Sleep Love Eat

{Dogs are Carnivores}

Sophi and Hitch

Carnivores. Not Omnivores. Yep. Pretty simple concept.

Knowing this, we feed our dogs accordingly!

A variety of raw frozen foods we feed our dogs.

We are fortunate to have a great pet store in our area – All the Best Pet Care – which makes raw food for dogs and cats really convenient. They offer a variety of brands that serve up great quality protein for your pets. Since the dogs need a mixture of tissue, organs, bones, and blood, I can get it all in one pack. Some come in little bite-sized pieces, and others are a textured bulk with the bones ground in there – so no choking hazard which is nice. We buy the kind without fruit or vegetable fillers – all 100% pure animal protein. Be sure to check the ingredient list!

The great part of a carnivore diet is that it does not have to be purchased at a pet store  – get it where you get your meat! A little 100% ground beef? Some free-range chicken wings perhaps? Ask the butcher for some organ meat too. Sophi and Hitch even had a bite of raw bacon the other day! They must have done an extra good job on their walk that morning… usually I hog all the bacon for myself :)

Remember – bones are great as long as they are RAW. Keep an eye on your pup while he eats to make sure there are no choking hazards.

We put this kong toy on top of their food to slow the rate of food scarfing. It works!

For treats (after walks and after going potty), we have jerky treats made of lamb, venison, salmon, chicken or beef and some dried chicken and duck treats – they LOVE them. Just a tiny bite and a booty scratch goes a long way as gratitude.

For extra special treats (on days they have extra energy I need them to simmer down so I can get some work done), I give them a bully ring (bull tendon) or a frozen, raw marrow bone. These things stink to high heaven, and if I had a yard I would only give them to the dogs outside. However, we live in a condo with an unfenced yard, so I remove the nice blanket from our living room, put out scrap towels, and let them chew them on those. They know the towels are only for special treats, so they actually stay on them with the treat! Good dogs! I take these treats away after about 20 minutes and save them for the next day – it helps them last longer. I also wipe their faces with a warm-water dishcloth afterwards, keeps the scent of those treats off of their long-haired faces.
Sophi attacking a frozen beef marrow bone.

Beef marrow bone. Completed.

Its a fake donut, people. Dont freak out.

Also (and perhaps this is TMI for you)… incorporating raw bones into their diet makes their poop easier to scoop. Instead of that grotesque, wet, toxic-scented pile of mush that comes out if you feed them bad food, you get a well-shaped, dry (almost dusty!), practically unscented piece of excrement. The proof is in the pudding, you might say. Don’t worry, I didn’t take a photo of that.

I know, we love our dogs like they are our own kids, but we must remember they are canines, descendants of wolves, and need to be fed and worked out accordingly. Just like those of us who eat paleo-style diets do so because we know it is best for our health.

Other benefits of the raw carnivore diet for dogs?

  • It keeps them well-hydrated. My dogs don’t need much water throughout the day (though it is always available). There is lots of moisture in the meat!
  • Their coats are soooo soft and shiny. Really, really soft. Like buttaaaah.
  • They don’t “smell like dogs.” It makes me sad that this surprises so many people, but it’s a comment we hear often when someone meets our pups for the first time. Are so many dogs fed horrible diets, that the common perception is that dogs smell stinky? Ew! Our dogs only need a bath once every 4-8 weeks.
  • Their breath is good, and teeth are healthy.
  • Their physique is lean and muscular. I always ask the vet if they’re underweight, because they look so lean compared to other dogs. They’re not.
  • It should keep them disease and cancer-free (that’s the goal!). No grain, no pain :)
Here’s a couple other good articles for you on dogs as carnivores:
And, some more gorgeous imagery of Sophi and Hitch :)
Mr. Hitch
Sophi and Hitch (drooling over the chicken treats in my hand)
Miss Sophi. Such the diva.
I’m so glad we painted that wall orange. Just pops so nicely, doesn’t it?
Do you feed your dog a raw, carnivorous diet? What are some of his or her favorites? Do share!
Happy eating! (and feeding!) Joey
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18 comments

  1. robin jarzembowski

    Hi ,
    I enjoyed the last e-mail about the pooches diet. I have a very healthy one year old chocolate lab. I do feed her dry dog food. I feed her Wellness brand which claims to be high in protein and low in carbs. I try to be lean on the treats (cookies ) and always buy ” low fat ” and organic. I do give her the frozen Marrow bones for special treats. It ‘s funny because most people say I should cook them first. I never did and I give her one right from the freezer. What do you recommend for morning and evening meal time? I will throw Marlo some raw chicken here and there as I’m cutting some to make for dinner. Do you think I should cut out dry food all together?

    • Hi Robin, we sometimes purchase the Wellness jerky treats for our dogs. I looked up their dry food, and there are a lot of grain ingredients in there. Again, dogs are Carnivores and do not require anything besides pure, raw protein (consisting of parts of the entire animal – bones, marrow, organs, tissue, blood). A raw diet is the most pure diet you can feed your pet.

  2. ynez

    Thank you so much for posting this. Of course it makes perfect sense and while my two kittens are eating a grain-free diet (Nature’s Variety kibble and canned), I had been thinking more and more about raw food for them. I went out yesterday and got the Primal Pets feline sample pack for them to test drive. This morning they shared an oz of quail – at first they were not too sure about it but after I stepped away and stopped watching them, I came back to find it all gone. Right on!!! The Primal Pet ingredients are all REAL food ingredients, no words I can’t pronounce or recognize. Awesome and amazing that my little darlings will have the joy of eating as well as I do.

    • I have noticed that some grain-free pet foods still have lots of other non-carnivorous stuff in the ingredient list. I am so glad your kittens are enjoying going raw and that you tried it for them! Yay! Thanks for sharing from the cat perspective as well :) I’d love to see a picture of your kittens – if you send one to me at joey@paleogirls.com I’ll give them a special mention :)

  3. debdog

    We feed our Bichons a raw diet from Darwins. It has some veggies in it but for the most part it’s just ground beef. I can second all of the advantages you listed to a raw diet. Since the breed can have allergy issues, a raw diet cuts most of those problems out. Plus they love it and Darwins delivers to your front door.

  4. I don’t have dog right now, but have think about getting one soon. I have always wondered why dogs have all of the same health problems as humans in old age. It would make sense that the food which most people feed there dogs is wrong.

    • I heard somewhere that dogs didn’t start developing cancer until they started eating grains in their diet, like humans. It makes me sad that they’re not understood better. I highly encourage you to get a dog (or 2!), they’re so good for the soul :)

  5. Nate

    Important to note. There are hazards to giving your dogs bones whether raw or otherwise. The idea that dogs are out in the wild eating carcasses is an idea which is romantic. There were dogs eating carcasses, they were similar to wolves. Big strong dogs that had jaws that were much more powerful than our little domesticated buddies. Bones provide the dangers of tooth breakage as well as abdominal obstructions. My wife and I both work in the veterinary field ( I as a tech and she is a DVM) as well as live a paleo lifestyle. We provide our dogs with grain-free foods (EVO is a good one) but shy away from raw foods and bones. Raw foods that are created for animal consumption do not face the same standards for safety as do human foods. Animals are also eating a diet of the same composition almost exclusively and are prone to diet imbalances more frequently than we are, so food choices need to be carefully constructed as they cannot indulge themselves in cravings. To select a good food source look for omega 3:6 ratio, protein content, carb content, and of course as free from grains, legumes, and dairy as possible. Crock-potting human grade foods into stews is another option as long as you keep the sources varied and of non canine toxic. Remember that dogs eat grasses instinctively that often times are seeding, especially when their tummy is upset.

  6. Nate

    I don’t. It is easy to find grain-free foods with a HIGH carb content, such as Costco’s variety. This is basically too many carbs. Same situation as us too many carbs can cause too much inflammation. Stand-by I am going to have the doctor comment.

  7. Lauren

    Well, I got thrown into this one but Nate pretty much summed it up. Only a couple things to add… 1) dogs don’t have an innate ability to deal with contaminants such as E.coli and Salmonella. They are just as susceptible as people to these nasty bugs. It may be true that wild dogs can get away with eating raw carcasses without getting sick but certainly some do. It is also important to note that your little buddies don’t get at the meat while its fresh – instead it is ground (mixing bacteria from the intestines with the rest of the meat), processed, and packaged allowing any bacteria in there to proliferate and produce nasty toxins. 2) Do not in any case feed raw fish to dogs – it is deadly due to a parasite (which does not affect people) and will land your dog in the hospital or cemetery. 3) Dogs and cats are NOT strict carnivores – if they were, there would be no need for veterinary nutritionists who develop balanced diets for dogs – its much harder than you think! Over a few months nutritional deficiencies do not often show up but after years of home cooking dogs and cats can develop terrible disease and increased risk of cancer. 4) We have found several decent grain free, cooked, dry dog foods in our local pet store which meet all paleo-esque requirements. It is important to note that some dogs do better on certain foods and poorly on others so you just have to see what agrees with them. For example, Innova Evo fish diet has a nearly perfect omega 3:6 content, good protein, no grain, but 2 out of our 3 dogs have blowout diarrhea on it so what can you do? There are tons of grain free diets out there with 20-25% protein which I think is too low. We try to stay away from dog foods which is predominantly carbs. We also supplement omega 3 with fish oil if needed. So far there is no research supporting these grain free diets in dogs. I am awaiting these studies and results in anticipation. In the meantime I trust that we can extrapolate from human studies but you never know. If you have an questions regarding your specific pet situation I suggest you contact your local vet.

    • Shelby

      I’ve fed all my pets a mainly raw food diet for 8 years now and they are all thriving. My dogs and cats have been known to hide their raw bones around the house and dig them out a day or two later, feast on them and have never gotten sick. They all have had fresh caught raw fish and sorry to disappoint you, none of them have ever had to go to the vet or died because of it.

      I’m not where you were educated but cats are obligate carnivores. Dogs can be omnivorous but only because we’ve introduced grains and other carbohydrates into their diet.

      If these balanced diets formulated by veterinarians are so perfect, then why are so many dogs and cats dying of cancer, renal failure, diabetes and problems related to obesity?

      And isn’t it funny that AAFCO (the agency who decides the minimum requirements for pet food) is comprised of some of the heads of agriculture for the top grain producing states?

      I advise anyone who would like to try a home cooked or raw diet for their pet to do their research and visit sites like http://feline-nutrition.org/ and http://www.kymythy.com/ for more information. There are also many holistic and integrative veterinarians out there that can help you find a more natural approach to feeding your companion animals.

      This is a great video that shows you what ingredients to avoid when buying pet food:

      • That was a fantastic video Shelby! Thanks for sharing. So happy your pets are a great example of thriving off of raw protein :)

  8. Lauren

    Ya, you’re right. I’m sure you know more than a vet. I am glad your pets are doing well. No need to be defensive.

    • Lauren, I think Shelby is being informative, not defensive. Let’s all be friends here. I appreciate you and your husband both posting your personal experiences with what you have seen as vets, and I think it’s great that we all care so much about what is best for our furry loved ones. Shelby is also speaking from her personal research and experiences. While being a vet does let us know that you have seen lots of trauma it does not make you the end all be all on the subject. I appreciate your comments and am sure readers will take them into consideration as they do their own research, however I do have to agree with Shelby that everything I have found indicates that dogs and cats are pure carnivores. I learned that they are not equipped with the enzymes in their system required to break down fruits and vegetables. But, that’s just my findings.

  9. Amy

    Great post. Agree with the carnivore. Folks need to remember that historically, dogs would get the non-meat nutrients from the food their prey ate (grass, bugs, etc.) so make sure the raw you buy is from grass-fed meat.

    One more thing – yesterday I took my dog to the vet and she read me the riot act about feeding my dog raw. She treated me like I was ignorant. She said “if dogs evolved to eat raw, then humans should be eating raw, too!” and started quoting me from a huge binder about “myths of feeding raw”. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough! Fortunately, her vet partner (who I usually see) is pro-raw, or I’d have to find another clinic!

  10. Christie

    My dog went Paleo b4 I did – and she is so healthy! And I completely agree about the smell! My vet always heartily belts out – “Now that’s how a Lab sould look!”

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