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Dogs are carnivores, however certain dogs can actually benefit from a vegetarian diet. Dogs with chronic illnesses and certain allergies can actually do better on a vegetarian diet than regular dry dog food. However there are many health considerations before putting your dog on a vegetarian diet, so you need to learn as much as you can before changing your dog’s diet so drastically. Here are the important facts about vegetarian diets for dogs.
Concerns About Feeding A Vegan Or Vegetarian Diet To Dogs & Cats PART 1
Concerns About Feeding A Vegan Or Vegetarian Diet To Dogs & Cats PART 2
Why Feed Your Dog A Vegetarian Diet
Some people may choose to feed their dogs a vegetarian diet because of their own personal beliefs about meat consumption. Other pet owners may be concerned about all the bad products in dog foods like animal by-products, low quality meat from sick or decaying animals, and food borne illnesses. Most people will transition their dog to a vegetarian diet when they have found their dog has an allergy or intolerance to meat products or a chronic disease like liver disease, bladder stones, or another illness that prevents them from processing meat or animal fats.
Talk To Your Veterinarian First
Since vegetarian diets are not natural for dogs, it is important that before making a drastic change to their diet you first consult your veterinarian. It is advised that you only start your dog on a vegetarian diet under veterinary guidance so that your dog’s health can be properly observed. You need to make sure that you also get bloodwork done at least twice a year to make sure your dog is getting all their proper nutrients so their diet doesn’t lead to bad side effects.
Benefits Of A Vegetarian Dog Food Diet
If you get veterinarian approval there are some benefits to a vegetarian dog food diet. Vegetarian diets can benefit the overall health of your dog, increase their energy, improve their coat, and even help them live longer. Also, vegetarian diets can help dogs with allergies, poor digestion, and weight issues. Finally, vegetarian dog diets have been shown to prevent and treat cancer, infections, hypothyroidism, arthritis, diabetes, and cataracts. These benefits have been shown with dogs following a vegetarian diet with very strict nutritional guidelines.
Risks Of A Vegetarian Dog Food Diet
There are also several risks associated with vegetarian diets for dogs. The biggest concern is vitamin deficiencies. Dogs need vitamin D3 which is only found from animal sources to have a healthy coat and skin. Dogs can also experience deficiencies in vitamin B, phosphorous, ion, and calcium if the vegetarian diet does not provide enough sources. Finally dogs need amino acids like taurine and l-carnitine and protein which can be limited in a vegetarian diet. Without these essential nutrients dogs can develop a range of illnesses. So the biggest risk of a vegetarian diet is that it will not provide enough of the right nutrition for our dogs.
Vegetables Are Good For Dogs
Regardless if you put your dog on a strict vegetarian diet, they should have vegetables in their diet. As carnivores, vegetables are not necessary for dogs, but they can be more beneficial than harmful. Many vegetables like carrots, pumpkin, green beans, and sweet potatoes can be incredibly healthy for dogs because they can bolster the nutrients in their food. So you can also consider adding more vegetables to your dog’s diet even if you do not transition them to full vegetarianism.
Four Best Brands Of Vegetarian Dog Food
If you and your veterinarian do decide that your dog will benefit from a vegetarian dog food, there are some great dog food options on the market. Here are the four best vegetarian dry dog foods:
Natural Balance Vegetarian Formula Dog Food
Natural Balance Vegetarian Formula Dog Food is a vegan dog food made with no animal or dairy products. It’s primary protein source is a combination of oats, brown rice, barley, and peas for a crude protein of 18%. It is also fortified with omega-3 fatty acids to help maintain shiny coat and skin. Plus it is supplemented with all the vitamins and nutrients normally gotten from animal products like B vitamins and calcium.
Nature’s Recipe Healthy Skin Vegetarian Recipe Adult Dog Food
Nature’s Recipe Healthy Skin Vegetarian is an incredibly high protein vegetarian formula. The protein is derived from soybeans and is rated at 22% crude protein. The formula also contains no corn, wheat, or artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, making this a great formula for dogs with allergies or food intolerances. Nature’s Recipe Healthy Skin Vegetarian is also fortified with omega-3 fatty acids and linoleic acid for a healthy shiny coat.
Halo Dry Dog Food Vegan Garden Medley
Halo Dry Dog Food Vegan is made with a diverse variety of healthy fruits and vegetables. It is very high in protein from a mixture of peas and chickpeas and has a crude protein rating of 20%. It also contains nutritionally-dense superfoods like sweet potatoes, blueberries, and cranberries. Halo Dry Dog Food Vegan is also fortified with omega-3 fatty acids from canola, flaxseed, and sunflower oils. This food is perfect for dogs with sensitive digestion because all the ingredients are all natural and it has a high amount of soluble fiber.
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Vegetarian Dry Dog Food
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Vegetarian is a dry dog food specifically designed for dogs with digestion issues. It has a high fiber formula with easily digestible ingredients like oats, potatoes, and brewers rice and is fortified with essential vitamins and nutrients like B vitamins and essential vitamin D3. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Vegetarian also helps with skin and coat issues that come from food sensitivities.
Additional Vegetarian Dog Foods
I agree with your concerns. Most vegetarian dog food brands, however, include all the necessary nutrients, such as taurine, l-carnitine, and B12, in their formulas.
I think that Natural Balance and V-Dog are the best companies, currently making vegan dog foods.