With the way modern eating trends have been moving, there is a huge uptick in the number of people who are choosing to follow a vegetarian diet. From this, new vegetarians might wonder if there’s a chance their dog can eat such a diet as well.
Even if you are not a vegetarian yourself, the constant debate over canine nutrition might have made you curious also – so, what’s the truth of the matter? Can our canine friends abandon their meat-loving ways?
What Is A Vegetarian?
Put simply, vegetarians don’t eat meat. They do eat products such as eggs and dairy, however. If they choose to eschew all animal products entirely, that is veganism rather than vegetarianism.
It varies from person to person whether or not vegetarians eat fish.
While vegetarianism is popular, studies have found 84% of vegetarians return to eating meat, so it may be a lifestyle phase – but definitely a popular one.
So, Can Dogs Be Vegetarians?
The simple answer is yes.
Unlike cats – who are obligate carnivores, due to their inability to produce an amino acid called taurine – dogs can be vegetarians. They can derive all the nutrients they need from plant-based protein sources, so while they are technically carnivores, they can actually survive and thrive without meat.
Is It A Good Idea For Dogs To Be Vegetarian?
Now this is the bigger question – and opinions differ wildly. At this point in time, there is no conclusive proof either way.
The truth is that quality is always going to be more important than the actual substance of your dog’s food. If their food has a lot of fillers – particularly wheat-based fillers or rice – then these are nutritionally lacking, rather than providing something of real use to your dog’s dietary needs.
The best way of describing the current knowledge of the situation is that dogs can be as healthy on a vegetarian diet as they can a meat-eating diet. Whether a vegetarian diet is preferable is yet to be ascertained in reliable, scientific study.
What Should An Owner Consider Before Starting Their Dog On A Vegetarian Diet?
If you are going to be preparing much of your dog’s food yourself, you might want to consider investing in the best dog vitamins to ensure there are no essential nutrients being missed out of your concoctions. Discussing this with your vet will be beneficial, as they will be able to guide you towards the correct steps.
You may also experience problems convincing your dog to accept a vegetarian diet, especially if they have previously eaten meat. They might be resistant to going without meat. The best way of handling this is to introduce their new diet slowly and hope that they adjust, but it is a matter for each specific dog as to whether they choose to do so!
Should You Try A Vegetarian Diet For Your Dog?
This is entirely a personal decision. If you are a vegetarian and prefer the idea of the whole family going meat-free, then – provided your vet doesn’t caution otherwise – there is no reason not to give it a try.
If you’re not vegetarian, then it might be more beneficial to just focus on providing high-quality food for your dog – which will stand them in good stead in the long run.