Every pup parent wants to make sure their pooch is getting proper nutrition. But this can get a bit complicated if you personally abstain from eating animal products for either your health, the environment, and/or ethical reasons. Whatever your stance is, you may also want to have your dog follow the same diet.
But can our canine companions live a happy, healthy life as vegans?
While there are some conflicting studies, in general, they can. According to a 2020 BBC article, dogs, unlike cats, have no issue with digesting plant protein and, therefore, can forgo eating animal products. Before you start your dog on a plant-based diet, however, you should contact your veterinarian to make sure that the decision is right for your pet’s specific needs.
"It is theoretically possible to feed a dog a vegetarian diet, but it’s much easier to get it wrong than to get it right. You would have to do it under the supervision of a veterinary-trained nutritionist,” explained Daniella Dos Santos, president of the British Veterinary Association.
Popular vegan dog food brand, V-dog states on their website, “Unlike their ancestors, domestic dogs possess up to 30 copies of the AMY2B gene for digesting plant foods.” Also, “Vegan diets for dogs are naturally hypoallergenic, easily digestible and anti-inflammatory.”
Hills Pets also reported that a plant-based diet may not be “ideal” for dogs. The publication reported that “a dog food plan devoid of animal fats and proteins is potentially dangerous and should never be fed without the supervision of a professional.”
For this reason, pup parents who choose a vegan diet may consider giving their dog supplements. However, in an interview with Fetch WebMD, Jennifer Larsen, DVM, PhD, warned that this may not be the best method. She told the publication:
“[Y]ou’re adding a lot of chemically synthesized nutrients to replace what would normally be in an appropriate diet.”
Do you feed your dog a vegan diet? Let us know in the comments below!
**All Gentle Pit blog posts are for entertainment/informational purposes only. We advise you to consult your veterinarian for proper nutrition recommendations to meet your dogs' unique needs.