Vegan diet and lifestyle have become very popular. Many of us want to avoid eating meat for a variety of reasons. Some want to stop eating meat because it is good for the environment.
A lot of vegan owners of dog wonder, “Can dogs be vegan?” There is a lot to discuss. A vegan diet can offer to us many health benefits, but dogs have different nutritional needs. There are pro et contra comments on this topic. Just because we have certain beliefs does not mean our dogs ’digestive system will adapt to them. Here is what you should know about whether dogs can be vegan.
Can dogs eat a vegan diet?
Dogs can survive on a vegan diet, but that does not mean they should. Many dog owners and the general public consider dogs to be carnivores. This would mean that dogs must eat meat to survive. Although dogs belong to the species Carnivora (meaning carnivores), dogs are actually omnivores. Here are few statements about this;
• Dogs have teeth that are designed to grind bones and plant material.
• The dog’s small intestine makes up 23% of the total gastrointestinal volume. This is characteristic of omnivores.
• Dogs are capable to transform beta carotene to vitamin A, and beta carotene exists in plants.
• Dogs can digest almost all the carbohydrates they consume.
Why should dogs become vegans?
If dogs let them the freedom to choose, they will never voluntarily abandon a meat-based diet. They love the taste of meat, and as far as we know, dogs are not environmentalists who care about the wealth fare of our planet. There are two possible reasons why dogs become vegans or vegetarians;
• Food allergies
• Assurance of their owner
As we said before, dogs love to eat meat, and a complete dog diet should include it. Let’s take a closer look at the two main reasons dogs could eat a vegan diet.
Dogs may be allergic to certain nutrients in their food. People are most often allergic to things like gluten, dairy or soy. However, dogs are rarely allergic to the same things as us. Dogs have allergy to animal proteins. If this is the case, your vet may advise you to look for a high quality vegan diet.
Assurance of the owner
Deciding to become vegan is one of our personal rights. There are a lot reasons why you should consider this, but mostly because there are undeniable health benefits that a vegan diet gives us. However, our personal beliefs should not affect our dog’s diet. They are what they are, and numerous studies prove that dogs are the healthiest on a diet that includes meat.
Is a vegan diet dangerous for dogs?
The first problem most owners who want to put their dogs on a vegan diet is the following – preparing a vegan diet that includes all the necessary nutrients is extremely difficult, if not impossible, even for most experienced and professional dog nutritionists. Plants are a fantastic source of antioxidants and vitamins, but they do not contain enough fat and protein. When plants are added to a dog’s diet that includes meat, the dog will absolutely thrive. If you decide to put your dog on a vegan diet is may be risky to say the least.
What if my dog cannot eat animal protein?
If you and your vet have noticed that your dog has dietary restrictions, and your vet has performed tests to determine exactly what your dog is allergic to, there are several options you can do without risking your dog’s health and well-being. Commercial food from questionable suppliers and their treatment of animals are not the only options. Here are some things you can do if your dog cannot eat animal protein;
• If your dog is allergic to, say, chicken, you can choose dog food that does not contain that allergen. There are high quality options such as salmon, turkey, beef, lamb, bison, game, etc. Talk to your vet and find out which is the best option.
• Investigate which pet food brands support humane treatment of animals and sustainable breeding. If you do not eat meat because of cruelty to animals, you can always choose a manufacturer that is in line with your beliefs.
• Switch to homemade dog food. You can analyze the work of your local farmers and check how they treat their animals. Another benefit is that you are able to control all the ingredients that go into your dog’s food.
• Compromise. If you are worried that eating so much meat will have an impact on the environment, and you want to do everything you can to reduce your personal impact – make a compromise. You can organize meat-free days for your dog where he will eat vegan or vegetarian options. This is also a great way to detoxify them.
Is there commercial vegan dog food?
The good news is that there are some suitable vegan dog food options. You can choose from a variety of manufacturers, but before you do, check with your vet. They can tell you everything you need to know about your dog’s digestion, nutritional needs and dog food options.
VET TIP: If you are absolutely determined to put your dog on a vegan diet, don’t do it alone. Talk to a professional canine nutritionist or your veterinarian. It is extremely difficult to include all the nutrients your dog needs and get them from plants.