What I Learned Formulating The Worlds Finest Raw Dog Food – Paleo Plus

Here’s what I learned making one of the world’s finest and “as-complete-as-possible” raw dog food ranges Paleo Plus…

My project with Paleo Ridge came to a head and end last week when they launched their new range Paleo Plus at the Discover Dogs UK show. I’ve worked with raw companies before, helping them get a product over the line, but I have to admit I enjoyed this project, largely as the task set – make the very best “complete” raw we can – had no restrictions whatsoever. The resulting range of eight products is pretty much as good as you can make it, once you factor in the balancing act. But I’m also happy enough it’s done as it threw up some interesting conundrums. Here are some of the stand-out points of the range and why other raw dog food companies need to catch up…

What I Learned Formulating The Worlds Finest Raw Dog Food - Paleo Plus Dogs First

Dogs evolved on lean food, so lots of lean meat is vital…

You can never fully trust a pet food label, sadly. Just because they are making raw doesn’t make that company more trustworthy, they just happen to be on the right side of the argument. Sadly, as a billion-dollar industry in the UK alone, pet food can attract folk interested in simply making a buck. This issue is magnified as nobody is checking the nutritional contents of pet foods for you, so you only have their word to go by. Case in hand, all pre-made raws say “10% bone” when we know so many contain far, far more bone than this. Why? Because carcass is cheap except it’s boney too. So lots of our dogs can poo bullets on many of the cheaper mixes. Still, folk want to see 10% bone on the label so that’s what you’re told.

Dogs evolved to eat wild and thus very lean animals, not fatty ass intensively-reared animals – these guys would be sitting ducks. This means, in my opinion, the majority of raw dog foods are too fatty for the average dog, certainly if paleo or ancestral diet is what you’re after, and all the evidence is now pointing toward this being a very wise road to take (at least for us but studies coming from DogRisk show the same health benefits applies to dogs). I can see that many pre-made raw dog foods out there are too fatty, with protein to fat ratios of around 1:1 (Google your range of choice), certainly the cheaper stuff, and many go far beyond that across their range. As fat offers twice the amount of calories as protein, these could be seen as quite fatty diets for the average dog. Why are they fatty? Well, and as with the bone tissue, the temptation is to use lots of cheaper cuts (carcass but also cheap beef and pork bits), all of which are notoriously high in fat and low on lean protein. Lean meat muscle is expensive as usually it is sold to the human sector. During the formulation of Paleo Plus, we ensure lean meat protein options were top of the list. Along with organ content, the rest of that ingredient list is window dressing, in my opinion. Why waste your money on anything else?

This is why the top companies (Paleo Ridge, Honeys) chop their mixes roughly, big lumps, as they want you to see the meat and fat and organ. Cheaper mixes tend to hide fat and bone by grinding to a fine mash, which looks like “chicken” or “beef” to the average customer.

Fattier diets of course play a role in canine nutrition, such as for working dogs and maybe some stages of puppyhood, where increased energy demands are satisfied with higher fat contents. Also should your dog be struck with cancer. But are talking about the average dog here…

Yes, leaner products will likely result in your dog being leaner on them but this is a long-distance running animal, for the most part, they are supposed to be lean. Being lean will increase their health and longevity (and lean mixes are the best way to diet overweight dogs). Also, you might have to feed a little more for them to get their calorie hit but this project was not about what was best for you the consumer, it was what is best for them (this is me talking, not Paleo Ridge). A couple in the range are higher calorie but if you do find yourself with a leaner type and want to add in some fattier meat then pick up some half-price fatty beef mince in the supermarket, add a lump in every day to their lean fare and save yourself a few pennies!

Highest quality meats, as ethical as possible…

It’s not enough that your mix is simply lean as you can tick that box a number of less suitable ways, such as by padding up with veg ingredients. The meat needs to be good quality. I have banged the drum about the importance of more-ethical, organic meats before (check out my article on the meat quality used by companies such as Paleo Ridge here and why it’s important, not they are alone, Honey’s too are great, any company touting these principles is brilliant in my book). Yes, not all ingredients are organic, and there are likely even more ethical meats out there, but years inside the meat industry demand for that these two things are top of the list when meat shopping. Paleo Ridge has all their accreditation in place in this regard (below). Most importantly, they do not deal with any suppliers who kill without stun. That is now rampant in the industry and it is completely unacceptable from a welfare perspective. The fact is, if you buy this meat, you’re part of the problem.

What I Learned Formulating The Worlds Finest Raw Dog Food - Paleo Plus Dogs First

Single protein options…

This was important for me and Paleo Ridge concurred. In the Paleo Plus range, there are single protein versions of grass-fed lamb, organic chicken, outdoor reared pork and higher-welfare duck. These products are “as complete as possible”. In other words, they are fine by FEDIAF standards. However, it’s easy enough to tick their boxes as these guys deal only with minimums (as you will discover later). However, some raw companies strive for higher. An important facet of canine nutrition is a great spread of organ meats and Paleo Plus ticks that box more than any other in many regards. The lamb and pork products are an absolute triumph but the poultry single proteins posed more of an issue. It is incredibly hard bordering impossible to find chicken and duck kidneys and spleen, sadly. They simply don’t make it out the end of the process. That said, with liver, heart and gizzard and lots of meat, these mixes are still fantastic. Largely missing until now, these four products will play a key role in elimination diets for dogs.

A greater array of organ meats…

There is a process in canine nutrition called organotherapy, the feeding of like with like – liver for sick liver, brain for sick brain etc. We know hearts are crammed full of taurine but also less discusses bit such as atrial-natriuretic peptide and brain natriuretic peptides, both of which are crucial to heart health, so feeding lots of it to dogs prone to heart issues is a great idea. We know that dogs on insulin therapy require less insulin and live longer when fed raw pancreas than dogs given just insulin alone (again, there are lots going on in a pancreas, far beyond just insulin). And it’s the same with every organ. Paleo Plus offers the greatest array of organ meats out there, even pancreas makes the mix in the pork product, which is hard to find (and even harder to handle).

What I Learned Formulating The Worlds Finest Raw Dog Food - Paleo Plus Dogs First

Brains are incredibly nutritious (and great for your pet’s brain). However, you are not allowed to put brains in pet food since feed companies fed so many brains to cattle, and we all know what happened there (surely this is akin to pet food companies feeding dogs to dogs. SPB, the chemical they use for killing dogs, remains today the second most common cause of pet food recall, accounting for more than 30 million pounds of canned pet food recalled from 2012-2019). However, there is a way to get brains in there and that is via fish heads (Paleo Plus used hake heads and whole Atlantic sardines). Eyes too! Fish heads are brilliant nutrition.

Testicles don’t make the mix either. It’s thought that testicles might be a great food item for neutered dogs. However, I am unsure how many testicles a bitch should be eating, how much testosterone is healthy for them? I have no idea, so we left it out until we know more. If you have a neutered male dogs, buy testicles separately for sure and include them.

Tweaked bone contents…

The Dierenfield et al. 2002 study is a vital work. These guys wanted to see exactly what nutritional value typical prey animals fed to the carnivores in zoos. They took a great array of animals, from rats, mice and rabbits to deer, sheep and frogs. It’s a brilliant study but it throws up an awful lot of question regarding the formulation of a complete raw according to AAFCO/FEDIAF standards.

To be hailed “complete”, your mixes need to hit certain nutritional minimums. AAFCO in the United States first came out with these guidelines when so many dogs and cats started dropping dead from DCM in the ’70s. Back then, the quality of cereal-based pet food was even lower than it is now if you can believe it. AAFCO (well, the NRC at the time but let’s not get bogged down with detail) came up with these MINIMUM requirements to get the various candy-manufacturers-and-occasional-pet-food-producers up off the floor. And it did, in fairness to them. Only, over time, their minimum guidelines became targets for the industry (look at the minimum protein figure of 18%, do you know many cereal-based pet foods using much more than the minimum in their mixes?!). The FEDIAF nutritional guidelines are the European version of AAFCO though they freely admit they copy AAFCO’s guidelines almost completely (though do allow 4% points more protein for adult dogs, whoop-de-woop).

Below is the nutritional minimums (and some maximums) for an adult dog according to AAFCO.

What I Learned Formulating The Worlds Finest Raw Dog Food - Paleo Plus Dogs First It’s beyond the scope of this article to get too deep here but for now it’s crucial to note that these guidelines are written by pet food manufacturers (hence carbohydrates are not even mentioned so you don’t get to see them on the label and they haven’t managed to come with maximums for salt yet despite this being so crucially important in human nutrition, go figure!). Thus they only really relate to the formulation of dry pet food. Nobody was thinking about raw dog food when these were concocted. Sadly, five decades on, they’re still all we have to formulate by. Worse still, the onus is now on raw producers, many of whom would like to make an OPTIMUM product for your dog, to adhere to them if they want to say “complete as per AAFCO standards”. This throws up several issues for canine nutritionists trying to formulate such a product.

First of all, no mention is made of optimums, dry pet food has never concerned itself with such ideals. Nor does it concern itself with nutrient quality or even actual food items (e.g. you can make a “complete” food for dogs based on rotten vegetable matter for dogs and adhere to them, as long as they hit the nutritional minimums, often with the addition of some George Jetson style vitamin/mineral powder at the end).

Secondly, this sort of simplistic table ignores all the other amazing benefits of fresh food, the interaction of bioactive compounds in there. You would think this sort of thinking would be dead in the water with the bottled baby formula scandal (the closest they could get to a “complete” food in humans, and a failure).

What I Learned Formulating The Worlds Finest Raw Dog Food - Paleo Plus Dogs First

Most importantly here though, their workings are based on laboratory dogs fed ultra-processed, cereal-based dry food. This means a foodstuff based on synthetic nutrients. However, while structurally similar, we know that many synthetic minerals are poorly utilised by humans and dogs. Case in hand, zinc oxide. The problem is minerals are not from the land of the living so guts don’t allow them free passage. They must be buddied up with a protein first. Unfortunately for our pets, supplements that take the trouble to bind their minerals to protein (chelation) are expensive so dogs (and often humans) get the crapper versions, such as zinc oxide, which we know dogs are terrible at absorbing, and hence they get poor coats, grey muzzles and elbow calluses etc, when fed upon it (particularly when cereals are present).

So, when AAFCO/FEDIAF say you need to have X amount of zinc, canine nutritionists formulating raw diets go looking for animal sources of this mineral. Should be easy enough, it’s in skin and bones and hair etc. Unfortunately, as we see with the Dierefeld study (which include the whole animal, meat, bones, organ, hide, the lot) there doesn’t even seem to be enough zinc in prey animals to satisfy the minimum requirements set by AAFCO who want to see 120mg/kg of dry matter!

Below is the nutritional content of some common prey of the dog (taken from Dierenfield et al. 2002).

What I Learned Formulating The Worlds Finest Raw Dog Food - Paleo Plus Dogs First

What does this mean? It means people like me (and Tyler, in fairness, the meticulous MD of Paleo Ridge, who joined me in my tearful tantrums of how unfair the proposition soon turned out to be) have to run around finding other “power” ingredients to include to make sure the mixes hit their nutritional minimums (in the case of zinc, you might include a bit more hemp seed powder, seeds being so high in zinc).

According to AAFCO, it seems you can’t make a complete a raw for cats without adding plant ingredients. That’s the current state of science in the sector.

And it’s the same for a whole host of other nutrients, most importantly calcium. Now we KNOW prey animals have enough calcium – look at all their bones! However, AAFCO is gravely concerned with calcium concentrations as they formulate diets with calcium carbonate and a few other unnatural calcium sources. It does not consider fresh calcium bound to a protein which is not only more readily absorbed but, we have to assume, processed better by the body. The fact is, our bodies are built to deal with nutritional highs and lows, sometimes we have access to lots of this, sometimes to lots of that. However, you can’t be so dismissive with nutritional supplements. Synthetic nutrients are unlikely to be used by the body in the same way as their natural counterparts. The filtration system has a harder time ridding the body of these compounds.

What I Learned Formulating The Worlds Finest Raw Dog Food - Paleo Plus Dogs First

The point is, if you just go by AAFCO, suddenly the crude “10% bone content” in raw is not so simple. 10% of what bone? Different animals, different calcium contents. Then there’s the age of the animal at slaughter (young animals have softer bones with more water, think an 11wk old chicken). Bigger, older animals have necessarily harder bones. Then you need to factor is what these animals were fed! We know the nutrient content of prey will vary depending on what they were fed. It’s why you want fresh, organic and as wild-as-possible meats, not intensively-reared beef given nothing but corn.

So this was an interesting conundrum that nobody has been discussing until now. While we may have gone down a bit of a rabbit hole here, the take-home point for you guys is that we very painstakingly went through all our bone options in terrible detail, found out their calcium and phosphorus contents and included them accordingly, using less than the 10% in some cases and more in others. This is a completely unique step for raw dog food. While its relevance is yet to be determined for normally fed dogs, we know exactly what is going into your dog and Paleo Plus is spot-on compliant with AAFCO / FEDIAF. How many other premade raw dog foods can say this?

While it is expected that the body will deal with natural sources of calcium better than the supplement kind, the fact remains that any raw manufacturer not paying attention to their bone contents is very possibly including more calcium than is permitted by AAFCO standards. And that is IF they are using the bone content they say they are (but we know they aren’t as so many cheap pre-mades result in your dog pooing white bullets, nobody is watching them so there is a great temptation to use LOTS of carcass…how else do you think they make it so cheap?!)

Power additions chosen for both their nutrient and bioactive potential in dogs…

I don’t go for the kitchen sink approach when formulating. Sometimes I feel ingredients are added on to the tail-end of a product as that’s what folk want to see but in my opinion, if you want to add in the likes of coconut oil, you should probably do it separately. Maybe your dog doesn’t like that stuff? Moreover, medicinal herbs should never be included. These guys should be fed separately in line with the best practice of Animal ZooPharmacognosy, where your pet will take what herbs he thinks are necessary at that time. The real prowess of a product comes from the first 2 or 3 ingredients in the list, and for me, this is where Paleo Plus comes into his own. That said, here are the “extras” I think should make most mixes:

1. FRESH dark green veg, sometimes carrots…

There is around 4% vegetable matter in the Paleo Plus range. While, yes all the evidence points towards the fact that dogs are predominantly meat and bone eaters, the fact remains dogs appear to have taken some minor evolutionary steps towards omnivory including some extra genes for the digestion of plant carbohydrates, the presence of hepatic glucokinase (when true carnivores do not have this enzyme) as well as a small handful of other little physiological quirks. These wouldn’t have developed in dog had plant material not been on the menu in some form in the past beyond medicinal consumption. It likely arose from their tendency to eat whole prey (including the stomach contents of smaller prey), faeces and occasional scraps offered by humans. Dark green veg like spinach and broccoli, are high in vitamins and minerals. In particular, we use dark green veg for its vitamin B content. They also offer some fibre which studies show dogs do benefit from. Most importantly, studies show that feeding veg t0 dogs (albeit, the studies were of dry fed and thus very likely nutritionally starving dogs) has a range of benefits including cancer reduction. All of this I have dealt with this before, please see our article “should you feed veg to dogs”.

2. FRESH blackberries and fresh, wild blueberries…

I’m not one for fruit in dogs. I don’t think they need the sugar. So I choose carefully here, tending to use fruit additions with a more medicinal approach in mind. Of all fruits in this regard, dark- coloured berries are where it’s at for dogs. They’re incredibly nutritious, packed full of some harder to find vitamins C and K and minerals like manganese, which is helpful as meat is very deficient in this mineral in particular. They’re also low GL (glycemic load), particularly blackberries, meaning they don’t elevate blood sugars like other fruits, which is a good thing for dogs. But it’s not those bits exactly these bits that we are most interested
in here. The real power of berries is in their lesser-discussed bioactive compounds, in particular, the antioxidants they contain. Blue and blackberries are believed to have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all common fruits and vegetables. The main antioxidant compound here is flavonoids, in particular, anthocyanins. As the article above shows, blueberries have been shown to reduce cognitive decline (in humans and dogs) and reduce exercise-induced oxidative damage in sleddogs and therefore likely boost their performance levels. Human studies too show that these berries are beneficial for heart health, fighting cancer, increasing insulin sensitivity and are likely very beneficial for the uterine tract. And they’re damn tasty!

I firmly believe the wild varieties are better than the farmed version. A study of wild blueberries found they can significantly reduce DNA damage incurred from free radicles (Riso et al. 2013), though to be fair, the farmed and even powdered versions have been found to do the same, albeit to a lesser degree. Thus, while the fresh (and wild) versions are more pricey, Paleo Ridge is sourcing exactly those for this new range.

3. Sustainably-sourced green-lipped mussel (GLM)…

Most pre-made raw diets are deficient in manganese, for the very large part. The fact is, meat is a very poor source of this crucial mineral. It is only really found in hair and feathers. Those items are real carnivore fibre but the market is not yet ready to hear (or see) that yet. So we have to find other sources. While it’s often best sourced from the plant kingdom it turns out shellfish is an excellent, if highly pricey, way of getting your manganese in there. More than that though, GLM is rich in polyunsaturated free fatty acids (PUFAs), in particular, the harder to find animal omega 3’s EPA and DHA, which likely explain why they are shown to be a potent, albeit slow-acting, anti-inflammatory agent in dogs. But it is the fact these are coupled with a high glycosaminoglycan (chondroitin) and glutamine content that makes GLM so very good for joints. Studies show GLM incorporated into their food helps alleviate arthritis symptoms in dogs.

And guys, if your dog has arthritis and is in real need of GLM you absolutely can and should add in more. You can find green-lipped mussel extract for dogs here on Amazon.

Please make sure it is from a sustainable source. In the past, the populations of these vital filter-feeders have been decimated following poor farming practices. Paleo Ridge uses a sustainable source of GLM in Paleo Plus.

4. Seaweed

What I Learned Formulating The Worlds Finest Raw Dog Food - Paleo Plus Dogs First

Seaweed is my favourite plant on the planet. All the products I have co-formulated seem to have something to do with these amazing plants (there are more amazing seaweeds under the waves than herbs on the planet, it’s not all “kelp”). It is probably the most vitamin and mineral-rich plants out there. In premade raw, a tiny bit of seaweed is used for its iodine content, but not true kelp (Laminaria) which is very high in iodine. With the canine thyroid epidemic in mind, a small bit of Ascophyllum is a more suitable form for a daily supplement in your pet’s diet. On top it’s nutrient content, and as with all the other “super” foods (a word I use very sparingly), seaweed is very high in antioxidants, a result of living in one of the most inhospitable places of earth (with regular changes in salinity, temperature, oxygen levels, bashed by waves and rocks etc), many of which, such as fucoidans and fucoxanthins, are entirely unique to plants under the sea. These compounds have been studied intensely and are proven to be highly anti-cancerous among a great number of other health benefits. If shopping for your own, it’s important to select products that have not been dried with heat as these have the highest anti-oxidant content. And again, make sure it is sustainably harvested out at sea.

LEARN MORE ABOUT SEAWEED…

Why I think seaweed for dogs is amazing…

When you should use seaweed in dogs, and when you should hold off…

What I Learned Formulating The Worlds Finest Raw Dog Food - Paleo Plus Dogs First
Check out our range of unique seaweed-based products for pets. Shipped worldwide, most of them come with a money-back guarantee!

 

5. Power additions NOT included…

Again, a lot of formulators go for the kitchen sink approach. I don’t. One thing I tend to avoid is a dash of plant oils. Sure they have lots of zinc and vitamin E but enough of this is achieved with the other ingredients used so far. Instead, in Paleo Plus we went for dry hemp seed powder. These guys are incredibly nutrient-dense and free of phytic acid. The problem with seed and nut oils is that they’re simply not in the dog’s paleo diet. Plant oils are great in small doses, now and again, but they are high in omega 6 and too much of this throws the omega 3:6 ratio out for the dog so it can’t be an everyday thing without trying to use lots of omega 3 to balance it up. If I was to add in any oil it would be an animal source of omega 3. This is where it gets a bit tricky. Fish oil is falling out of favour rapidly for various reasons. While still more friend than foe, it’s best to leave it out for the mo. There are better kinds. Krill and wild salmon oil are available but as they are not a sustainable, responsible option (the former because of the whales and the latter as wild salmon are becoming desperately rare). As such these don’t have a place in an ethical/sustainable-type range as Paleo Plus either. This leaves us with phytoplankton which is exorbitantly pricey, where an effective dose (and we’ve no interest in including ingredients in anything less than this) would push the cost of such a product beyond what anyone would normally pay.

The good news is Paleo Plus is based on organic and natural-fed meats which are known to contain far higher amounts of omega 3 than intensively-reared animals, it already ticked the boxes in terms of animal omega 3 (DHA and EPA). Of course, as with green-lipped mussel and seaweed above, a bit more is always nice for dogs in need so the best advice would be, if your dog needs a little omega 3 kick, add it in some good quality phytoplankton yourself (find on Amazon), it will certainly help further.

A note on Paleo Plus “Special Diet” – a low phosphorus (and lower purine) option, should you need it for struggling kidneys…

Lots of pet owners come to raw food because the ultra-processed pet food sector made their pets sick. Most likely, very often it will be kidney disease in dogs. The raw dog food diet most recommended for dogs with kidney disease is lower in phosphorus as phosphorus is harder on kidneys (find out more here). This means favouring beef and pork over white meats such as chicken or turkey or fish. To this, you add more veg than normal (in this case Paleo Plus jumps from 5% to 20% green veg content) and carrots (for a vitamin A, vital for lubricating struggling kidneys). We have been so careful here that it seems Special Diet is a factor of 3-4 times lower in phosphorus than other raws marketed for this benefit. There is a range of herbal additions you can include at this point but Paleo Ridge is making a broad-spectrum raw dog food kidney disease diet.

What I Learned Formulating The Worlds Finest Raw Dog Food - Paleo Plus Dogs First
Water is vital to healthy kidneys

 

Kidney disease is not simply about clogged up and under-performing kidneys. They can have crystals. They could be more liable to kidney stones (such as Dalmatians, among many other breeds). The fact is, there are some reasons your dry-fed pet might develop kidney issues on cereal-based dry food (more here), including:

  • A Diet Void Of Water For Kidney Disease Patients Goes Against Every Principle In The Book
  • High Cereal (Carbohydrate) Diets Are Directly Linked To Struvite Crystal Formation
  • Grain Mould Is Linked To Kidney Disease
  • Dry Dog And Cat Food Salt Levels Begin At 1% And Salt Destroys Kidneys
  • Dry Fed Dogs Are Proven To Undergo Significantly More Immune System Reactions Than Fresh Fed Dogs, Which Means More Work For The Kidneys
  • 9 Out Of 10 Dogs Are Dry Fed And 9 Out Of 10 Dogs Have Periodontal Disease By Three Years. Periodontal Disease Is Linked To Kidney Disease
  • Cooked Meat Is Hard To Digest And Is Antigenic To The Body
  • The Chemicals In Dry Food Must Be Removed By The Kidneys

In my opinion, no dog deserves cereal-based dry food, it’s simply too awful but if I had a dog prone to ANY kidney issue I would most certainly not be feeding it. Take Dalmatians prone to kidney stones, for example. Owners of this breed are greatly concerned for the purine contents of their food. While this is surely an important consideration (these guys know their breed best, let’s face it) I would say as a nutritionist that these concerns are so far largely based on dry-fed Dalmatians. Stones can form for a variety of reasons. Non-nutritional reasons include issues post-surgery, post-infection, several metabolic disorders that can increase the concentration of calcium or oxalate in urine and good old hereditary. But more relevantly here, and keeping dry food in mind, nutritional causes of kidney stones in dogs include too much calcium in the diet (tick), high doses of vitamin D (one of the most common causes of dry pet food recall, vitamin D hates processing. Historically, ultra-processed pet food manufacturers haven’t always got it right. I mean, did you see the sheer volume of products Hills Pet Food had to recall recently when they got their vitamin D mix wrong?! Hope your vet warned you…) and folk that don’t stay hydrated (DRY food HIGH in salt?!!!!).

So, if your breed is prone to stones, you can be sure dry will not be helping in this regard (it’s my assumption and anecdotally-accepted theory that the stone issue is less on a Dalmatian fed a species-appropriate, that is fresh meat and bone diet, from birth. However, this remains to be tested in any formal way).

What I Learned Formulating The Worlds Finest Raw Dog Food - Paleo Plus Dogs First
Pic courtesy of thehappypuppysite.com

 

Of all stone-causes though, the one that makes the headlines the most is a diet high in purines. Too much purine in the diet can result in a higher level of uric acid and too much uric acid can result in kidney stones. Meat, sadly, is purine heavy, certainly organ meats. This is why Paleo Plus Special Diet contains only 2% of each organ addition, the minimum, in my opinion, that a dog should be given long term (if you don’t want other health issues down the line). As well as dropping organ content to the floor and carefully considering what meats are used etc, Special Diet mix by Paleo Ridge has an estimated purine content of around 135.4 total purines in mg uric acid/100g (based on this fab purine chart published on a Dalmatian website), significantly lower in purine than any meat and pre-made raw out there, as far as I can see (excluding vegetarian diets for dogs).

HOWEVER, please note that if you are a Dalmatian owner concerned for purine contents or if your dog is actively suffering stones, of course you can drop this figure significantly by adding say an extra 20-40% veg, whatever your vet advises (but then veg is high in oxalates etc) or carbs (which can cause crystals in cats).

It’s such a delicate balancing act and so far outside my remit to comment further here. I strongly urge you to speak to a vet that has studied nutrition (you will know you these as they won’t be recommending a DRY diet for your pet with kidney issues). I can only go by the published literature and there is nothing on fresh-fed dogs. Even the Dalmatian website above doesn’t tell me what an acceptably low purine diet in dogs might be (let alone the above discussion concerning healthy, raw fed Dalmatians). If you know more, please let me know, I’m very eager to learn more.

Then there’s the Paleo Plus packaging…

Honestly, check out that packaging. A proper tub made from plant fibre. Even the ink is OK for your compostable bin. Nor do they use polystyrene to get it to you, it comes packed in sheep’s wool (WoolCool). Every single aspect of this product is pure class.

What I Learned Formulating The Worlds Finest Raw Dog Food - Paleo Plus Dogs First

Finally, there’s the company itself…

You have to hand it to them, Paleo Ridge put out great stuff which is likely why they are the UK’s favourite raw pet food company (voted by customers, last two years in a row). While DEFRA approved and organically certified, this company actively seeks out ways to challenge itself because they want to stand out. In particular, they just recently they announced they received their ISO accreditation. For those of you outside of manufacturing, that is one very, very, very hard thing to get. It’s the gold star in the manufacturing industry. These guys go everything you say and do, all your products, your premises. It’s the highest form of audit you can put yourself through, and it can take years to get. Imagine going looking for that. But Paleo Ridge felt they had to. That’s the measure of them. They’re not bullshitting when they say they use good quality meat. Their nutrient contents are on point. They are fastidious about their micro. The fact is, if you go to all this trouble to put out great food, it’s going to cost a little more so folk they need to stand out from the rest. In the murky world of pet food manufacturing, this company is doing everything it can to stand out. As we saw with the AAFCO example above until now it has been a race to the mediocre, to the minimum requirement. There is a sea change happening, lead by companies like this, where dogs are no longer getting a raw deal (ahem).

That’s why Paleo Ridge is one of the best pet food companies out there. And now, thanks to something I was lucky enough to have a hand in, they almost certainly have one of the finest ranges of raw dog food to go with that claim. I’m feeling quite proud looking at the finished product here in front of me and I’m looking forward to giving the entire range to Dudley in the coming weeks.

Where to buy Paleo Plus…

Paleo Plus comes in 500g tubs and ranges at price from £2.90 to £3.20 per tub. You can bet your bottom dollar it is coming to all stores, you can bet your bottom dollar on that. The good news, comparing it to the top range of raws out there, it’s not even close to the most expensive, which is a serious feat of souring on Paleo Ridge’s behalf.

UK customers – you can check out the new range of Paleo Plus from the Paleo Ridge HQ here, they have 20% off for customers for the rest of the week.

Irish and Northern Irish customers – you need to get yourself to www.storganics.ie. They are Ireland’s cheapest supplier of Paleo Ridge (and they also don’t use WoolCool boxes). They are offering 10% off the rest of the entire Paleo Ridge range until the end of October and their Paleo Plus lands in two days!

Dr. Conor Brady

After a doctorate studying the effects of nutrition on the behaviour and gut morphology of animals, five years with Guide Dogs as a trainer and supervisor, some success on Dragons Den with the finest raw dog food company and the last few years both writing and speaking on canine nutrition and health, I can say with some confidence that the pet food and drug industry cares not a jot for the health of your pet.
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