Do Vegetarian Dogs Exist?

June 1, 2018

Even if it seems strange, there are vegetarian dogs in many countries. The highest rate of dogs that are obligated to follow this type of diet is in the United States and the United Kingdom. Is it good for a pet to follow the same diet or philosophy as his owner? You will find the answer to that in this article.

Vegetarian owners, vegetarian dogs

A bored Labrador next to a refrigerator full of produce

The main reason pets don’t eat certain foods is because they don’t like them. By remembering that dogs are naturally omnivores and cats are carnivores, you can understand why animal nutrition experts indicate that you shouldn’t stop giving them all the nutrients they need, even if their owners don’t eat them.

Physiologically speaking, dogs’ teeth are designed to cut, tear, and break apart meat or animals. They don’t have molars, which are for eating vegetables. In regard to the digestive system, their stomach is designed to digest raw meat. Therefore, it doesn’t have the stomach acid that are meant for vegetables.

Some people who become vegetarians, for whatever reason, probably apply their own meat restrictions on pets. In certain countries where many people don’t eat meat provide vegetarian or vegan dog food.

However, giving a dog a diet that lacks certain ingredients (especially meat) can be a huge mistake. This is another example of “humanization.” This is when owners treat their pet like a person; thus, he must follow the same diet as a human.

When it comes to a dog or cat’s diet, there is a tendency to mix concepts. It’s not about the owner’s desires or philosophy, but rather the animal’s needs. It’s interesting how owners decide what their pet can or cannot eat, only due to own understanding and their lack of interest to being advised from those who know best (such as veterinarians).

What do doctors say about vegetarian dogs?

Right now there are not any credible studies showing that a vegetarian diet is good or bad for animals. Even though your dog can be vegetarian and nothing bad will happen to his health, that doesn’t mean it’s recommended.

When selecting a dog food, make sure it provides all the vitamins and other components necessary for his health. A dog can be on a meatless diet as long as it’s supplemented by additives that have nutrients, which plant-based raw materials don’t.

If a person decides their dog will be a vegetarian, it’s very important to seek advice from the vet first. The doctor will suggest what type of dog food would be the healthiest and which fruits and vegetables are edible. They can also indicate when the dog must go back to having an omnivorous diet (pregnancy, old age, illness).

Take good care of vegetarian dogs

vegetarian dogs eating apples

Keep in mind, a dog cannot become a vegetarian overnight, even if his owner did. Dogs are routine animals, so any changes need to take place gradually. Therefore, you can start taking away meat little by little or add extra vegetables, rice, etc.

You should also keep in mind, at the beginning your dog probably won’t accept the new meatless food. If he ate beef, chicken, or turkey every day, and suddenly he comes across a plate of carrots, chard, and zucchini, the taste might seem “awkward” to him.

So, if you want your pet to be vegetarian, you must gradually introduce the change into his diet. You must also understand that if he doesn’t like the current food, it’s because he doesn’t understand why you changed it.

If you don’t eat meat, you can give meatless dog food to your pet, without having to be in contact with the ingredients. Even if it’s your life philosophy, your dog shouldn’t have to pay the consequences. After having changing his diet, check if he is more tired or has less energy and strength. This could be a sign that he is lacking nutrients that vegetables do not provide.