Is It Okay for Pets to Have a Vegan Diet?
Sat, April 10, 2021

Is It Okay for Pets to Have a Vegan Diet?

Veganism is a topic that is still somehow controversial and a subject of debate / Photo by: Nitsan Simantov via Wikimedia Commons

 

Veganism is a topic that is still somehow controversial and a subject of debate. As more and more people are now considering different diet programs for the sake of their health and to improve their lives, they consequently find themselves on the path of a vegan diet. Some are swearing by the efficacy of such a diet that they are encouraging their friends and families to also try it as they say it’s definitely giving them a healthier lifestyle. And yes, even their pets too.

However, despite the good things that a vegan diet brings to one’s life, it is important that pet owners should consider thoroughly if their pets should also be given such a diet. Remember that humans and animals have different needs when it comes to food. Always ask yourself: are you doing this diet with your pet because it makes you feel trendy, or is it because it also gives health benefits to your pets?

 

Cats for a Vegan Lifestyle

Having a cat is a combination of fun and stressful experience. Cat owners usually find themselves in an argument with their feline buddies as they try to make them eat their expensive cat foods. It can be a struggle for cat owners to make their pets try a new meal that is different from their usual food. Now that plant-based pet foods are an actual thing, will cats like it and make it their usual food?

Experts say that it might be a while before cat owners manage to persuade their feline buddies to eat this kind of food, according to a report by CBC News, Canada's publicly owned news and information service. They explained that while humans and dogs are thriving as omnivores, cats, on the other hand, are biological, obligate carnivores. This means that it is in their blood to eat meat. 

“It’s pretty much impossible to make a nutritionally adequate diet for a cat without the use of some animal-based products,” Dr. Tammy Owens, an assistant professor of small animal nutrition at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. 

Phys.org, a website that is known for providing articles about science, mentioned in an article that the things you might be reading online must only be used to enhance the advice from your veterinarian, not replace it completely. A licensed veterinary nutritionist can work with the pet’s owners to identify the best diet for pets, which will take into consideration the pet’s breed, body weight, and/or medical conditions. 

A licensed veterinary nutritionist can work with the pet’s owners to identify the best diet for pets, which will take into consideration the pet’s breed, body weight, and/or medical conditions / Photo by: Roxanne Ready via Flickr

 

Is My Dog Ready?

Yahoo! Lifestyle, a website that provides articles about lifestyle news, reported that many vegetarian and vegan people have explored the possibility of having their fur friends have the same diet as theirs. However, there is still no evidence that shows a vegan diet will have health benefits for dogs or if it is even safe to try.

“There is no health benefit to doing it except in very specific cases in dogs with specific diseases. There might be a small situation where we might use it in a dog with a medical condition, but otherwise, there is no health benefit,” said Lisa M. Freeman, DVM, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist and professor at Tufts University. Freeman noted that humans go on a meatless or vegan diet to prevent having cardiovascular complications, but dogs and cats don’t get that disease. 

She explained that having your pets in a vegetarian or low-fat diet program doesn’t provide any benefits for cardiovascular-related diseases. In fact, a vegetarian and vegan diet might increase the risk of having other heart diseases in dogs and cats. This is why it is emphasized that pet owners should have their pets checked by a veterinarian who will assess if the diet is okay for your furry little friends.

 

What Is a Raw Diet?

This diet trend is inspired by how prehistoric humans eat, that is, without cooking their food. Pet owners believe that their pets could try switching to this diet program, but Dr. Valerie Parker, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist at Ohio State University, warned that raw diets are still nutritionally inadequate. This can also put animals and their owners at risk of catching infectious diseases. 

“Most homemade pet food recipes just don’t contain the nutrients your pet needs and can cause severe health issues,” Parker added. For example, young animals might suffer from a significant bone deformity that could lead to fractures and complete paralysis. 

Always consult a trusted veterinarian before adopting any practice as it might affect your pet’s health in the long run. It is important for them to eat a healthy and balanced diet just like humans. It is not about being trendy but what is important is that the animal will receive the nutrition that their body needs. Pets can still receive your love and care in other ways, and they’re not all related to food. 

This diet trend is inspired by how prehistoric humans eat, that is, without cooking their food. Pet owners believe that their pets could try switching to this diet program / Photo by: Grosskev via Pixabay