Cats And Dogs - A Vegetarian Diet?

Narrated from: Dog Nutrition

When you look at your dog chewing on some meaty bone, you wouldn’t think that veggies are a natural diet.

There are some reasons for cats and dogs to be put on vegetarian diets though. Some of them are related to health problems, especially food allergies – there are cases when an animal will develop a strong allergy to some types of food, and the only method of alleviating or preventing this problem is a vegetarian diet. The other main reason is the same one that would make you go vegetarian – each year approximately 50 billion cows, pigs, sheep, chickens and other animals are slaughtered far more inhumanely than one would imagine.

But can a cat or a dog be put on a vegetarian diet?

The short answer is “yes”. But there are a lot of “buts”.

It is possible for a vegetarian diet to provide all the necessary nutrition for a cat or a dog - but it has to be carefully planned. In their natural environment cats and dogs wouldn’t have a green diet – but truth be told, they wouldn’t eat many of the ingredients stuffed in commercial pet food either.

There is vegetarian pet food on the market. It is a combination that should answer the nutritional needs of your animal. You shouldn’t try to construct your own diet – there are a lot of elements derived from meat that you wouldn’t be able to substitute, and your companion would get sick – or worse.

When you pick vegetarian food brands though, you still have to check them carefully and search for proven brands, bearing an AAFCO nutritional adequacy statement. This is especially important for cats – they are more strict carnivores than dogs and cannot live without some vital elements found in meat, such as taurine. Dog vegetarian foods on the other hand should contain ingredients such as oatmeal, pea protein, and potatoes, in order to supply the necessary protein.

You must also be aware of other health risks posed by vegetarian diets. Yes, if you go for vegetarian pet food, you will avoid many potentially hazardous substances contained in commercial dog food. A lot of people claim there are ingredients in dog food and kibbles that just aren’t good for your pet. But vegetarian food also poses threats – for instance, with dogs you should periodically check their urine, since a vegetarian diet could damage their urinary tract. It would be a good idea to introduce some supplements.

All in all, you decide whether to switch your pet to vegetarian diet. Cats and dogs CAN be vegetarian. If health reasons necessitate this – do not hesitate. Otherwise, you should really ask yourself if there is a serious reason to put your pet on an unnatural diet. If you are displeased with commercial food, you could consider the raw diet alternative, for instance.

If you do switch to vegetarian – be sure to pick either the right brand or the right recipe!

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