One of the many reasons I’ve been switching to the Paleo approach is to eliminate artificial chemicals, flavors, and colors from my diet. These are often found in processed foods, so in the beginning of my Paleo project I became an avid label reader to watch for these things. About a month ago it occurred to me that if I am benefiting from these changes, perhaps my dog could too. So I read the label on his dog treats and realized that the treats I gave him every day were full of chemicals. I don’t want that for him anymore than I want that for myself. So, I stopped. I’d already switched him to grain free food about a year ago, to help his digestive system. This would be one more thing I could do to help him have a healthy life.
I’d used those treats to give him his twice daily seizure medicine. I didn’t want to switch to bread (grains) or hotdogs (unless you buy very carefully, these are full of carcinogenic nitrates/nitrites and generally bad meat sources) so needed another solution. I decided on meatballs. I went to the freezer and grabbed a one pound bag of the grass fed, no hormone, no antibiotic, locally sourced ground beef that I feed myself and made a tray full of tiny meatballs for him. I made them about the size of a nickel and the one pound package of meat made about 40 little meat balls, enough for 3 weeks of am/pm pills! The meat cost me about $6.50 so it came out to about $2.15 per week, which is only $.30 more than what I paid for the store bought treats. So for basically the same cost I was able to eliminate the chemical ridden treats from Rex’s diet.
I also make him homemade chicken jerky to help ween him from the store bought bones he currently eats. Eliminating those bones completely is my next step and I’m also researching how to make other homemade dog treats. To make the jerky I boil the breasts of free range, no hormone/antibiotic chicken. Yes, this is the same chicken I cook for myself. It’s $5-7 per package and I get about 15-20 jerky strips from it. I simply cut the boiled (and cooled) breasts into large strips (I cut width wise so they are wide strips) and then put them in the dehydrator for about 8 hours. The time you’ll need depends on the temperature on your dehydrator and the thickness of the cut meat. Just dehydrate until they are crunchy and no longer pliable. He loves them. And no chemicals, grains, legumes, dairy, or sugar. All very paleo. :). If you’re interested, this is the dehydrator I used.
To help hold your attention as you read this post…. here’s a picture of my adorable dog, Rex. 🙂
I recently read an article about pet lovers who feed their dogs coconut oil. It’s full of amazing health benefits for us humans so why not for our pets, too? The article has inspired me to add coconut oil to the meatballs I feed Rex and see what happens. I can’t put it on his skin/paws, as the article suggests, because Rex rubs up against all my furniture and walls, so I’d end up with a very oily house! But I can definitely add it to his food.
If you are considering adding coconut oil to your own diet (I’d highly recommend it! It’s very Paleo and full of health benefits. I get mine from Wilderness Family Naturals but I have also heard Tropical Traditions is a good brand. It can be confusing to buy coconut oil. Do you want refined or unrefined, cold pressed, expeller pressed, or centrifuge pressed, heavy coconut flavor or light? You can learn more about buying/picking the right oil for you from this great article. I don’t like the flavor of coconut so I went with the centrifuge pressed oil for my family… including my dog! 🙂