The Paleopet Handbook

My name is Dr. James Coghlan and I am a real practicing veterinarian.  I have been studying the effects of nutrition on my patients for 22 years.   I graduated from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine with my doctorate in 1987.  My senior thesis on nutrition won the coveted Hill’s Nutrition Award competition.  My classmates whom also competed for this scholarship are now world renowned for their contributions to veterinary nutrition and holistic care.  This includes Joseph W. Bartges – BS, DVM, Ph.D., DACVIM, DACVN, Dorothy P. Laflamme, DVM  and Susan Wynn, DVM .  I started the first veterinary podcast in 2005 in an attempt to get the word out about how well pets do simply by adding vegetables and yogurt to regular feedings or, better, by feeding raw safely.

There is no such thing as a diabetic coyote or a lynx with kidney failure in the wild.  I have been preaching the ill-effects of starch in pet food for over 30 years, the first to accuse it as the cause of most of the diseases I treat on a daily basis.  Pet food has no raw fats and oils, much too little fiber, zero probiotics and, MOST IMPORTANT:  far too much starch!  Some pet foods are 70% starch!!!

Starch carbohydrates are the cause of most all major disease in dogs and cats.

It just so happened that this particular College of Veterinary Medicine was home to the majority of the professors who literally “wrote the book” for which most all veterinary students are using today.  It was an amazing confluence of forward thinking veterinary professors whom explained the actual mechanisms, not simply the “because” of veterinary medicine.  It was this that ignited the passion for nutrition and my stance against starch in pet food.

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In the years since, I have been very fortunate to have finally discovered the very reason why so very many dogs and cats have so very many problems with skin, kidney disease, cancer, ears, etc.  The path for this discovery was through trial and error and mostly, I believe, the result of my client’s willingness to try something new.  Never give up and the answer will prevail.  It is not a food allergy to corn or to chicken or from dust mites or fleas, nor is it bacterial or yeast.  It is simple and I explain it all in the book.

Paleo is short for Paleolithic.  A Paleo Pet is a dog or a cat that is being fed what it has evolved eating.  Pastoral, post-glacial evolution is wherein the modern dog and cat were born. It is the type of food that the body expects to receive after birth and is what is optimal for the proper functioning of the immune system and metabolism.  To this day, a Wolf and a Golden Retriever can breed and have fertile offspring.  Does a Wolf ever consume starch as the major ingredient of a meal?  Why then are we feeding 40 to 60% starch food to our dogs???

There is no commercial food available that is better for your pet than what you can offer using fresh natural ingredients.  All commercial pet foods are based on the wrong formulations or cooked beyond all decent nutritional recognition.  Many dogs and cats will develop all manner of health problems from itchy skin to kidney failure from consuming this goop.  Stop feeding your pet these plastic foods!  If you happen to have a dog or cat with skin and ear problems here is your answer. If you want the best for your pet but don’t want to bother with raw meats and bones – please continue reading. If your pet is lazy and obese – read on!

It simply does not matter how “natural” they are – most commercial pet foods contain the wrong source of carbohydrates and are absolutely deficient in fiber when compared to the naturally evolved Paleo diet.  Many of the grains and fillers used in these rendered packaged foods may also have unacceptably high levels of toxic and cancer-causing molds especially if they have “natural” preservatives. There is absolutely NO research that demonstrates the effectiveness of natural preservatives such as Vitamin E (tocopherols) and Vitamin C against the development of mold in bagged pet foods.

Why feed anything that needs to be preserved or that might have a diluted mold toxin in it!!!

Mostly ignored, the molds in grain can result in some of the most potent cancer – causing chemicals known to man.  Google “aflatoxin” and find out for yourself…  “Aflatoxin metabolites can intercalate into DNA and alkylate the bases through the epoxide part of the molecule”.  This is the basic mechanism of all carcinogenic substances.  I don’t trust “naturally preserved” anything unless I see where it will actually eliminate mold formation for at least 6 months in hot humid conditions.  Nothing does.

“About the only thing you can do is just remove the source of grain that is contaminated or dilute it down to a subtoxic level,”  Dr. Hicks said in the January 15, 2010 Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association…    Great idea – just dilute the bad stuff down to feed it to animals safely…


This book is your guide to make a diet for your dog or cat faster than opening a can and for less than $2.00 a pound.  Or, you can add to and fortify what you are currently feeding to give your pet ESSENTIAL but missing ingredients that they will love.

It is easy to follow and understand and it is tried, cultivated, streamlined and PROVEN by my own patients’ compliance.  Your pets will live for it.

A simple Google search on the paleo diet will land you deep into a growing surge of dietary fundamentals which all began with the Atkins diet in 1972.
The Atkins revolution soon spawned a library of related weight reducing diet plans but the difference now is that it is no longer about losing weight.  It is about curing disease.
As more people turned to one of the dozens of popular low carb diets – they not only lost weight, but certain chronic ailments began to fade as well.  Foot odor, eczema and dandruff went away, even sinus infections disappeared.

The newer more refined low carb diet trends are being used to cure everything from hay fever to hemorrhoids, from attention deficit disorder to depression and from athletes foot to acne.  The Rosedale diet book by authored by Doctor and ‘Metabolic Specialist’ Ron Rosedale says that weight will be lost “as a consequence” of feeling better…

These low carb panacea claims are indeed mostly true! This certainly explains all the ravings on the internet – the third most common use of which is to research health and medical subjects.  The WWW is a wealth of free advice and free information to the world.

When somebody truly believes that something has made a wonderful change for the better in their own health – they will tell others about it.  Humans have a natural tendency to help others and posting on the internet is certainly easier and much more successful than writing a newspaper or a magazine about it.  We can now easily warn others not to buy a certain product or to let others know if something is a “must have” or that it really works for a particular condition.   The low carb craze is therefore quite largely seated on the internet – and in a very positive light.

The problem with low carb human diets is that the majority of us are not able to stay on these diets – unless of course their lives depend on it.  The human mind is one that if they begin to feel better, they begin to feel invincible.  When they become invincible, they eat pizza…   A bad day at work – what the heck, lets have some comfort food…

Stress is the modern human condition – carbs are our cradle.

The majority of low carb dieters are thus cyclic – meaning they begin to “cheat” once they feel better (invincible).  Cheating by eating a few carbs (at a dinner party, hor’deurves, etc)  will completely re-inoculate the intestinal tract and cycle everything back to day one – especially the cravings.  Once this cheating leads to feeling bad again the dieter will begin again but somehow over-imagine how good they felt and end up not having the same results.  Bread is a HUGE food habit to overcome as it is served with everything and is intensely satisfying when a craving hits.

After a couple weeks of carb abstinence the body rebels in a big way and most of us humans simply can not get past the first 6 weeks.

Dogs and cats don’t have the same stress as humans!

They don’t binge on ice cream when the Christmas bonus gets cancelled. They don’t go to a bar when a fight breaks out at home.

Dogs and cats prefer not to eat grains and potato starches – it makes them feel ill and sleepy after they eat. Their bodies do much better on raw fats and oils as a source of energy. When a coyote kills a rabbit the first thing on the menu is: FAT.  They eat the stomach which is conveniently loaded with partially cooked vegetables and has FAT connected to it.  Mesenteric fat happens to be attached to the stomach and liver via the omentum and supporting ligaments.

If one applies the Paleopet low-carb dietary principles to the pet the results are truly remarkable.  All pet owners should follow these principles in one form or another.  Pet owners are pet parents.  And, as pet parents, if we know of something that will make our children healthier and happy – we will do it whether they like it or not.  The difference in this case is that your pets will actually like it.  Dogs and cats are different than humans in that regard. Dogs and cats also seem not to get any “detox” effects nor do they suffer from anything suggesting a huge carb craving is at play.  They just feel better, act happier and live longer.

Don’t feed table scraps – feed table fare

One third of all urgent Veterinary visits are for gastrointestinal problems.  Never feed a dog cooked fat trimmings from beef, chicken skin, etc.  Cooking food is a human thing – dogs and cats have evolved the ultimate digestive tract but only for raw foods.  The Paleopet guide will list the all good, the bad and the poisonous things for pets.