The answer is “YES”!
Since opening in the new location we have had an overwhelming flow of questions in regards to vegetarian diets for dogs. We do believe you will get the best well-rounded diet through a raw fed diet that alternates proteins to prevent allergies. A vegetarian diet can be done, however, you need to be willing to put in the work. The hoops you must jump through can be strenuous, from finding your dog does not enjoy the taste, to ingredient choices, and counting grams of protein. Plus, there are no scientific articles that we’ve found proving that a plant-based diet is better than a raw diet for dogs.
What is a vegetarian diet?
The base “veget” is believed to stand for vegetable and “arian” is defined as a believer or supporter. So, a vegetarian is a “vegetable supporter” – makes sense.
Like humans, a vegetarian diet for dogs is a plant-based diet. It contains no meat by-products of animals or fish. However, you can still feed goats milk and cheese. What some people may look past, or not realize, is there’s a difference between vegetarian and vegan. The vegan diet is slightly stricter, where you can’t feed any animal bi-products. This means no milk or cheese.
Health and Wellness
The general rule of thumb is a dog needs approx. 1 gram of protein for every pound of weight. Of course, if your dog is active, nursing, pregnant, or a puppy they may need more, which can be a difficult thing to maintain and track, especially when feeding a plant-based diet.
The amino-acid profile and polyunsaturated fats that are gained through a nutrient-rich raw diet can’t always be sourced from vegetables, which could cause slow growth, weakened bones, aggression and overall bad health.
There is also the fact that plant matter, such as fruits and vegetables, need more time and effort in the digestive tract to break down into absorb-able nutrients.
The digestive system of a dog is not an optimal environment for maximizing the digestion process needed for a vegetarian diet.
Due to the limited types of nutrients your dog can receive, you will need to add some type of supplementation to their diet. A dog on a vegetarian diet will need a high-quality fish oil for omega-3 & omega-6. We suggest you read up on why your dog needs fish oil and how to introduce fish oil.
Along with the fish oil, it’s essential you add digestive enzymes to your dog’s diet. This not only helps to break down the plants and other ingredients, but also helps with absorbing the nutrients. Other benefits include improved circulation and immune response.
Making your Dog’s Meals
Keep in mind, you don’t want to make your own vegetarian dog food by reaching for rice, potatoes, or grains as the main ingredients. That’s just feeding your dog a lot of carbohydrates and starch, which is not optimal for your dog’s health. Too many carbohydrates can lead to poor oral health, increased inflammation and much more… so be careful. Before you switch your dog’s diet, you’ll need to research and investigate dog safe foods.
Some of the ingredients we have listed:
∙ Broccoli (small amounts)
∙ Brussel Sprouts
∙ Some Berries
∙ Oranges (minus the peel)
∙ Coconut Oil
∙ Hemp Oil
∙ Some Beans, such as pinto are safe in small quantities
It can be Difficult
As we stated before, yes you can do it. But only if you have the time to do your research and create a balanced meal. Balanced being the key word.
The most important first step is to speak to an Animal Nutritionist prior to changing your dog’s diet and lifestyle.
If you have any questions, please stop by the store at 4947 Tamiami Trail N. Naples, FL 34103, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.