Vegan dog food: The debate between advantages & disadvantages for your dog’s health
This article will answer your question "Should I feed my dog vegan food or not". Read the pro's and con's and decide what's best for your four-legged best friend!
28 June 2018
A hot topic, that separates opinions throughout the world: should I go for vegan dog food or not? We did the research for you and collected information from various sources. The only way to approach this topic is: There is no right answer. Every dog parent has to take all factors into consideration and decide for himself or herself, what’s the best choice for feeding their dog.
Vegan dog food: Keep this in mind
Vegan dog food was a taboo topic for years. But feeding your dog a vegan diet is relatively simple. The most important thing to keep in mind is to get your dog all necessary nutrients. Choices include buying special vegan dog food, or preparing it yourself for your pup. A balanced diet should always be the main priority when thinking about your dog’s diet plan.
Vegan dog food is safe, as long as it contains enough nutrients for your dog.
Dog parents need to be aware that conventional dog food also contains other things, besides pure meat, such as skin, blood, bones, and other parts of the dead animal. Dog food may be made from sick animals; a type of food that no human being would ever eat! No wonder that the current dog food industry contributes to more and more dogs suffering from obesity and cancer.
Dogs possess the denture of a carnivore and they don’t have molar teeth. Therefore, dog’s teeth are created to catch prey and rip off the meat. Furthermore, dogs have a different digestive tract. This means that their small and large intestine is much shorter and mostly designed for a meat-based diet. The more plant-based the diet of a dog is, the longer his digestive processes will last.
The digestive tract of a cow is ca.60 m, while a dog’s digestive tract is only 2-7 m.
Nutrition tips for dogs: These nutrients are important for your pup
Dogs need food types that contain protein, carbs, vegetables, fat and other important nutrients.
Without a mix of fats, dogs are not able to absorb enzymes.
The percentage of carbs is calculated at ca.40%, while protein comes in second with 30%, vegetables about 27% and oils at 3%. Meals such as a spaghetti or rice with tomato sauce and soy meat can also be served to your dog. Important here is to leave the salt, sugar and other spices out. In case you go for more vegan options, ingredients such as taurine, L-carnitine, iron, calcium, Vitamine E, B12 and D should not be left out of your dog’s meal plan. A balanced, diversified meal plan is the best alternative for your four-legged best friend. Just make sure not to feed your dog any poisonous food.
Downsides of a vegan food plan for your dog
Meat guarantees the intake of Vitamine E, B12 and other minerals, such as iron calcium, iodine and of course, a high intake of protein. These nutrients can mostly be found in raw meat. While soy products can be a good meat alternative, they don’t contain the aforementioned minerals. Due to this reason, they’ll need to be supplemented. Also, high intakes in soy are to be avoided, since it also contains various hormones, which are not ideal for your dog. So here we summarize the downsides of a vegan food plan:
- Deficit in nutrients for your dog
- Vegan food knowledge must be first learned
- Takes more time to prepare the meals
- Dog’s digestive tract is not designed for a plant-based diet
Benefits of a vegan diet plan for your dog
Feeding your dog with vegan food also has some benefits, such as:
- Dog’s eliminations will smell less
- Less bones and joints deposits from food, therefore lower risk for articular gout
- Rare to potentially no digestive problems
- Less prone to deseases such as cancer or hypothyroidism
- Protecting the environment: for example, for the production of 1 kg of beef, 15.000 l water are needed
Vegan dog food: The medical point of view
The University of Vienna studied the consequences of a vegan food plan for 20 dogs. Results indicated that the diet change did not have any negative impact on the dog’s health. Since the study lasted for only 6 months, more research in this field is necessary, because sometimes results can only be observed over years.
Should I feed my dog vegan food or not?
This question needs to be answered by every dog parent individually. Whether you go for a vegan diet for your dog or not, both diet choices have pro’s and con’s. A veggie snack now and then will surely not harm your dog. Due to this belief, we have put together a tasty recipe for a meatless dog cookie:
- 9 cups of wholemeal flour
- 3 cups of water
- 1 cup of nutritional yeast
- 1 scoop salt
- 1 scoop basil
Preparation: Mix the dry ingredients and add in 3 cups of water. Mix into a dough and then cut in the desired forms. Put everything in the oven for 10-15 minutes at a temperature of 180 degrees Celsius.
Important: Once the dogie cookies are done, let them sit overnight to get crispy and hard, or at least for 8 hours.
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