-2012-04-23-at-6.12.38-PM-300x256.pngThis is my dog, Zala. She is 5 years old and she’s never been to the vet for anything except to get a chipped tooth removed and to be spayed. No, she does not usually wear leg warmers, but that day she was feeling particularly stylish, so she asked to borrow them from me. Zala is a border collie mix and she enjoys sprinting at a freakishly fast pace to retrieve balls and frisbees. She has more energy than any creature I’ve ever seen, besides maybe Hammy the squirrel from Over The Hedge. But she contains it well.

She’s very lady-like, except that she lifts her leg to pee. She doesn’t drool or lick, and her farts smell like pumpkins. She will not touch another dog’s ball if she isn’t invited to, and she will not touch her own ball if it has rolled in poop. She responds appropriately to about 50 English phrases, like “You’re not begging, are you?” (walks away), “Kill your frisbee!” (violently whips the frisbee around), and “Do you want to eat that kitty?” (licks her lips). We love our dog a lot.

Zala’s Diet

That’s why she eats better than we do. That little brainstem gets a marrow bone once every two days to gnaw on. We take them out of the freezer and just let her chew on them frozen, gradually licking the marrow out of them. It keeps her busy. You can buy them from the butcher section at your grocer or ask for them when you buy meat in bulk from ranchers. She also eats raw, pastured meats and eggs, coconut oil, and kibble that costs almost as much as gold nuggets.

I believe that dogs should eat DOG food – not grains and sugar like most “dog food” companies are mongering.

Crappy Dogfood Details

Here’s a list of the ingredients in Ol’ Roy Walmart brand dog food, one of the best-selling dog foods in the U.S. You can buy a 20-lb bag of it here. Note that the ingredients are NOT listed on their page. This product is 22% protein, 26% fat, and 52% carbohydrate = not enough protein for a dog.

Screen-Shot-2012-04-23-at-7.28.33-PM-193x300.pngINGREDIENTS: Ground yellow corn, soybean meal, ground whole wheat, corn syrup, poultry fat, Meat and bone meal, Animal Fat Preserved with BHA and Citric Acid, Chicken by-product meal, Rice, Animal Digest, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Vitamin D and E Supplement, Niacin, Copper Sulafate, Manganous Oxide, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, *Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex Source of Vitamin K, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Cobalt Carbonate, Folic Acid, Sodium Selenite, Folic Acid

And here’s a list of some other common dog food brands’ ingredients.

Gross.

I’m not going to feed my highly carnivorous dog something whose first 4 ingredients are grains and soy. Now, having said that, my dog doesn’t eat an all meat diet like some Boulder dogs do. She eats kibble and goodies on top of it. I haven’t yet figured out how people feed their dogs completely raw diets without going totally broke. I guess you just have to buy enough meat for another little person (like you would for a kid), and I’m not ready for a kid yet, so she gets the most Paleo kibble I can find: Orijen.

Better Dogfood Details

Here are the ingredients of Orijen’s Regional Red Adult Dog Food. It is more expensive than Ol’Roy, but your dog’s health and happiness are priceless, and it might just save you thousands of dollars in vet bills.

Screen-Shot-2012-04-23-at-7.31.59-PM-233x300.pngINGREDIENTS
Fresh deboned wild boar*, fresh deboned lamb*, fresh beef liver*, fresh deboned pork*, lamb meal, peas, salmon meal, russet potato, herring meal, fresh whole eggs*, fresh deboned bison*, potato starch, fresh deboned salmon*, pacific whitefish meal, fresh deboned walleye*, salmon oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), sun-cured alfalfa, pea fiber, dried organic kelp, pumpkin, chicory root, carrots, spinach, turnip greens, apples, cranberries, blueberries, licorice root, angelica root, fenugreek, marigold flowers, sweet fennel, peppermint leaf, chamomile, dandelion, summer savory, rosemary, vitamin A, vitamin D3, vitamin E, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, d-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, selenium yeast, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Enterococcus faecium.

* DELIVERED FRESH, preservative-free and never frozen.

I don’t know how I feel about the peas and the pea fiber, but I’m pretty sure the peppermint leaf will help her digest it… I certainly like that their meats are free-ranging, wild-caught, and the meats are fresh. And that meat comprises the first five ingredients. It’s 80% meat, 20% plant matter, and 0% grains. I like that. The food is slow cooked into kibble, and dogs are meant to eat raw food, but she’ll have to suffer through it. Oh, and if you’re wondering, all of those words after the vitamin E in the list are vitamins, minerals, and a probiotic.

Best Dogfood

On top of her kibble twice a day, she gets one or a combination of the following: pastured egg(s), raw ground turkey thighs, raw liver or whatever other raw organ meat from our freezer we don’t feel like eating, canned salmon, chicken necks, whatever meat is on sale, and sometimes coconut oil. She likes bully sticks (that’s dried bull penises for the uninitiated), grass-fed beef rawhides, and dried sweet potatoes to gnaw on.

To be quite honest, I haven’t done a whole heap of research on dog nutrition per se, but I do have quite a bit of common sense. And judging by how well humans do on a human (Paleo) diet, I will assume for now that dogs do best on a meaty, dog diet. A lot of dogs have terrible allergies, gross gas, they’re overweight, they have fatty cysts, digestive problems, they stink, and they just look.. well, sick. I know that when a lot of dogs switch over to a dog diet, they thrive and they don’t have these problems.

Here’s a website on the ins and outs of going raw with your own dog or cat. Once again, don’t look to many vets for info on it, as they’re not given much of an education on animal nutrition, and a lot of them make loads of money on crappy kibble.

Anyway, back to Zala. This is what I’m faced with on a regular basis.

Screen-Shot-2012-04-23-at-6.24.43-PM-300x265.png

Would anyone care to chime in? How does your dog eat and what benefits have you seen from feeding your dog a dog diet?