Dog owners who are vegetarians themselves (and even some veterinarians) want to include their canine family members in their choice of diet.
While I can see how this would be very important to vegetarian dog owners, the biggest question I have is, is it really healthy for your dog?
Vegan vs Meat
The fact is that it really depends on who you ask as to whether or not a vegetarian diet is considered a good choice for your dog.
I personally tend to go with the idea that you should feed your dog similar the same kinds of foods he would choose if he were in the wild.
Now I mean this within reason, as we all know that roadkill that’s been sitting on the side of the road for a day or two might be reasonable food to a wild dog, yet it’s probably not a good idea for our domesticated dog to consume such a diet.
The point I am making is that wild dogs eat both. They don’t go around just eating plants (although they can and will eat plants sometimes) or looking for berries and nuts while passing up the local jack rabbit that hops by.
Because of this, my feeling is treating your dog like the carnivore he is makes more sense than trying to turn him into a vegetarian.
Reasons That Vegan Diets Aren’t For All Dogs
The biggest problem with putting your dog on a vegetarian diet is in many ways the same challenge that humans who are on a vegetarian diet face, and that is that you have to be sure and supplement what they are eating.
Most homemade vegetarian diets leave the human and the dog with something lacking. So, if you do decide to put your dog on a homemade vegetarian diet, you need to be sure and supplement his diet with vitamin B12, carnitine and taurine, calcium, phosphorus, zinc and other vitamins and minerals. Otherwise, your dog could develop serious health problems.
Reasons To Consider A Vegetarian Diet For Your Dog
- alleviation of allergies
- longer life span
- a reduction in the occurrence of cancer
- fewer heart, bone and kidney problems
Case in point: one dog named Bramble, who was a border Collie, was fed a vegan diet and lived to be 27 years old. So there is some supporting evidence that shows feeding your dog a healthy homemade vegetarian diet can both prolong their life and keep them healthy.
However, keep in mind that puppies have more demanding nutritional needs than full-grown dogs do. So if you’re trying a vegetarian diet with a puppy, it’s really important to consult a pet nutritionist to be sure your puppy does not miss out on key supplements he may need to thrive and grow while on a homemade vegetarian diet.
Whether you opt for a diet based only on plants or one based on a combination of meat and plants, I think choosing to make your own dog food is a really good idea — especially with all the recent dog food recalls.
I’d rather know exactly what my dog is eating and know that he is safe, rather than take a chance with anything found on store shelves.
Check out all the best tips from someone who knows… Dr. Michael Selmer DVM wrote How To Make Your Own Dog Food.