Is it Possible for a Dog to Be a Vegetarian?

Vegan and vegetarian diets and lifestyles are becoming more popular throughout the world. But is this something we can spread to our dogs, when they're natural meat-eaters?
Is it Possible for a Dog to Be a Vegetarian?

Last update: 17 December, 2018

If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you know it’s more than just a diet, it’s a lifestyle. So, you might want your dog to be one too. However, we all know that animals aren’t the same as people, and they need different kinds of nutrition. So, you’ve probably found yourself asking whether it’s healthy and/or possible for a dog to be a vegetarian.

You’re not the only person who has thought of it, either. There are at least 50,000 known vegan dogs in the UK, and twice as many in the US.

How are there vegetarian dogs?

dogs eating apples

The number of vegetarian dogs has a strong link to the number of vegetarian owners. Because being a vegetarian is often more of a lifestyle based on moral principles, it’s not surprising that an owner would want their dog to be the same way. 

The countries with the most vegetarians are the US and many European countries. So, these also have the largest numbers of vegetarian dogs. But what exactly do people get out of making a dog become a vegetarian? They humanize them!

Is it really possible to humanize a dog through vegetarianism?

Many experts say that an owner’s ideals often make them want to make their pets part of a worldwide view that doesn’t always line up with their needs. Roberto Élices, a Complutense University of Madrid professor of the school of veterinary science, has explained it well:

Pet owners have a tendency to involve their own desires and life philosophy in their pet’s diet. This often means they forget about their pet’s real needs.

His point of view is a bit strange when it comes to deciding what your dogs get to eat, without really considering their nutritional needs.

Taking the vet’s recommendations into consideration

You should always consult with your vet before you make a decision about whether or not your dog is going to be a vegetarian.

Experts say that there’s no evidence of a vegetarian diet impacting a dog’s health either positively or negatively. They also say that it’s okay to give a dog a vegetarian diet because there are already plenty of cases of it, and there don’t seem to have been any major issues. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s what’s best for your pet.

If you’re going to have your dog become a vegetarian, you still need to give them kibble with all the necessary vitamins and nutrients for good health.

So, how do you figure out what’s the best vegetarian diet for your dog? As mentioned earlier, you should talk to your vet. After he/she picks out a good food for your dog, they’ll keep track of your dog’s health to make sure there are no major negative changes.

dog and food

Can your dog become a vegetarian?

Alfonso de Las Heras, a consultant for ANFAAC (the Spanish association of pet food producers), says that “a dog can be on a vegetarian diet as long as it has nutritional supplements to fill in the gaps of a plant-based diet.”

So, can your dog become a vegetarian? The simple answer is: yes. But ultimately it depends a lot on their health, age, and having a vet keep track of their health to make sure they don’t have any major issues.

Never do anything that could jeopardize your pet’s health. Always consult with professionals and make sure you’re ready to spend the extra money on making sure your dog has a full, balanced diet.

Do you want your dog to become a vegetarian? Follow our advice and you can certainly pull it off while keeping your dog strong, healthy, and happy.