The idea of raising a dog within a vegan lifestyle is, for some, a cruel idea. Dogs are naturally carnivorous, and it should be something that we pay attention to when deciding on their diets. However, the question that we are asking isn’t should dogs be on a vegan diet. Instead, we want to look at can dogs be on a vegan lifestyle?
Vegans typically want to help others see the benefits of their lifestyle, of which there can be many. However, is it right – or safe – to put a dog on a diet that removes meat entirely? Will your dog be better off for it, or will it cause more harm than good in the long run?
Can Dogs Be on a Vegan Lifestyle? The Jury Is Out in Many Ways
Vegan diets for dogs have been a talking point for much of the last decade or more. However, while it might be great to think that you and your dog can share a similar approach to your diets, it might not be the case. Many pet owners will try to pass down their own dietary desires to their pets, believing that since it works for humans it must also work for pets.
In the case of a dog, though, this might not be a wise idea. Meat-free diets make sense in that they are sustainable, they are ethical, and they can be quite nutritional compared to many meat-based diets. However, the nutritional needs of a dog, in particular, are still most likely best served by having meat in their diets.
Dogs need very specific nutritional habits and needs, and adapting or moving away from these could put your dog at risk of problems like a bone disease. However, dogs are omnivores, so you can still give them a happy balance and feel good about it. The right balance is much easier to get right if you can still have meat in their diets from time to time.
You could turn to supplements, but it is not always recommended – most veterinarians would disagree that going full vegan and using supplements to fill in nutritional gaps can be enough for a dog. There is more work needed to find out the true effects of doing this, and for that reason, it would be a hard sell to get a veterinarian to sign off on a fully-vegan diet for a dog.
What should you do?
As the owner of said dog, you should make a decision based on professional advice. Your dog should always be evaluated by a vet before you change their diet in any way. Going somewhere as radical as a vegan diet could be viewed as risky to many dogs. Therefore, it would be wise to take your dog to the local vet and talk to them about the decision you are thinking about.
At the moment, though, most veterinarians would likely recommend you at least keep some meat in their diet to give your dog the best nutritional balance. Changing to a non-traditional dog diet comes with risks that you need to understand – and these risks should be more prevalent in your thinking than trying to make your dog more sustainable.
Sustainability is vital, but so is the health of our pets. So, speak to a vet before you make any final decisions on the diet plans you have for your dog. Vegan dogs sound nice, but in practice, it might not be as beneficial to a dog as it could be to a human.