Nothing brings more excitement than mealtime. Whether it is trying a new dog food or a yummy treat, dogs love being fed just as much as their owners enjoy eating delicious food. With many people striving to develop healthier eating habits, you might have pondered, “can dogs be vegan?”
It depends. There is no clear answer because different factors should be considered. People and dogs easily get along and become acquainted quickly, though their anatomies and nutritional requirements are quite different.
Before you consider feeding your dog a vegan diet, it is important to understand why some owners let their dogs go vegan. Can dogs even survive without meat? Are vegan diets healthy? This guide will provide you with some information that will better inform you before making your pup a meatless mutt.
Can Dogs Be Vegan?
Dogs (and cats) can be vegan. Thanks to their anatomy and nutritional requirements, dogs have a better advantage at consuming vegan pet food than cats.
Dogs are natural omnivores, meaning they can eat and digest meat and vegetables. Since they can consume most vegetables, then they can technically feed off a vegetarian and vegan diet. Dogs are very capable of eating only plant-based dog foods, but some dog owners might instead prefer putting their dogs on vegetarian diets.
What is the difference between a vegetarian or a vegan diet for dogs? A vegetarian dog will happily consume vegetables, fruits, and animal byproducts such as eggs and dairy. A dog on a vegan diet will not consume any animal product whatsoever.
People usually have an easier time adjusting to vegan diets than dogs do. A dog’s digestive system differs from a person’s, but technically dogs can go vegan.
Can Dogs Survive Without Meat?
Yes! Dogs actually can survive without meat, but it is difficult, and there is plenty of room for error. Dogs require protein more than humans do. Meats are a great protein source and contain naturally occurring amino acids and essential nutrients that help keep your dog nourished.
A meat-free diet may cause a nutritional deficiency. Unless you provide your dog with supplements to make up for missing nutritional needs, it will not fully thrive on a vegan diet.
A dog lacking in any amino acid or essential nutrient has a higher risk of experiencing issues with its different body systems. Meats carry collagen and keratin, which is essential in replenishing a dog’s body. Studies suggest these amino acids are key factors in a dog’s overall wellness.
With the help of a professional veterinary nutritionist, your dog may not only survive without meat but can thrive off a vegan diet. Plant-based diets are difficult without a vet advising you what your dog should eat. Any potential health concerns should always be addressed with a vet.
Why Do Dogs Go Vegan?
People have different reasons for putting their dogs on meat-free diets. Whatever the reason might be, it should be discussed with a vet before turning your pet into a vegan dog. In general, here are the most common reasons dogs go vegan.
Some people go vegan because of ethical concerns. In the past, recalls were put out on pet foods that were contaminated or caused unwanted health issues for dogs. The meat industry is also one of the biggest contributors to carbon dioxide, the chemical responsible for increasing global warming.
Some dog owners might view the treatment of animals in the food industry as inhumane, causing them to stick to plant-based diets. These viewpoints are then put into practice through their dog’s feeding habits. Some pet parents feel bad about sticking to their vegan and vegetarian diets and then turning the other way when they feed their dog’s animal-based pet foods.
People come from all walks of life, and it is normal and accepted for some people to avoid certain meat for religious reasons. Certain religions, for example, do not allow the consumption of pork.
There are different philosophical ideologies that people follow which might prohibit them from consuming animal products. The act of feeding their dog meat-based pet foods may make some uncomfortable.
Some dogs might have a sensitive stomach or are allergic to certain processed animal products. This makes them prone to health concerns if they eat anything that can trigger their food allergies.
A dog experiencing serious food allergies might be better off eating on a vegan diet. A veterinary nutritionist should be consulted to find a vegan meal plan that benefits your dog the best.
Is It Healthy for Dogs to Be Vegan?
It definitely can be! As long as your dog is receiving its required essential proteins and vitamins, it will be thriving. With the assistance of a vet, your dog may be healthy while on a vegan diet.
However, if you put your dog on an unplanned vegan diet plan without the help of a veterinary professional, it could face a host of potential wellness concerns from a lack of the following.
A dog lacking protein regardless of diet may experience a couple of issues. Protein has amino acids responsible for rebuilding nails, skin, bones, and ligaments, which all work to keep them healthy. It helps maintain your dog’s growth and hormone levels as well.
Your dog can develop an unhealthy-looking coat and seem more fragile if it is not receiving enough protein. Like a domino effect, a protein deficiency may also cause other systemic issues within dogs.
Many people took their vitamins in the form of edible gummies and continued to supplement themselves into adulthood. Essential vitamins are also a vital factor in a dog’s health. Some of these vitamins are only available through animal products.
A deficiency in vitamin D can affect joint and muscle movement. Similarly, an insufficient amount of vitamin B may make your dog prone to anemia.
Dogs can produce Taurine on their own but get a boost of it from animal products. Taurine is an amino acid that helps promote better eye and heart health in your pup. Although it may cause issues in your dog’s health, a Taurine deficiency is manageable. Dogs may receive Taurine through supplements.
Every dog is different and has unique requirements for nutrients and vitamins. Since it is difficult to pinpoint how much your dog might need, it is best to consult with a veterinary nutritionist to avoid health concerns from deficiencies.
Is It Okay To Mix Vegan & Meat Friendly Diets?
Through evolution and domestication, dogs’ bodies were developed to have omnivore diets. It is perfectly fine to feed your dog a mix of a vegan and meat-based diet.
A combination of a plant-based diet and meat consumption will provide your dog with its nutritional needs. Read on further to gain a little insight on omnivore, herbivore, and carnivore diets.
A dog on an omnivore diet can enjoy and absorb the nutrients and vitamins provided by both vegetables and meat. Your dog’s teeth and digestive systems are designed to break down meats and plants.
It is best to feed your canine all-natural dog food made with animal and plant products. There are also certain human foods your dog can enjoy as well.
A strict plant-based diet is only practically achievable if your dog gets its proteins and vitamins from vegetable sources and supplements. You might not be able to successfully convert your dog to a vegan diet without the help of a veterinary nutritionist.
Some dog owners have had success with dedicating a day out of the week or month to feed their dog’s a vegan or vegetarian diet. It is essential to observe any changes to your dog’s behavior if certain foods do not sit well with it.
There is a misconception that if dogs are related to wolves, they can thrive on a strict meat-based diet. Even though dogs require more protein, eating only meat causes them to miss out on nutrients supplied from raw vegetables.
Too much meat may cause your dog to experience digestive problems. It may also affect your dog’s kidneys from operating properly.
Best Snacks for Vegan Dogs
Whether you want to fully convert your dog to a vegan diet or slowly introduce it to alternative snacks, it is best to ease into it. Your dog will have an easier time adjusting if it slowly builds up its preferences for vegan treats. Here are some of the best snacks for vegan dogs:
Vegan-Friendly Pet Food
There has been a steady increase in providing pets with the best all-natural dog food that is not made with unwanted synthetic flavorings and highly processed ingredients in recent years.
Seek a vegan pet food brand that uses cruelty-free methods for animal products in their dog foods. The top plant-based dog food will provide proteins from other plants and supplement essential vitamins commonly found in meat.
A lot of the common foods people eat can also be consumed by dogs! Here are a couple of fresh fruits and vegetables your dog can enjoy.
- Peanuts and Peanut Butter
If there are other fruits or veggies you wish to feed your dog, make sure you research online or consult a vet to see if that food item is toxic. Dogs can consume these fruits and veggies raw or preferably cooked without any seasoning. For bigger pieces, cut them into smaller pieces to avoid your dog from potentially choking.
CBD Treats for Dogs
Another popular snack that your dog might enjoy and receive benefits from is CBD treats. Cannabidiol is a safe option for pups who need little extra nutrients, and don’t fret; CBD will not leave your dog feeling intoxicated or poison your dog.
CBD works by interacting with receptors from your dog’s endocannabinoid system that are located throughout its body. This system is responsible for balancing your dog’s mental and physical systems. Some of the benefits include:
- Alleviates physical discomfort
- soothes joint swelling
- promotes natural sleep and digestion
- eases nervousness
The best part of the treats, besides the positive benefits, is that they are vegan! Here are some excellent vegan treats from Holistapet.
- CBD Chews: These soft chews are perfect for older dogs who have trouble eating but are suitable for all dog types. CBD Chews may help boost mobility and ease nervousness. It is available in peanut butter or pumpkin, apple, and cinnamon flavors.
- CBD Treats: A favorite among dog owners, CBD treats for your dogs are available to promote different uses. The three options include treats for anxiety and stress, joint mobility, and heart and immune health care. The treats are available in a wide variety of flavors and are made with only all-natural ingredients.
Final Thoughts – Can Dogs Be Vegan
Dogs can technically be vegan, though it should take a rigorous food plan that requires input from a professional animal nutritionist. Before you consider switching your dog over to a vegan diet, it helps to understand what a dog’s nutritional requirements are. If you are looking to get your dog some vegan treats, check out HolistPet’s vast selection of cruelty-free CBD snacks!