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Is it healthy to feed my dog a meat-free diet?

 by lucy on 10 Sep 2018 |
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Many pet owners choose to eat plant-based diets, but it’s less clear whether their dogs can thrive on vegetarian or vegan meal plans. Fortunately for plant-based pet parents, dogs are highly adept at getting the nutrients they need from a variety of foods.

Many pet parents choose to live vegetarian or vegan lifestyles, but it’s less clear whether their canine companions can thrive on similar diets. Owners’ main concern when switching Fido to a meat-free meal plan is whether their pet will get all the nutrients he needs to stay healthy. Fortunately for plant-based pet owners, dogs can lead healthy lifestyles without consuming meat.
 
Canines belong to the order Carnivora, but in reality, our companions are omnivores and scavengers adept at eating a variety of foods. This means the canine body is able at transform certain amino acids—the building blocks of proteins—into others, so dogs can get the amino acids they need without eating meat. However, dogs process food differently from humans and will have a few special needs when eating vegetarian diets. Dogs cannot produce vitamin D in their skin, for example, so they must receive this nutrient from their food.
 
As with any diet, buy only commercial pet foods that have undergone feeding trials and meet Association of American Feed Control Officials standards when switching Fido away from eating meat. If you plan to make your own vegan or vegetarian pet food, it’s essential to consult a veterinary nutritionist to ensure your pet is getting the nutrients he needs. While replacing meat with eggs and dairy is a relatively easy switch to make in your pet’s diet, owners wishing to feed their dogs a vegan diet—one completely free from animal products—will need to pay close  attention to their pet’s nutritional intake. The right balance of different plant-based proteins, such as from beans, corn, soy and whole grains, can still provide the needed amino acids when carefully monitored.
 
Potential problems to watch for when switching your pet to a meat-free diet include low protein intake, imbalance of certain amino acids such as taurine and L-carnitine, and deficiencies in other vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus and iron that are obtained through eating animal products. If nothing is done to fix these deficiencies, they can lead to serious medical problems, such as reproductive or growth failure. It’s best to avoid feeding puppies or breeding dogs a vegetarian diet to avoid potential complications from these deficiencies. You should also schedule more frequent wellness exams—at least two per year— to ensure your pet is thriving on a meat-free diet. Skipping the chicken and beef can be highly beneficial, however, for certain dogs that suffer from food allergies.
 
After making sure your pet will get the vitamins and minerals he needs eating a meat-free diet, the only hurdle to overcome is with picky eaters who are accustomed to beef, chicken or other animal proteins in their food. If Fido turns his nose up at his new food, try gradually mixing increasing amounts of the new food into the old, until he switches seamlessly to his new, plant-based diet.

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Noam Orenstein
Noam Orenstein
Israel
23 Sep 2018
Great service! Quick shipping
 
 
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