Lifestyle - Can Your Dog Be A Vegan

Can Your Dog Be A Vegan
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One in three pet-owners keen to feed their animals a vegan diet

Veganism has been on the rise among humans for a while, but new research shows the trend has started to gain momentum in the animal kingdom. A survey of more than 3,670 dog and cat owners from around the world found that 35 per cent are interested in putting their pets on a vegan diet while 27 per cent of respondents who follow a vegan diet themselves have already done so. More than half (55 per cent) said that certain measures would need to be met in order for them to commit to changing their pet’s diets, such as gaining veterinarian approval and ensuring their animal’s nutritional needs are met.

Going Vegan Diet – Definition

A purely vegan diet is free from any animal source of food, including the dairy like milk and cheese, not good for dogs anyway. Also, no egg is on a vegan diet. Most of all, NO MEAT in the average daily food consumption.

Can dogs stay healthy on a Vegetarian Diet?

Dogs are naturally born carnivorous (“… derive energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of animal tissue… “), but, due to the domestication by man, it seems man’s best buddy turns to be more omnivores metabolically.

We usually feed our dogs with biscuits of commercially available dog food. A balanced formula approved by the Veterinary Medicine specialized in Animal Nutrition. These dog foods are well-studied and have the equally divided amount of calories, vitamins, and minerals. They comprise the basic need of a certain breed, size, and type of dog.

Therefore, is it really possible to feed our dogs with a purely vegan diet?

The Dog Physiology

Our dogs from puppyhood to adulthood need protein (more than human do) to achieve the proper size. Dogs belong from the order Carnivora, but due to human intervention, they are now omnivores (“…have the capability to obtain chemical energy and nutrients from materials originating from plant and animal origin”). Nowadays, meat, beef, eggs and other animal source by-products are added to our dog’s diet. These give the basic needs for amino acids, fats, protein, etc.

Protein is the foundation in the formation of tissues and even bodily enzymes and hormones. Therefore the lesser the amount of protein on food intake, the higher the chance for our dogs to not achieve full size or experience stunted growth. A dog’s anatomy is destined to grow based on its genes and support by physiology with the proper and adequate amount of diet.

Are There Benefits of Being a Vegan Dog?

In humans, there are lots of benefits being a vegan. In our dogs, vegan diets have advantages as well:

It gives natural fibres which aid in a good bowel movement for dogs. But too high fibre is not good for dogs. It may induce super peristalsis movement causing diarrhoea, like in the case of avocado’s effects in Dogs.

The natural soothing effect for gastrointestinal system. The flora in the intestine is usually destroyed due to chemicals present in a commercially available dog food and antibiotics residue.

This diet gives little to no dental trouble for our dogs.

It helps lessen the chance of Food Allergic Reaction (FAR).

Plants have natural anti-inflammatory, antibiotics, anthelmintic and antioxidants properties.

The Vegan Dog Diet Warning

However, there are things you need to consider if you plan your dog to go vegan:

Vegan causes imbalanced dog nutrition, although veggies have nutrients and minerals. It is not enough to feed the satiety centre of the dog.

The Vitamin D2 present in plants is less needed compare to Vitamin D3 in meat and animal by-product present in commercially available dog foods and raw dog food diets.

Taurine from the animal by-products is needed for cardiac muscle. It is not present in any vegan diet for dogs. Long-term absence of Taurine may cause Cardiomyopathy (“…diseases that affect the heart muscle.”) and Cardiac (Heart) failure.

Calcium from bone meals which again comes from other animal by-products is needed for a number of functions in our dog’s body. From muscle contractions to bone formation. Lack of Calcium causes multiple numbers of diseases.

Some veggies can cause intoxication in dogs either in minimal or large amount (e.g., onion, garlic, grapes are total NO-GOs for dogs!))

If you don’t know about the phytochemical composition of edible plants, you could miss out on essential nutrients, such as calcium, iron and vitamin B12.

Before turning your dog into vegan, you need to do these:

  • Don’t turn puppies aged < 1 yr old to vegan. They won’t achieve the growth and development they are supposed to.
  • Consider plant food sources that are safe for your dogs. Remove toxic veggies like onions, garlic, grapes, etc.
  • Consult a veterinarian before feeding your dog a homemade vegan diet. Ask them for recommendations and additional safeguards.
  • At least 1/3 to 1/2 of our dog’s meal should give quality protein. The other portion can be a combination of grains, raw and cooked vegetables, as well as supplemental items.

Dog Vegan Diet List of Plant Sources

In case you want to pursue Vegan diets for your dog, here are some great sources of doggie nutrition:

Protein – High-quality protein sources include legumes – soy beans, lentils, and split peas, peas. Other high-protein foods include tofu, TVP, hummus, garbanzo beans (ground/blended).

Carbohydrate – Rice (brown or white), quinoa, oats, barley and corn grits or blended fresh corn kernels.

Enzymes and Beta Carotene can come from pumpkin, squash, yams, carrots, and also other small bits of broccoli, brussels sprouts, cooked cabbage, grated raw carrot, beetroot, sprouts, and dark leafy greens (should be finely chopped and mixed in well).

Oils and Fatty Acids – Available in sesame seed, flax seed oil or ground flax seeds.

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