Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Vegetarian Dog Food

If you've been around vegetarian forums and discussion lists long enough, you must have heard of people who keep their pets on a vegetarian diet.

I have a friend who is vegan and feeds his greyhound vegetarian dog food only. Another friend of mine is trying to keep her 20 lb Dachshund on a all vegetarian diet. She says his performance and energy levels have dramatically improved since she started him on this diet a few months ago. According to her, Also his coat has a nice sheen and he is softer. He is 90 % vegetarian now, but he does eat non-veg from time to time.

But is vegetarian dog food really healthy for your pet? You'll get mixed reactions and arguments.

As far as I know, cats are carnivores and need taurine for their eyes and a few other things. I think most people agree that you must feed a cat meat but I'm sure I could find someone to disagree with me on that point. My cats ate not vegetarian and I won't give them a veg diet although they do enjoy some of my veggies.

As for dogs, a couple people have told me they are sure that a vegetarian diet is not good for them. Some people say it is okay. I believe dogs are omnivore but I don't think it hurts to supplement a dog's diet with some fruit and veggies.

I never really thought about it until we adopted Bailey, a 6 year-old golden retriever. He seemed to hover anytime that I fixed fruit or veggies and then I caught him stealing cucumber peelings from the top of the trash can. That is the only thing he has ever taken.

I finally figured out that he must have been owned by a vegetarian before. He will sit at attention until he gets a leaf of romaine lettuce, a carrot, etc. Now, when I pull out my apple peeler, both of my dogs come and sit at attention and wait to get the apple peel as I am pulling it off.

They like lettuce, carrots, pineapple, strawberries, green beans, peas, etc. I don't give them very much, but just supplement their Natural Choice dry dog food. I think their favorite thing is the stalks from broccoli, believe it or not. Both dogs are very healthy and they look great.

I think short term a dog can be veg but needs some dairy if they can tolerate it or eggs. Just make sure you don't use onions in the food for the dog. They are worse then chocolate for them.

All in all, I'd say omnivore means just that, not vegetarian. There has been quite a bit of discussion about vegetarian dog food and I could not help but add my opinion. But I'm not a veterinarian and I really think you should check with your pet's vet before you start your dog on a vegetarian diet.

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