Veganism has grown in a widely-accepted nutritional lifestyle. It is a long-standing part of some cultures in other countries, and now there are many more options for vegans in stores and restaurants. People choose veganism for many reasons; there are ethical vegans, those who choose veganism for health reasons, and more. Of course, despite there being more options for vegans, it’s not always easy to maintain the lifestyle. There are plenty of dilemmas vegans face, and one of them is whether or not they can, or should, feed their pets vegan diets.
Can Dogs and Cats be Vegan Pets?
This is yet another issue for which there is no definitive, or simple answer. On one side of it, there are people who argue it is a terrible idea to force vegan diets on pets. After all, they are not humans with vast dietary possibilities. Nature made them with specific needs, and those needs have always been met by eating animal protein. Cats, for example, need a diet made of mostly protein, while dogs need protein, but can consume other nutrients more. Some even argue that feeding a dog or cat a vegan diet is cruelty—forcing an animal to go against its nature simply because you choose a vegan lifestyle.
The arguments can go a completely different way, however, and largely thanks to science. Protein and other nutrients can come from many sources, and they can easily be harvested and combined to create highly-nutritious foods. This means that vegans can get what they need from sources other than animals. That is how vegan pet foods are created, too. Dogs, for instance, are closer to omnivores than carnivores. They can even have vegetables and carbs, and are likely to eat almost anything you put in front of them. Thus, with the right combination of nutrients, some argue that your dog could have a completely balanced diet with purely vegan ingredients.
What to Do?
If you’re struggling over the decision to feed your pet a vegan diet, talk to a vet whom you trust to be completely honest with you about the options. Do your research, and remember not to believe everything you read on the internet; make sure the sources of information are entirely reliable. Also, remember that just because there are vegan options for your pet, that doesn’t mean he or she will take to being a vegan pet; nature may decide on its own that a vegan diet doesn’t sit well with your pet.
Come talk to us about all your pet’s health needs at Pet Vet Hospitals.