alternative diets for pets

Dog eating food

Thinking of going the grain-free, organic, or the raw route with your dog or cat?

Alternative diets for cats and dogs are popular, and depending on age, breed, and needs, your BFF may benefit from a diet that departs from mainstream pet food options. But before you start feeding your pet in a new and different way, always make sure their food is providing all the necessary nutrients your pet needs to remain healthy and strong.

Make an appointment

If you’re switching your pet’s diet, do it gradually over the course of a week or two. Going too fast can upset their stomach and lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and more, which is a bummer for both people and pets.

Three common pet diet trends

A close-up of a cat owner's hand petting his cat while the cat eats from its food bowl

Natural and organic

It makes sense that people who seek out “natural” and “organic” food for themselves want the same for their pets. Generally, here’s what those terms mean.

  • Natural pet food has not been chemically or highly processed, and does not contain additives, preservatives, artificial colors, or flavors.
  • Organic pet food meets similar criteria as organic people food, like avoiding conventional pesticides and artificial fertilizers, as well as food sources free of antibiotics and growth hormones.

Raw food feeding

Having your four-legged friends eat like their wild ancestors has both pros and cons. The upside is that a raw diet is high in protein, moderate in fat, low in carbs, and can give your precious beast a slinkier coat and leaner muscles. The downside is that raw food can carry parasites and bacteria that are dangerous for both people and pets. Also, it may upset their stomach. It’s best to consult with a vet before starting your furry companion on this diet.

A puppy eating from its food bowl
A dog sitting by the dining table and the owner offering her some food

Homemade meals

Some pet owners don’t love the idea of store-bought pet food, and have concerns about ingredients, quality, and processing. Preparing your pet’s food gives you control over what goes into their bowl, especially if your pet has allergies or can’t stomach commercial food. We recommend consulting with a pet nutritionist before committing to being your pet’s personal chef.

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