Is a vegetarian diet suitable for my dog?

Many people enjoy the vegetarian lifestyle today for either health, ethical, or moral reasons. In certain cases some people have chosen to extend this diet to their pets. This new way of feeding pets has prompted the marketing of commercial vegetarian dog food. There is a range of foods and ingredients that may be included or excluded from a vegetarian diet. It is crucial to understand most people have a different definition for a “vegetarian” diet. Most vegetarian believe that most meat sources are excluded from the diet. Meat sources can be defines as coming from beef, pork, lamb, and poultry. Some may include fish is this definition as well. More restricted diets will not include other foods of animal origin, such as egg and dairy products. The most extreme example of a vegetarian would be a vegan diet. A vegan diet is when all foods and ingredients, including vitamin and mineral sources, are never derived from animals. When foods are carefully combined and in measured proportions, vegetarian or vegan diets can be very nutritious for humans. The question is, is it the same for your dog?

First we must understand that naturally dogs are carnivores, meat-eaters. By todays domestics dog they may be considered omnivores, eating both plant and animals. Their teeth, stomachs, and intestines were all designed to eat and digest meat. Their nutritional diets require a relatively high amount of protein and calcium.

Depending on where you live, many people believe their vegetarian diets are healthier than their traditional diets and they also assume it may be the same for their dog. Dogs do not suffer from the same diseases as humans from their diets, such as high cholesterol and heart disease at the same rate as humans do. Some may choose to feed their dog for personal reason where no food should be derived from animals. That is a personal choice but be aware your pet must have the proper nourishment to live a healthy life.

It is possible to feed your dog a vegetarian diet thanks to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), along with CVM, have developed the AAFCO Dog and Cat Food Nutrient Profiles. They detail a proper diet for your dog that will meet certain requirements.
Before one decides to feed their dog a vegetarian please due diligence with research and consult your vet and dog nutritionist. It is not to be taken lightly.
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I am a dog and cat lover. It all started when I was a young boy and was given a puppy. Love at first sight! Nutrition and excercise is something I take serious with my own body and I do the same for my lovely animals. A lifestyle is created by the actions we do everyday.