Expert debate on whether you can feed your dog a vegan diet

This month, more people than ever are switching to vegetarian and vegan diets by participating in vegan .

Driven by animal welfare concerns, the environmental impact of the meat industry, or simply to enjoy the health benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, these foodies are welcoming new products and substitutes. meat in their diet.

If you have recently reduced your meat intake or have been vegan for a long time, you may have reservations about buying animal products for your dog.

Research is currently underway to find out if dogs can or should be fed vegan diets.

Pet health specialist Bob Martin weighs in on the debate and breaks down the facts.

Carnivorous or omnivorous?

Generally, dogs are considered the archetypal carnivores. However, recent studies found that canids are actually omnivores, so they can eat both plants and animals to survive.

Interestingly, cats are actually more dependent on animal protein in their diet than dogs. With shorter intestinal tracts and their use throughout history as parasite controllers, cats still hunt often and have strayed less from their carnivorous diet than dogs.

Dogs can therefore switch to a plant-based diet much more easily than our feline friends.

Dogs are actually omnivores so they can eat both plants and animals to survive.

Essential nutrients

Just like when humans decide to go vegan or vegetarian, the main concern is how to get enough protein.

There is a risk that vegan diets may not provide enough amino acids like taurine and L-carnitine, protein building blocks that are especially important for the growth of puppies and pregnant dogs.

A lack of protein, B vitamins and folic acid – all found in meat – can also lead to heart problems, weakened immunity and lack of energy.

However, as more and more research is conducted on plant-based dog food, sophisticated alternatives are increasingly coming to market.

Many use vegetarian sources of protein like peas, chickpeas, and lentils which our pets can easily digest and build larger proteins from.

It is also important to note that the quality of meat used in pet foods is often very poor and therefore traditional meat varieties may have their own nutritional deficiencies.

If you are concerned about a lack of nutrients, add a conditioning supplement Adding a selection of B vitamins and minerals to your pet’s meat or plant-based diet can help ensure they continue to receive a well-balanced diet.

Research suggests that a plant-based diet may actually be healthy and adequate for dogs.
Research suggests that a plant-based diet may actually be healthy and adequate for dogs.

Is a plant-based diet balanced?

Recent studies have suggested that a plant-based diet may in fact be healthy and adequate for dogs – so the answer is yes.

In some cases, such as with overweight dogs or those with kidney and digestive issues, switching to a plant-based diet has even been found to improve overall health.

However, owners should avoid trying to prepare fresh vegan or vegetarian food for their dog at home, as commercially produced dog food is carefully balanced and must be approved by bodies such as the PFMA or the Veterinary Drugs Directorate ( VMD ).

All commercial dog foods, whether vegetarian or traditional meat-based, aim to be completely balanced for your adult dog or puppy, and those standards are nearly impossible to recreate at home.

Before making any drastic changes to your dog’s care, always consult with your veterinarian to ensure you find the right nutrition for his age, breed, and any pre-existing health conditions he may have.