Monday, Jun 18
With celebrities like Ellen Degeneres, Brad Pitt, and Beyonce speaking out about their vegan lifestyles, it’s becoming more and more popular to make the switch to a plant-based diet. Different people do it for different reasons. Some choose veganism because of the negative effects that the meat industry has on the environment. Others do it to improve their personal health. Meanwhile some, like me, do it to reduce the animal cruelty involved with factory farming (and to have a commonality between myself and Queen B.) Whatever your reason is, it may bring you to ask the following question: I’m a vegan, should my pet be one too?
Evidence has shown that many of the health ailments in humans associated with a meat-based diet (e.i. cancer, allergies, heart problems, etc.) affect our furry friends as well. Owners and their pups have had positive results combating these problems by going meatless. A record-holding example is a border collie named Bramble who lived to be 27 years old with a diet consisting of rice, vegetables, and lentils.
Cats are CATegorized as obligate carnivores which means that they require nutrients like taurine and vitamin A from meat, but can still benefit from a certain amount of plant material in their diets. On the other hand, dogs are widely considered to be omnivores rather than carnivores. Compared to true carnivores, dogs produce more enzymes for starch digestion, can easily get vitamin A and D from plant sources, and have significantly lower protein and amino acid requirements according to veterinary nutritionist Dr. Cailin Heinze.
Because cats have more specific protein needs, it is recommended to stick with a mostly-meat meal plan for your feline friend. On the other hand, if done correctly you can transition your dog into a vegan diet and together live very happily and healthfully! Keep in mind, it’s very important that you consult with a veterinary nutritionist beforehand to ensure that your pup is still meeting all of its nutritional needs as to prevent any serious vitamin deficiencies and related health problems.
So for all of you dog-owning, veggie-fanatics...keep on munchin'!