Can Your Pets Stay Healthy On A Vegetarian Diet?

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For a vegetarian owner, feeding their pets meat can feel unethical. In a meat-free home, it’s not easy to grow accustomed to cooking meat for your pets. Apart from morality issues, many vegetarian owners find the smell and feel of meat downright disgusting. But because everyone wants the best for their pets, they might put their problems aside and continue to feed their animals meat. However for owners who struggle with the dissonance of being vegetarian, but continuing to feed their pets meat, questions might arise over how necessary meat is for a happy, healthy pet.

Dogs Do Just Fine On A Vegetarian Diet

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Here’s a piece of good news for vegetarian dog owners. Your dog doesn’t really need meat to survive. While dogs are commonly thought to be full-fledged carnivores, they’re actually omnivorous. Your dog’s body has the ability to convert amino acids from certain food sources into other kinds of amino acids their body needs. In other words, your dog can function perfectly well on non-meat protein sources. However, it’s important to understand that the kind of vegetarian diet discussed here is one that includes eggs and milk and not a pure vegan diet. A dog can technically do fine on a vegan diet too as long as you include plenty of plant-based protein sources like soy and beans. However, vegan diets are usually not recommended for dogs since it’s difficult to feed them the right amounts of each food group and some dogs are allergic to these foods.

Feed More Eggs To A Vegetarian Dog

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So what do you feed a vegetarian dog? Eggs. On a meat-free diet, eggs are your dog’s best friend. They have the highest concentration of all the amino acids your dog needs. Eggs are also universally loved by dogs, so your pooch won’t miss meat too much if he’s given plenty of eggs at every meal. Other meat-free sources of protein include lentils, quinoa, soy and broccoli. If you’re trying to make your dog go vegetarian, be prepared for some initial resistance. Dogs who have been fed meat all their lives will feel disgruntled when they realize there’s no meat to accompany their meals anymore. To make the switch easier, incorporate vegetarian food slowly into their diets and gradually wean them off meat. If you’re planning on buying vegetarian commercial dog food, make sure it comes from a trusted brand and has all the necessary approvals. While vegetarian diets might be great for your adult dog, it’s not the best option for a growing puppy. At this stage, a puppy needs all the nutrients he can get to develop properly. So don’t force him into being a vegetarian until he’s full grown.

Cats Shouldn’t Be Put On A Vegetarian Diet

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If you’re a vegetarian cat owner, then you and your kitty won’t be sharing the same diet any time soon. Cats are complete carnivores and can get their nutrients only from meat sources. The reasons why cats can’t go on a vegetarian diet but dogs can, comes down to how their body processes amino acids. The amino acid taurine is an essential building block of protein. Dogs can convert amino acids in non-meat proteins into taurine and utilize this. However, cats can’t convert other amino acids into taurine. For them, taurine is an essential amino acid which they need to get from the food they eat. Since taurine is available only in meat, cats who are deprived of meat can develop serious, often fatal, health conditions. So put your own belief systems aside and continue to feed your cat meat, because she can’t survive without it.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

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