Vegetarian Dog Food?

Discussion in 'Pets and Animals' started by turtlefriend, May 8, 2007.

  1. turtlefriend

    turtlefriend Member

    Conundrum: I'm a dog lover and a vegetarian, working on the veganism. Mass-production of meat screws up the environment and gives the animals involved a shitty life. Not cool.

    But I love dogs. I've been looking into veggie dog food lately, for my dog, Willow, a five-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, but only looking. I'm not making picking anything up for my dog unless I'm sure it's safe. I have heard that some dogs are getting too much protein, and high protien is more nessicary for working dogs and puppies than your average house dog. At the same time, dogs do need protein, and it is easier to digest animal protein than protein from plants.

    Anyway, I was wondering if anyone out there had any experiences with vegetarian dog food (good or bad) to share.
  2. A dog if left in nature is going to hunt.. and by hunt i don't mean hunt for morels.. hes gonna eat mice, birds, other small rodents.. but he will also eat plants and grasses and such as well.. i don't think forcing your eating habits upon your dog is a good idea since in nature dogs are not vegetarians...
  3. MisterEm

    MisterEm Member

    Oddly enough, what can help your dog is if you make friends with hunters. I don't mean "sport" hunters; I mean the guys who actually hunt to eat. Apart from how they get their food, it's no different than getting a burger or steak from a grocery store or restaurant. The meat is aquired for "food".

    Perhaps you would still like to get store-bought meat if hunting goes against your belief system. My end suggestion is this: get some hamburger, or elk, buffalo, or deer meat and cook it a couple of times a week -- make it RARE. Add some pieces of home-made bread to it. Feed it to your dog. The rest of the time, for now, feed your dog regular dog food. That should be a good start.

    Along the way, figure out how expensive it would be to consistently buy meat at the store for your dog. This is where making friends with hunters comes in. Some of them might barter some meat for something like a 6-pack of beer, or perhaps if you decide to have a garden, trade some tomatoes and other veggies for some steaks.

    I've done a little research on the metabolism of dogs. They CAN take in a few raw carbohydrates, but they don't digest them nearly efficiently as humans do, so a vegetarian diet would not be good for your dog. Keep feeding him (her?) a protein-based diet. By the way, one of the hunters I know mixes corn in with the dog food.
    That seems to keep his dogs lean.

    Anyway, good luck with that.
  4. Grim

    Grim Wandering Wonderer

    Just because you're a vegetarian doesn't mean your dog is. You shouldn't force your dietary beliefs on an animal that is not, by nature, suited or inclined to be an herbivore. A wild dog eats meat, and it's a safe bet your dog prefers it too.
  5. Sage-Phoenix

    Sage-Phoenix Imagine

    Dogs are naturally omnivores. Every person I've known of with any decent knowlege of canine health recommends giving them vegetables (and some whole grains) in addition to meat.
    So they could do just fine on veg dog food, if it's nuritionally sound. In fact the oldest dog in the world is vegan.

    Our dog does eat meat based kibbles and such; but all the meat is free range, organic etc. So it's compromise between me and my omni folks.
    He also gets plenty of vegetables (e.g leftovers from dinner), and some rice mixed into his kibbles. All good far as he's concerned; 'food orientated' is a bit of an understatement.
  6. I have met 2 dogs who were vegetarians and I didn’t think they were that healthy or had enough energy.(and they were house dogs)Cheers!
  7. BadBlackDog

    BadBlackDog Member

    I have heard this from time to time but don't know how true it really is. Regardless, most dogs do very poorly on a vegetarian diet. Dr. Goldstein who is a respected holistic vet wrote about a vegan dog who died as a result of the diet in his book. The one dog I knew who was put on a vegetarian diet (he did get egg) looked horrible after just a few months - he seemed to have aged six years, was stiff moving, poor muscle condition, dull coated and inactive.

    Dogs are carnivores and as such are designed to eat a diet based on meat, bones and organs of prey animals. Their teeth, structure, behavior and digestive tract are those of a predator. People often mistaken them for omnivores due because they are scavengers - if the food supply gets low they will eat just about anything to survive including rotting meat, plants, dirt, tree bark and manure. That doesn't mean those things would make an ideal diet and certainly doesn't mean they would be healthy long term.

    This site explains in detail why dogs are not omnivores:

    There are plenty of animals which are meant to be vegetarians and can make nice pets. My suggestion is that if a person is so against handling or feeding meat to an animal they opt for a pet who's natural diet doesn't include meat. Naturally vegetarian pets would include rabbits, cavies, hamsters, gerbils, rats, chinchillas, degus, birds, llamas, alpacas, horses, sheep, goats/pgymy goats and chickens. Consider when reading that list - would you try to put a rabbit on a diet of meat? What about a horse? If not, why would you want to put a carnivore on a vegetarian diet?
  8. Elle

    Elle Senior Member

    I'm veg but my dog is not. Some say it's healthy for dogs to be on a veg diet and others oppose....I still don't know. I just know I'm not comfortable with the idea. I feed my dog a diet of free-range, organic "dog food" with fresh veggies. That's the best I feel I can do right now.
  9. Toby Stanley

    Toby Stanley Member

    I would say you are doing just fine with your free-range food diet and veggies for your dog. The fact that you are asking and researching the facts of an alternative diet prior to making any decision says much about your character and the love you have for your dog.

    I know whatever decision you might make, it will be the right one!
  10. Avocado Noni

    Avocado Noni Member

  11. imilia

    imilia Member

    Dogs are meat eaters but they also eat other things. I would check with a holistic vet to see what they recommend.
  12. benotfree

    benotfree Member

    WE had a dog come into the SPCA where I work and he was veggitarian, the owners surrendered him because he was sick and they couldnt afford the vet bills, we put him on the same food that all the other dogs are on, which has meat in it, and he perked up big time. Dogs are just not that great at being veggies.

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