Vegan Dog Diet vs. Omnivorous Dog Diet

Kibble vs. real food.The option of vegan or vegetarian dog food is now available to pet owners. Brands include but are not limited to Avo Derm, Evangers, Natural Balance and Wysong. If you’re living a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle and have experienced health benefits from your decision, you might be considering switching your dog over too. However, what do you know about your dog’s anatomy and physiology? Maybe a strict vegan diet is not the best option. As with any health choice, it has both pros and cons.

When it comes to dog food, the options range far and wide. There is the raw diet, homemade dog food, holistic, organic, frozen, dry, wet, etc. As you’re perusing the aisles, all of these choices probably make you wonder whether you’re feeding your dog the right thing. Before you rethink your decision to feed your dog an omnivorous diet (balance of meats and vegetables), it’s beneficial to understand your dog’s body and how it processes food.

Dogs and cats are classified as carnivores, because of their physical traits. However, dogs consume both meat and plant matter, which make them omnivores, and unlike cats they can survive without meat for awhile. Dogs have sharp teeth, which are meant to rip into flesh, and they also have a short intestinal tract for digesting meat. Dogs are different than cats in that they will eat whatever they find to survive; whereas, cats are more hunting driven.

The cons of feeding your dog a vegetarian or vegan diet is that you can’t ask your pet whether he/she is okay with it. Plus, with any diet change, you can never be sure of the health risks. Some dogs might live a long, healthy and happy life on a vegetarian/vegan diet while others might process the food differently. Just like humans, every pet might react differently. It’s also challenging to ensure that your dog is getting its required amount of vitamins and minerals, especially B12, so you will need to feed your dog supplements in addition to the food.

A significant advantage of a vegan diet is that your pet will not be exposed to the hormones, pesticides and antibiotics that are present in the meat used in commercial pet food. There are potential short-term and long-term side effects from consuming these chemicals and drugs. Bacterial contamination is also a factor with any meat products that you need to be concerned about too. In addition, a diet without animal products or by-products could be a beneficial alternative if your pet has allergies to certain meats or fillers.

Transitioning your pet to a vegetarian or vegan diet should be a gradual and monitored process. Choose a high quality vegan pet food and even discuss this decision with your veterinarian. It’s helpful to keep a daily diary for your dog, so you can record any changes in his/her skin, hair, bladder and bowel movements, behavior, level of energy, etc. Or you can take smaller steps and treat your dog to a vegan biscuit or cookie while still maintaining an organic omnivorous diet. Whichever option you choose, your pet’s health and well-being should be at the top of the list.

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6 Responses

  1. Trudy
    | Reply

    Hi there,
    I am working on a vegan dog and cat website. Yours came up in my google search.
    Thanks for your balanced information.

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