(PET HEALTH) Can dogs be vegetarians? Yes, answer many veterinarians. Learn more about a vegetarian diet for pets in this question-and-answer session with Verona Rebow, a dog expert and author of Vegetarian Dogs. —Global Animal
Q: Is feeding my dog Vegetarian Food safe and healthy?
A: Can dogs live healthy and active lives on a vegetarian or vegan diet? Yes! In fact, dogs can thrive on a vegetarian, or vegan diet, regardless of age, breed, or being genetically predisposed to any particular ailments. The fact is that it’s 100% safe for ANY dog to subsist on an exclusively vegetarian or vegan diet, provided you follow the guidelines, as illustrated in this book.
We have fed numerous dogs a completely vegetarian (vegan) diet for over 20 years now. All of our dogs have thrived and showed no evidence of malnutrition . In most cases, the dogs lived well beyond their normal life expectancy! Furthermore, numerous studies cited throughout this book give support to this practice.
There is no scientifically known reason why dogs cannot live full, healthy lives on an exclusively vegetarian diet or vegan diet. Some suggest more widespread benefits from a vegetarian diet: “Dogs would benefit in health and temperament worldwide… Such a diet would also greatly reduce the risks of cancer, strokes, heart attacks, and other common diseases and disorders. “–Michael W. Fox, D.V.M.
Changes in temperament can be correlated with the increase of norepinephrine. Dr. Judith J. Wurtman of MIT notes: “Carbohydrate foods are relaxing, reducing stress and anxiety…Lean meat, in contrast, is one of the foods that stimulates brain chemicals such as dopamine and norepinephrine, which have log been linked to the fright, flight, or fight reactions…”
Q: What about meat?
A: Firstly, dogs are omnivores, not carnivores. Hence, as is the case with humans, it is not necessary for dogs to eat meat. Remember, there is nothing magical about meat. Meat contains high amounts of proteins, amino acids, iron and B-vitamins, among other things, which can be derived entirely from plant-based sources. Therefore, as this book will teach you, with proper feeding and supplementation, adequate nutrition is 100% attainable through a vegetarian diet.
In fact, a vegetarian diet may help avoid suffering and the many potentially detrimental health effects (e.g., diseases, cancer, etc.) of consistent exposure to commercial meat-based food products. This is to due to chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, improper nutrition, herbicides, and other toxins farm animals are commonly exposed to on a daily basis.
Q: Proper K-9 nutrition is not related to a Meat-based diet?
A: The question of proper nutrition is not related to whether or not the diet contains animal products, but rather if it contains sufficient amounts/proportions of a variety of nutrients. According to the National Research Council, (NRC), “Dogs require specific nutrients, not specific feedstuffs.”
Remember, there is nothing magical about meat. Although dogs have higher protein requirements than humans, hormones/antibiotics founds in many commercial meats, unless explicitly specified, pose a potentially greater risk of disease and cancer for your dog. Moreover, an exclusively meat-based diet may be outright dangerous, given the risk of potential impurities found in many commercial meats as explained.
The absence of impurities may make for healthy meal for your dog, but remember, there are other great reasons to not promote the plights of the animal slaughter food production industry: for example, have you considered how world hunger could be ended with vegetarianism? Think about how much grass, or corn (cows by the way, develop intestinal disease as a result of being corn fed, which is the cheapest way to nourish a cow), is required to feed any given cow, before it is finally brought to its brutal death, after having spent its life trampling on its own feces and eating food that makes it ill.
Q: What about Commercial Vegetarian vs. Home-Made meals?
A: Some suggest that a good scratch-made meal may be more beneficial than one prepared from the commercial varieties, as Todd Metcalf, D.V.M., writes: “As a general trend, I would say dogs appear to do better on well made, home-made diets.” Although we encourage incorporating both dry and wet commercial vegetarian dog foods, we strongly suggest not maintaining your dog exclusively on either a kibble or canned food diet, regardless of brand, whether or not the product is meat or soy- based .
This is not to say we believe commercial pet foods are good or bad, or that there is a lack of difference in quality between products; rather, we feel that by including wet and dry commercial products into your home made meals, allows for providing a greater variety of taste and texture; as this book will teach you. A never changing diet can easily lead to an undesirable and less than ideal PH chemistry of your animal companion. A PH level which is too acidic is a breeding ground for all cancers, viruses, and so on.
Also, remember that most all commercial vegetarian dog foods are soy-based. Regrettably, the majority of all soy crops farmed worldwide, is largely non-organically farmed, and thus may also pose various health risks. For example, conventionally farmed soy plants in America are farmed from inception to be immune to Roundup , an especially dangerous herbicide.
Q: What about the “Pet” Food Recalls?
A: There have been an alarming and increasing number of commercial dog food recall incidents as of late. In many cases, even the most reputable companies were forced to withdraw many products. All the more reason, for the safety of your animal companion, to purchase this book! Vegetarian Dogs not only gives you nutritional guidelines and recipes, but explains how to create your own. The most up to date information on ‘Pet’ Food Recalls can be found on the FDA’s website.