For those who live a Vegan Lifestyle, this topic can be a hard one when it comes to our furry loved ones and it's certainly not a decision to be taken lightly. If you wish for your pet to make the same lifestyle choice then maybe you should consider other pets such as a rabbit or guineapig who thrive as a herbivore. However, if your furry companion is a cat or dog you should definitely read on to see how changing their food source will change their home life.
Dogs are omnivores which means they can sustain themselves on both plant and meat-based diets. However, it is easier and somewhat healthier for a dog to go on a vegetarian diet than a vegan diet as a lot of the nutrients in vegetarian based dog food comes from the inclusion of eggs. However, the right balance of plant protein such as soy, bean and puls can create a healthy vegan alternative for dogs. If you decided to put your pooch onto a vegan based diet it needs to be done carefully and it needs to be done right, vets suggest that dogs should eat some form of animal protein to live happily and healthily even if it is a reduced amount.
It is certainly not advised to start a puppy on a vegan or vegetarian based diet during the first year of their life as this is when they are most vulnerable and need the most nutrients they can get from their food source. However if a non-meat variety is a way you wish to go, then when they are old enough it is worth starting them off on a 50:50 diet, half-meat half-veg as it were, and slowly increasing the quantity of one and lessening the other.
You might also want to consider how the change in diet will effect your dog's eating habits. Chewing in itself is a satisfying experience for dogs. By opting for non-meat based diets they have less of this experience. Take a meaty chew treat for example, these are often given to dogs whilst alone in the house as it is a great way to combat loneliness and depression whilst the owner is out the house. It also keeps them occupied for hours and helps with their dentil hygiene. You may want to think of an alternative non-meat based chew for them to snack on that will still stimulate their satisfaction.
As long as your dog still received a healthy amount of protein and vitamin D, then a vegetarian or vegan diet could be the lifestyle choice for your family. Provided that you frequently take your furry loved one to the vets for health checks. Once there, they should have blood and urine tests as vegan diets can result in a higher alkaline level causing health issues such as blockages and urinary stones. As long as this is check regularly and their behaviour is monitored then you should be good to go...
So yes, technically your dog can go meat-free on a vegan diet, but does this mean they should?
If you are considering switching to a vegan or vegetarian-based diet for your dog you should definitely talk it over with your vet first. A lot of information that can be found online is opinion based on information collected from university studies and such alike. Seek a professional information from your Vet.
If you do wish to put your pet on a vegan or vegetarian based diet you need to increase your trips to the vet and making sure it is put on their medical record that they are now on this diet. And make sure your belief does not affect the wellbeing of a pet under your care.