When people switch their diets to one that doesn’t include meat, they often wonder if the same can be done for their pet. Can a vegetarian diet be healthy for a dog? The answer, according to Dr. Jennifer Coates, is yes, it can. When approaching this issue, though, it’s important to remember that just like with human diets, a vegetarian diet for dogs must be thoroughly planned.
Dogs Aren’t Carnivores
Dogs, like humans, are omnivores. This means they eat and are able to digest both plant and animal food sources. Dogs’ diets have evolved over time in step with human diets, and they developed the ability to digest starches when we first began to domesticate them, according to an article in Nature.
The key to an adequately designed vegetarian or vegan diet for dogs is ensuring the protein content is appropriate and there is no lack of taurine or Vitamin D. Many pet owners choose to make their own dog food at home, but besides being time consuming, this method also has a lot more room for error. Because the proportions of vitamins and minerals is vital to ensuring good health in your pet, making your own meatless dog food must be done with some research.
Some people have found that done correctly, this approach works wonderfully for their dog. For those who don’t want to make their own dog food, though, there is another option.
A vegetarian dog food has hit the market and is being embraced by meat-free eaters across the country. V-Dog dog food has been available since 2005 and is a dry dog food kibble that doesn’t contain any animal products at all. Rather, it is a combination of plant based foods that meet dogs’ nutritional requirements of all the necessary protein, vitamins, and minerals, including taurine.
V-Dog has been certified by the AAFCO. The AAFCO, or Association of American Feed Control Officials, is an organization that regulates the sale of animal foods and establishes regulations for pet food and feed ingredients and nutritional adequacy in those foods.
Know the Ingredients
Though most people wouldn’t think a vegetarian diet can work for a dog, if done properly, it can.
Regardless of what you decide to feed your dog, knowing the details of exactly what is in the food can make a big difference in your dog’s health. Whenever you make a decision about your dog’s food, do your research and understand just what you are feeding them before putting the bowl down.