“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” -Gandhi
As per the saying, large numbers of people are changing their normal lifestyle to a vegan lifestyle with the hope of being healthier and happier. Being vegan has become a worldwide trend among all people to counter animal abuse and cruelty. It might be easy for humans to change their lifestyle and go vegan, it would be even better if your furry friend could join you along, right?
This leads us to the question, Can dogs be vegan?
The short answer to this question is yes and is proven by Cummings Veterinary Medical Centre at Tufts University; dogs can be vegan. The canine digestive systems is capable of digesting and deriving nutrients from some selected non- toxic fruits and vegetables. However, there is no proof that vegetarian diets provide health advantages for dogs and cats, and there is no particular reason to suggest that they should be focused on the genetics and dietary needs of these animals.
Can Dogs Be Vegan? Are Dogs Generally Vegan?
It is believed that dogs are carnivores, just like their wolf ancestors. This fact doesn’t mean that they need meat as their main diet to survive. According to Purina, “Many people believe dogs are carnivores. Dogs are omnivores, and even wolves in the wild derive nutrition from both plant and animal sources.” Despite belonging to the order Carnivora, dogs are omnivores. This information concludes that dogs aren’t generally vegan.
Why Do People Want Their Dogs to Go Vegan?
According to United States veterinarian Dr. Michael Fox, there are two main reasons people want their dogs to go vegan:
- The owner’s ethics
- The dog’s food allergies
Dogs allergic to meat-based foods are typically sensitive to specific animal proteins, and eliminating processed animal products from their diet can help them avoid these allergies.
Why Do Dogs Love Meat?
Your dog’s jaw, teeth, and length of the bowel have not evolved. Those sharp and pointed teeth are there for tearing flesh and crunching bones. Consuming meat and bones support the way dogs’ bodies act biologically. Their digestive systems need to be much more acidic than humans. Meat is an acidifying agent, whereas plants are usually alkalinizing. Your dog has an entirely different digestive system than yours. Dogs have shorter digestive tracts than those compared to humans and because of this, dogs digest meat much more quickly than we do. So, dogs love meat as they can digest meat easily.
Why Does My Dog Need Meat?
Brain, skins, eyeballs, penises, ears, and feet are some of the body parts of animals that are generally regarded as waste by the butcher. These body parts have tremendous nutritional value. Some of the nutrients that these body parts provide are as follows
- CoQ10, essential for the development of energy and cardiac activity
- B complex vitamins including folate and B12, necessary for cell membranes, brain and nerve function, cardiac health, and congenital disability prevention;
- Minerals, including iron that’s easy to absorb, as well as copper, chromium, and zinc
- Quality fats and oils
- Excellent protein
- Vitamin D, to help the immune system and help with calcium absorption
- Vitamin E, for circulation, tissue repair, healing, deactivation of free radicals, slowing aging
- Vitamin K2 for better blood coagulation.
- Amino acids for better growth.
How Can You Help Your Dog Be Vegan?
- Introduce new food to your dog slowly.
- Start by combining vegan food with meat-based foods they consume at the moment and gradually increase the vegan portion while decreasing meat-based food over a week or two.
- Not all dogs may do well. You may need to take precautions and measures if you notice digestive, skin, or other health difficulties.
- Try another brand or product and then go back to the previous diet if possible.
- Take an expert’s advice or consult your vet.
What Goes Well With My Dog’s Vegan Diet?
Your dog can safely enjoy a wide range of vegan-friendly foods, including:
- Carrots, broccoli, and other veggies
- Certain types of beans
- Some of the fruits like banana, tomato, blackberries, etc.
But remember, consult with a pet nutritionist to decide the necessary types and quantities of food and supplements to include all the nutrients required for your dog. Some of the popular vegan dog food brands that you can try out are:
- Halo Vegan Garden Stew
- Natural Balance Vegetarian Formula
- Wysong Vegan Dog Food
Do Vegan Dogs Live Longer?
According to v-dog,” These vegan diets are suitable for older dogs as they have strong anti-inflammatory properties. A vegan diet can aid with problems like arthritis and help them go on to survive in their late teens and early twenties — also in breeds with a much shorter life expectancy.”
Bramble held the Guinness World Record of being the oldest dog in the world. She lived for 25 years which is equal to 189 dog years. Bramble served as a veggie-loving puppy, with an entirely vegetarian diet of organic vegetables, corn, rice, and lentils. With a proper vegan diet that provides all the necessary supplements, your dog can live longer.
Why a Vegan Lifestyle Is Not So Good for Your Dog?
Producing meat-free food for your dog that contains all the necessary supplement nutrients is extremely difficult even for a licensed veterinary nutritionist. While the canine digestive system can synthesize nutrition from a plant-based diet, it has a much easier time processing animal matter. Also, plants lack the necessary proteins that animal meat provides.
The bottom line is that if you’re applying a vegan lifestyle for your dog, it must be done very carefully under the guidance and supervision of a licensed veterinary nutritionist. It is because, with negligence, it could lead your dog to severe health complications and malnutrition.
However, if you’re a vegan and are still insisting on adopting a vegan lifestyle for your dog, here are some things that might help:
- Talk to your vet about your concerns. Maybe they will guide you to what you can do next.
- Take advice from someone who has raised a vegan dog before.
- Consider compromising by feeding your pup a fish-based product.
- Sometimes your dog should retain their previous meat-based diet.
- Consult a licensed vet nutritionist to develop a proper vegan diet plan for your puppy.
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