Can Your Pet Benefit From a Grain-Free Diet?

by | Updated: March 1st, 2017 | Read time: 3 minutes

After cutting rice and crackers from your diet, those lingering 15 pounds practically melted away. Since you nixed the gluten, your skin has cleared up. And after avoiding soy, the GI woes you used to experience are a thing of the past.

By now, you’ve made the connection between how the foods you ate made your body feel.

Labrador Retriever Eating Kibble From Bowl |

This concept doesn’t only apply to humans. It applies to animals, too. So when Betsey, your 3-year-old lab mix, starts to repeatedly lick her paws and scratch her ears out of nowhere, consider reviewing her diet rather than heading straight to the doggie dermatologist (and avoid being left with unnecessary prescriptions).

I’ve seen it with my own clients who are lean and mean and eat a nutrient-dense diet of leafy greens, ample fat and a variety of sustainable proteins. While they’re improving their own diets, their furry children are still eating kibble. 

And sadly, even premium, expensive kibble purchased from the vet’s office often still contains grains.

You may be asking if we’re just taking the gluten-free trend and just carrying it over to our four-legged friends… but that’s simply not the case. To put it in perspective, think about what the natural diet of a dog or cat might include.

Natural diets for cats and dogs

According to a recent study by biologists Ray and Lorna Coppinger, a natural diet for dogs includes, “bones, pieces of carcass, rotten greens and fruit, fish guts, discarded seeds and grains, animal guts and heads, some discarded human food and wastes.”

Cats are more selective about food by nature and anatomy; their ancestral diet consisted of small rodents.

As you can see, these species’ natural diets include high levels of protein, fats and water, and very little carbohydrates. The dry foods diet that’s “recommended” today is the complete opposite as it’s high in carbohydrates and low in protein, fat and water.

Just like the humans, our pets aren’t designed to survive on a highly processed, grain-based diet. By limiting meat-based, fresh foods, our pets are likely to produce symptoms of ill-health over time including inflammation and insulin sensitivity. (On a personal note, just knowing that insulin, as a medication for dogs, even exists is quite telling of the state of affairs of the health of our pets.)

Since our pets’ only option is to eat what we feed them, it’s crucial that we take responsibility to take proper care of our beloved creatures and provide them with real food!

But this doesn’t mean you can simply give Betsey ground beef every day. Do your homework and learn how easy it is to create a balanced diet for her right in your own kitchen. You can even make her treats to like these homemade paleo dog cookies.

How to cook for your pet

A great resource is “Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats”.  In this book, you’ll learn how to cook a perfectly balanced meal, made with love for your pets.

Save the suffering (and the cost) by giving them real food during puppyhood and beyond.