So What Is The “Prey Model” Diet And Why Your Pet Needs A Balanced Diet To Thrive?

Cats and Dogs
November 10, 2020

So What Is The “Prey Model” Diet And Why Your Pet Needs A Balanced Diet To Thrive?

Prey Model Diet

A Prey Model Diet is one that a wolf, wild dog or cat eats. When they catch their food they will eat approximately 80% of the muscle meat, 10% of the bone, and 10% of the organs. This gives them the exact nutrition they need to survive and thrive. They also each the stomach of ruminating animals such as deer, which is packed with nutrients.

Just feeding your pet meat alone will NOT give them the right amount of nutrients they need.

Raw Food for Puppies: How to Feed Your Puppy on Natural Raw Food

Why Do Cats Need Meat/Bone/Organ Diet?

Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning that they need to eat meat to survive. There are a number of reasons why cats don’t do well on a vegan diet, but it all essentially comes down to this: they aren’t adapted to it. Feeding a cat a plant-based diet is a lot like feeding a cow a meat-based diet—their digestive system isn’t geared to handle it, and they will not thrive on it.

Cats also need Taurine. Taurine is an amino acid (the building blocks of protein) essential for cats. Taurine can only be found in animal sources such as meat, milk, etc. It is not found in plant sources. Taurine can be synthesized in humans and dogs, but cats are unable to do this and require a direct source from an animal product. Cats who are fed a vegan diet will often develop a deficiency of taurine because the diet doesn’t provide them with this essential amino acid. 

Cats with a taurine deficiency can develop a heart issue known as dilated cardiomyopathy or DCM. In cats with DCM, the heart muscle becomes very thin and weak, preventing them from pumping blood and supplying oxygen to the body normally. This is a fatal disease if not corrected early on. A lack of adequate taurine can also cause severe eye problems in cats, including blindness.

Cats require a diet high in protein. Plants simply don’t have high enough levels of high-quality, highly digestible protein to meet a cat’s dietary requirements.

Cats are not good at digesting carbohydrates. They don’t get much energy from them, and a carbohydrate-rich diet is not appropriate for cats. They need calorie dense options that meat provides.

The list below are the ingredients found in a ‘quality’ kibble. Notice how many cereals and high carbohydrate vegetables there are in this bag of kibble.

pet food label

The bottom line is that because cats are obligate carnivores, their gastrointestinal tracts and metabolism have adapted to eating meat. They can’t digest plant material well, and they require essential nutrients that only meat can provide to them. They aren’t adapted to digesting a plant-based diet, and meat absolutely needs to be on the table when you are feeding a cat.

Why Do Dogs A Need a Meat/Bone/Organ Diet?

Your dog needs to eat meat is based on amino acids. These building blocks of protein are required for a dog’s health, similar to humans.

Here are some basics about how protein works and why it’s so important for your dog:

  • A dog’s body uses amino acids to build different protein molecules, which then work to grow and maintain muscle, fur, and nails; produce hormones; transport nutrients; and aid in the functioning of the immune system. 
  • A dog needs about twenty common amino acids to build all the proteins it needs for health and vitality.
  • A dog’s body can break down protein into about half of the essential amino acids it needs. However, the other half cannot be created by the canine body, which means that the dog must consume them. This includes arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine

These ten essential amino acids are – yes – found in meat.

What Are Our Dogs And Cats Digestive Systems Designed To Eat?

Dogs and cats have a simple, very acidic gut, typical of a carnivore, designed to process large quantities of meat and bone. At its most acidic (during digestion) the dog’s gut can reach below pH1.0, equivalent to car battery acid, a level it can remain at for 5 hours. The average gastric pH of dogs ranges from pH1.5 to pH2.1 a couple of hours after consuming a meal when gastric juices would be in full flow. At this sort of acidity meat and bone is rapidly broken down, often reduced to chyme within an hour.

Chyme is the pulpy acidic fluid that passes from the stomach to the small intestine, consisting of gastric juices and partly digested food.

Furthermore, this acidic environment is inhospitable to all but the most specialized of microbiology, protecting healthy scavenging dogs from common meat-borne pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli. Great quantities of mucous protect the dog from doing itself damage.

Post-digestion the stomach will abruptly change to neutral, presumably to neutralise the corrosive acid before it hits the duodenum and intestines that are less equipped to withstand the corrosive power of a pH1 acid broth.

Data on dry-fed dogs cite the pH of food bolus to rise to a near-neutral pH6-7 in the duodenum but as high as pH 8.3 by the time it reaches the colon. It is well-established omnivores have less acidic digestive juices than carnivores due to their larger inclusion of alkaline-forming legumes and vegetables. Carnivores on the other hand spend their time eating protein and fat and the more protein in a meal, the lower the stomach pH. This is why so many kibble fed dogs have urinary tract issues, high carbs which are not a needed nutrient, and raise the pH.

And yes, absolutely the lower stomach acids of carnivores is enough to kill the hefty majority of ingested nasties. Hence even dry fed dogs can dig up a 3-month-old bone and pick away to no great harm.

Should Dogs Eat Raw Meat? | Daily Care Of A Dog | Dogs | Guide | Omlet UK

Not convinced yet? Let us Look At Their Teeth

Types of teeth In Cats & Dogs

The four types of teeth in small animals are as follows: incisor, canine, premolar, and molar. Nature designed each to serve a special function.


Incisors are named first, second and third (or central, intermediate, and lateral) based on their location in the mouth. There should be six incisors in the maxilla (upper jaw) and six in the mandible (lower jaw). Incisor teeth are used for shearing and grooming.


Normally, the lower canine should intersect the upper lateral incisor and upper canine.

Two large canine teeth are located in the mandible and two in the maxilla. The canines are designed to grasp and tear with great pressure.

Premolars and molars

Premolar teeth have sharp edges used for shearing. In the dog, there are four premolar teeth on either side of the upper and lower jaws. Dogs have four molars (2 on each side) in the upper jaw and six (3 on each side) in the lower. Molars have a flat surface used for grinding.

The cat has three premolars on each side of the upper jaw identified as second, third, and fourth; and two lower premolars on each side of the lower jaw called third and fourth. Cats have one upper and lower molar on each side.

So where Did Commercial Dry Pet Food Come From?

The world’s first commercial pet food was developed in 1860 by an electrician named James Spratt. After journeying from Ohio to the United Kingdom to sell lightning rods, Spratt noticed dogs along the riverbanks in Northern London eating leftover hardtack, the dry biscuit sailors ate on long trips. Made of flour, water, and occasionally salt, these inexpensive crackers were used by sailors in need of long-lasting, imperishable food during lengthy sea journeys. Spratt reasoned that dog owners were similarly in need of a shelf-stable option for their pets, so he ditched the electrician gig and set out on a new career path, creating the first biscuit for dogs.

Click here to find out more

How Can I Feed My Pet The Food It Was Designed To Eat?

There are two ways

  1. Source your own meat, bones and organs from various outlets and make up meals using the correct ratios. You will need a large freezer for this. If you do it this way it does keep the cost down but it takes time and a lot of shopping around for specials. If your pet has an allergy to farm animal proteins then this will be harder to do as you will need to find a source of novel protein such as Possum, Deer, Rabbit, Hare, Wallaby & Goat.
  2. Buy meat/bone/organ that is already in the correct ratios from specialised stores. This is a little bit more expensive but this way you do not have to spend time finding and creating your pets food.

At The Cats & Dogs Dinner Company, we have taken all the hard work out of feeding your pet. We have wild NZ meat blends (in the correct ratios) ready to go in frozen blocks that have no preservatives or additives added. If you buy our rabbit blend then you will get rabbit and nothing else.

Want to save time and buy pre-made Prey Model Diet meat blends and bones for your dog?

If you have any queries or questions you need answers to then give us a call on 0800 228 7263, we will be happy to help.

Cats are carnivores, meaning they eat meat – it's as simple as that. In the  wild, cats will catch and eat their prey, which … | Eating raw, Cat  nutrition, Beef meat