Hi Pitlove, you said
“What makes you think a dog could connect on an emotional level with watching an animal be slaughtered? Are they not capable of brutally killing other animals with no second thought?”
Are not people capable of the same thing?
I find it sad that you read his statement;
“consider how your dog would feel watching those animals being slaughtered and tortured. Probably just as bad as you would, I’d imagine.”
And failed to understand the message he was trying to convey about the horribly inhumane way that food animals are treated.PitloveMember
Hi El Doctor- You said: “Are not people capable of the same thing?”
Yes of course they are and we classify those people as sociopaths. But Dick was not talking about humans.
You then said: “And failed to understand the message he was trying to convey about the horribly inhumane way that food animals are treated.”
I haven’t failed to understand anything. I was simply pointing out a flaw in his logic that a dog would “feel bad” watching an animal be slaughtered. Just because I chose to focus on that part of his arguement and not the rest, it does not mean I wasn’t able to understand his point. That is what you failed to understand.
Pitlove you make a good point.
It’s actually a dog’s natural instinct to kill something that is weak or sick. Easy prey. Means less energy used to obtain a food source.
If a pack member is sick, suffering of dying it is also instinct to kill them. No reason to waste nutrition on a dying animal when it can be provided to a healthy member.
I’m talking more about wild canines in the latter example.
Animals 1 & only real priority is survival. Nothing more. Nothing less. Survival first for themselves so they can help the pack which ultimately helps the species.
Dick, I understand how easy it is to anthropromorphize animals, but they are NOT humans. It’s one thing to live by your truths and convictions as long as it doesn’t cause harm to another. It makes me nuts when people push these things on their animals. Just because you don’t want to eat animal products does not mean your pets should be vegan as well. If their diet bothers you that much maybe a vegetarian pet is a better choice.
You can feed them vegan, but they will never have the guilt you have about eating meat if fed that.
You can believe in a god and have your animals blessed, but they aren’t going to become whatever faith you push on them.
You will get your point across much better if you don’t attack people. Your approach just makes everyone more defensive. Also no one likes being force fed other people’s beliefs. Live your life your way and let others do the same.
By the way I am a vegetarian. My dogs are not. That is not what they are meant to be and I am not going to try to make them. I have free will. They really don’t.
DO NOT FEED YOUR DOG OR CAT VEGAN OR VEGETARIAN FOOD!!! This is animal neglect, verging on animal abuse!!! Dogs and cats are CARNIVORES!!!! Pull back their lips and take a look at those fangs and shark-like molars designed to puncture their prey to kill and hold it still, as well as slice into the meat.
Show a dog an animal being slaughtered, and they will be licking their lips, hoping for a taste. Don’t make me laugh by suggesting that a dog, a natural predator, would feel empathy towards a prey animal. A carnivore with empathy would starve to death in the wild.
Eating meat is natural. There’s nothing immoral about it. Nature is violent. Stop denying the truth. If you feel bad for the enslaved farm animals, then buy meat from a hunter instead. Or just don’t care for carnivorous animals. Get a bunny instead. If you’re a vegan, great! Good for you! But don’t force your lifestyle on others, especially not an animal whose life is in your hands!!!
I fed my dog a vegan food…. she lost 7 lbs of muscle. She often slips or even falls down. She gained a little fat back thankfully, as she was scary thin. She still needs to gain back the muscle she lost. I will be starting rehabilitation with her soon. I feel horrible about this. I am guilty of neglecting her. Now she is eating a grain-free, high-protein and fat, meat-based food that she LOVES.fact oMember
Facts are greater than opinion try reviewing a few studies than make a judgment call http://www.vegepets.info/resources/Publications/Veg-cats-Wakefield-et-al-JAVMA-2006.pdf
Given that the link is pro-veg right there makes it biased. I prefer to look for more balanced studies.
But my biggest issue with that “study” is that PETA was involved. They are 1 of the worst sources for animal information. They habitually lie about numbers and their version of facts are usually so exaggarated they’re pretty much bs.
I can’t think of an animal right/activist organization that is more harmful to animals and/or the cause than this bunch of hypocritical moonbats.
Try again.veronika wMember
Animal rights are for all animals, not just your favourite dog. How do you want to explain cultures who traditionally eat dogs not to slaughter them if you yourself slaughter animals with the same ability of feeling pain. And…wasn’t the oldest dog we know of vegan?!!
Why do you think it is animal abuse feeding your dog something he maybe, maybe might not find tasty. But its not animal abuse if the cow which is in the food drank first milk replacer instead her mothers milk and then starched food, damn even flesh sometimes, instead of grass.
Give it a rest, Veronika. If you want to feed your dog a vegan food, you will find very few people here who feel as you do; you may want to look for those people on a vegan dog forum.
By the way, dogs find many items, both food & not, “tasty”. That doesn’t mean it’s good for them.
Eating a dog is the same as eating a pig. It’s ethnocentric (which is just a fancy word for ******) to believe that cultures that eat dog are somehow less civilized than cultures that do not. However, I would not eat dog as dogs have been a part of my family and my only true friends from a very young age.
It’s not about taste. It’s about the fact that a dog is a CARNIVORE. They may be able to survive on vegan dog food, but they will not thrive. A human child will survive eating only potatoes with a little butter or milk, but if there is no justifiable reason (such as poverty, famine, lack of available food choices) why the parent is not feeding them a balanced diet, then that is NEGLECT verging on ABUSE!!!
If you cannot stomach feeding your carnivore companion animal products, then do not care for a carnivore animal! It’s as simple as that! Choose to care for a herbivorous animal such as a rabbit, guinea pig, horse, chinchilla, iguana, one of those mini-pigs, etc. Otherwise, you are prioritizing your own desires, beliefs, and ego over the needs of your furbaby!
Would you argue that any captive carnivores such as lions should be fed a vegan diet (I do not believe that any wild animals should be captive, but people still do so)? What about wild animals? Should we stop carnivore animals from hunting in the wild? If not, why not? Isn’t that hypocritical if you believe that domesticated carnivore animals should eat vegan diets, but wild carnivore animals can? And if so, you are ignorant and do not truly have the best interest of “Mother Earth” at heart. How are you different from any other human that attempts to control and twist nature to fit their own desires, beliefs, and needs?Olga MMember
I will draw you back to my original post, “Here is a story on Care2.com
Have you heard about the veggie-eating dog who lived to the ripe age of 27? That’s 189 dog years!
The dog, Bramble, a blue merle Collie, lived in the UK and held the Guinness World Record for being the oldest living dog at the time. What’s most amazing about this story is that the dog actually lived on a vegan diet of rice, lentils and organic vegetables. She ate once a day and exercised a lot.
The owner of the dog, Anne Heritage, was a vegan herself. She just fed Bramble a big bowl of vegan dinner every evening. She explains that Bramble “is an inspiration and [he] just goes to show that if you eat the right things and keep on exercising you can extend your life”. This story shows that dogs CAN thrive on such a diet.
My own story is, our buddies who are a 140 lb Mastiff and a 70 lb Lab mix. I make for them balanced vegetarian meals and add a little kibble. Previously, I had a Shepherd who lived to age 17. I think kibble is as healthy as packaged dry food is for humans. So, I know dogs can live a healthy life eating vegetarian food. However, you have to put time into making meals for your four legged children, just as you do for yourself.
This forum is a back-and-forth, as everyone has an opinion they are defending. I’ll leave with a word from Isaac Bashevis Singer, “People often say that humans have always eaten animals, as if this is a justification for continuing the practice. According to this logic, we should not try to prevent people from murdering other people, since this has also been done since the earliest of times.”
I made the choice to be vegan because I will not eat, wear (including leather, wool, angora, etc.) or use anything that has felt the pain and suffering of being in captivity and the terror of being abused and put to death. We don’t live in a survival mode, in the wild with our dogs. So as for me and my family, I choose to not eat or feed on a tortured, antibiotic and hormone laden corpse.animalisMember
@ Michelle B, Olga M and veronika w,
You guys rock (♥‿♥)
Olga M that is a great story. However it proves nothing. 1 dog lived that long supposedly on a vegan diet. There is no consideration to the dog’s genetics or whether the dog did get meat proteins. How do we know that dog didn’t hunt and eat whatever it caught while running free (assuming it was allowed)? Maybe this was just luck. Maybe the human is full of it and only says she fed a strict vegan diet.
My point is that there is no scientific backing of this being good for dogs long term. It’s anecdotal. That’s not enough to convince me.
There are very necessary nutrients dogs must have to survive that can only be found in meat protein. If not fed meat they must get them from synthetic supplements. If you are fine with feeding them synthetic nutrients, then have at it.
I am vegetarian. But that is my choice. My dogs (while brilliant they are GSDs) don’t have the ability to give a crap about what or where their meat comes from. They just know they need it to survive. An animal’s one & only goal in life is to just survive the day.
I do have a choice to feed them the best food possible. Whether or not I would eat a human version of it doesn’t matter. I am feeding them what is best for them within my budget.
If an animal’s dietery needs go against your ethics then that is not the pet for you.Duane PMember
This is something that I’ve been contemplating for about year now. I’m slowly transitioning into a vegetarian then a vegan diet/lifestyle. It would be nice if my dogs do the same thing. However, I fully understand that dogs and cats are carnivores. It’s instinctive for them to eat meat for survival. I’m definitely inspired by that Vegan dog who had a long life. If it’s possible then the rest of our dogs can learn from this story.theBCnutMember
The “vegan” dog roamed loose nearly his entire life. No one knows what his actual diet was.
Duane P, I’m glad you didn’t just decide for your dog to be vegan/vegetarian just because you are. Be very careful about where you get info from. I haven’t found any scientific/evidence based info regarding how safe it is for dogs. If anecdotal “evidence” is enough then you’ll have no shortage of that.
theBCnut, that’s very interesting to me. It kinda changes everything. That’s a pretty important detail that doesn’t seem to get included in the story of that dog.
Having dogs running around 30 acres I know for a fact they do a lot of hunting. I’ve seen them eating birds, frogs, snakes, baby turtles, turkey eggs, chipmunks…the list is endless with what I’ve seen them munch on.
These dogs are fed very well and get more treats and carrots than the horses. There’s no way they’re missing anything. Yet they still like to do their own grocery shopping. They are dogs. They are predators. They like meat.
I guarantee the dog got its nutritional needs met on its own while roaming. While the owner may believe it adhered to a strict veg diet, I’m certain the dog would have a different story.veronika wMember
You will find a lot of not-science-based information why dogs need to eat dead animals – written by meat eaters of course. It fooled me for a while. However, scientifically seen your dog will be just fine on a vegan diet. Im doing blood and urinary tests regularily with good results and the commercial dog food improves every year. You will find veterinarians experienced with vegan dog food.
Hey look!!!! This old lady lived until 102 even though she first started smoking at age seven!!! Even though she says that she didn’t “inhale,” clearly she was still exposed to secondhand smoke on a regular basis, seeing as she would hold it right in front of her face & between her lips!
And this guy claims to be 126 years old and smokes a pack a day!!! Even if he isn’t as old as he claims, he’s still old no matter how you define it!
WOWWWW!!!!!!!1!!!!!1!!! Smoking must be great for you!!! We should all start!!!
Okay, so the cases above are examples of ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE. Evidence of that sort does not give you a strong case when you are trying to prove a point.
Let’s keep in mind that most dogs that eat meat are being fed crap foods such as Beneful, Science Diet, Pedigree, or Purina which contain lovely ingredients such as animal byproducts, mystery meat, ingredients from China, and loads of corn. And which are notorious for having frequent recalls.
And perhaps people that feed their dogs vegan diets are more health-conscious than the average dog guardian (who feeds their dog the above brands). So maybe this means that their dogs often eat fresh veggies such as kale, broccoli, bell peppers, etc, which are shown to reduce a dog’s chance of cancer. Cancer is a common cause of death for dogs over 10 years of age, so the inclusion of fresh fruits & veggies would skew any outcome.
What you need is a long-term (10 years or longer) study that follows three groups of dogs (you need a large enough sample, 100,000 dogs per group would be best). One group will eat a meat-heavy quality kibble such as Orijen. The vegan group will eat a comparable quality kibble such as…? The third group, which is your control group, will eat the most commonly fed kibble, which will probably be something like Pedigree. Then follow those dogs for their entire lifespan. But don’t just look at how many years they live (their date of birth must be DOCUMENTED), also look at their health, well-being, and overall quality of life. You also have to look at factors such as breed of dog (or whether they are mutts), whether they were neutered or spayed (and how old they were when it happened), how much and what types of physical exercise do they get, etc. All of these factors need to be controlled so that you can determine the effect of the diet without making conclusions based on correlations. And the study must be unbiased (not conducted or financed by a group that has a political or financial interest in pushing meat or a vegan diet). If there was some way to make the study double-blind (such as reformulating the kibble so that the owner or the scientist could not recognize which kibble the dog was eating), then that would increase the validity of the study.
Completing a study of this magnitude would give us the clearest idea of which diet is the healthiest for DOGS. I put dogs in caps, because you can’t apply nutrition studies done on HUMANS to dogs. Canines are primarily carnivores, while our closest living relatives, chimpanzees, are primarily herbivores; although they eat small amounts (5% of their diet) of animal protein like monkeys and termites. The average human diet is so far from what is biologically appropriate for us.
This is what I like to call SCIENCE!
- This reply was modified 5 years, 7 months ago by Michelle B.
Michelle B You’re funny! Thanks for making my point. (With humor & sarcasm no less!) Prefect examples of Ancedotal vs Scientific.
Veronika W you go on about animal rights. Why does your dog not have a right to eat a proper diet? It has nothing to do with a pet being favored or more important than another animal. It’s about living up to your responsibility as their caregiver. If that means feeding them something you won’t eat too bad. I don’t like clipping my dogs’ nails and they hate it too, but it has to happen. That is what’s right. It’s for a good reason. Dog crap is disgusting, but I still have to clean up after them. These are unpleasant yet necessary responsibilities to keep them healthy. I feed 1 dog canned food. That’s about as gross as dog crap, but she’s doing well on it.
If you can’t find a way to compartmentalize your extreme beliefs and doing the best thing for your pet, then a carnivorous/omnivorous animal is not for you.
Animals have a right to proper care. Other animals have a right to be eaten & worn.
I am Native. It is believed that animals choose to come to Mother Earth to nourish, clothe, shelter other animals. You thank the animal’s spirit for it.
Sounds silly to some, but so does your vegan dog thing.
Great points Jenn!!! I was feeling the same things, but I didn’t know how to express it!
Thank you Michelle.
And your explanation was also very thorough and thoughtful.
I don’t think a lot of people understand what an undertaking it is to do scientific studies. There’s so very much to it. The attention to detail, observations and record keeping has to be so precise. While daunting, it’s what makes them more reliable than anecdotal evidence. Which is so uncontrolled I wouldn’t even call it pseudoscience or junk science. There is nothing scientific about it.
I want more than a few good stories about vegan dogs. At the very least I want to know about dogs that haven’t done well. If someone doesn’t want to wait for a more concrete study, then the least they should do is weigh risk/reward before experimenting on their dog.
Veronika what proof do you have that all meat based diets were studied by meat eaters?
Why do you suppose they study meat diets? Could it be that dogs are meat eaters? There has always been a high demand for quality meat based protein dog food. This vegan bs is a new fad. If the demand for a scientific study seems worth it someone will do it. They may not all be vegan though. Will that make it less accurate?Duane PMember
Jenn H Thanks a lot! Your comment will always be remembered whenever I get to talk to Vegans or Vegetarians. Dogs are certainly not humans so we really can’t just force them to be like us.
Duane P, I appreciate that. Very much. I try not to get defensive and I certainly never want to be offensive or condescending to anyone. Many have helped me see things differently and raise great dogs. It’s only right to try to help someone else.
Dogs are truly amazing creatures. And as much as we think of them as special family members, do we really want them to be like us??? They’re way to good for that.ishita kMember
From what I know is that some dogs are allergic to veg foods like avocados,grapes,garlic and butter etc. Not all human food is bad for dogs, but foods like chocolate, garlic,and raisins are bad for them.Some dogs face issues with meat bones as well. Many vets and dog owners reported problems like nausea ,digestion problems after feeding them bones.There are many organic food products which promise 100% veg food for dogs,I personally use Dogsee chew products for my dog and have not faced any serious situations so far! Touch wood.I feel it solely depends on the built up of the dog.So,I guess the consulting a vet to find out about the food the dog is allergic is a good option.
GRAPES ARE BAD FOR DOGS BECAUSE THEY ARE TOXIC!!! THEY COULD CAUSE KIDNEY FAILURE!!! IT IS NOT AN “ALLERGY”!!!
Even if your dog ate grapes before and was “fine,” that doesn’t mean that they’re somehow immune. It is possible to have kidney damage without symptoms. The effect is accumulative. So if you keep feeding them grapes, eventually the damage to your dog’s kidneys would be great enough to cause renal failure.
It is the actual flesh of the grape that is toxic to dogs, not the seed, as some people think. Grapeseed extract is safe for dogs, so that tells you that it is not the seed that is bad for dogs. Grapes (all varieties, seedless or not), raisins, grape jelly/jam, grape juice are toxic to dogs (and cats). It is difficult to say how much could cause a dog to become seriously ill, or even kill them, so it is safest to call your vet ASAP (or take them to an emergency clinic after hours).
Garlic is okay in small amounts (some dog foods & treats contain garlic). But unless you know the safe dose for your dog’s weight, do not feed them homemade foods or treats with garlic!
Onions are also toxic to dogs, but again, are okay in small doses (but don’t feed to your dogs if you don’t know how much is safe!).
A dog would have to eat a lot (relative to their weight) of MILK CHOCOLATE (for example, my 60 lb dog would have to eat 1kg of milk chocolate to become seriously ill). If it is dark chocolate, baker’s chocolate, or cocoa powder however, a very small amount (1 tbsp for my dog) could kill them! Here is a great calculator to help you decide whether you should take your dog to the vet or not: http://www.petmd.com/dog/chocolate-toxicity
From what I’ve read, avocados are not actually toxic to dogs or cats (they ARE toxic to birds & other animals though). The risk is that your dog may swallow that giant avocado seed in the center. They could choke on it, or it could block their digestion system, which would require surgery.
As for meat bones, it’s an evaluation of risk and reward that every dog guardian needs to make their own choice about. Large, weight-bearing bones (such as large leg bones from cattle or pigs) are more likely to chip or break a tooth. Chicken or turkey bones are less likely to cause injury to teeth. I like to give my dogs chicken wings or turkey vertebrae to chew on. NEVER give your dogs cooked bones!!! Raw bones are safer b/c they will not splinter like cooked bones would! But raw bones could be risky if you have a young child, elderly person, or anyone with immunity issues in the home, or in contact with the dog. Antlers are a possible alternative for dogs with allergies (but again, chipping or breaking a tooth is possible).Olga MMember
Please peruse the science behind domestication and evolution. The research was done on foxes, it’s worth noting that only within 10 years those that become like pets not only does their disposition change, but also the color of their coat, and even the length of their canines change. You can read the article at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763232/ Animal evolution during domestication: the domesticated fox as a model
Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats. Each year, approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized (1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats).
When someone expresses the opinion, “If you can’t find a way to compartmentalize your extreme beliefs and doing the best thing for your pet, then a carnivorous/omnivorous animal is not for you.” I’m pretty certain dogs in the wild don’t open canned dog food. Pedigree and other kibble filled with mystery meat and grain and canned dog food is not good nutrition for dogs. However, if they are being cared for and loved it’s better than the alternative. So, anyone who believes in vegan, vegetarian, raw meat or kibble for their companion animals is the best food for them, then by all means adopt them. Don’t let anyone tell you that they are not an animal for you. Like most parents, you will do the best you can with the information you have. I’ve been around long enough to know that what is preached one year as the most nutritious food ever, will be debunked the next.
After having large dogs that have lived long healthy lives, free of disease, I stand by my own research that they do extremely well on a vegetarian/vegan diet. If you are not comfortable with that, then occasionally give them a bit of raw, free range, organic meat and or fish. Mostly, love and exercise with them and you will both have a great life together.
Living a vegan lifestyle is not a new fad, it’s been around for many years. I’ve been a vegetarian, and a vegan for over 40 years. You have to put some thought into a decent diet for yourself and your much-loved dogs. My dogs eat similar food to what we eat, that includes lentils or other beans, organic veggies and never anything synthetic. If I won’t eat it or feed it to a child, then I will not feed it to my four paws kids. I am repeatedly questioned about the shiny coat my 140 lbs Mastiff and 70 lbs Lab mix have. Seeing is believing.
First of all dogs & foxes are not the same animal.
Secondly, I’m very sure if given the choice between canned food and lentils the wild canines will choose the can. And given their longer canine teeth will have no problem opening it.
They will choose that because it will be what they instinctively know to be the more nutritious food. A smaller amount of meat is better than a bunch of beans & vegetables. (Granted they’ll probably eat that after. Dogs always eat the best part first.)
If it were possible and reasonable for me to do homemade I would, but I promise you it wouldn’t be vegetarian/vegan. Despite my disgust w/ raw meat.
I am more careful about what goes into my dogs’ bodies than anything else in my life. They eat far better than I. And when I have to choose between me eating and them getting less quality you bet your ass I don’t eat. Not even a thought.
(Thankfully those times haven’t come along in a good while.)
I have as many yrs in this world as you and don’t listen to the latest & greatest. I do what I know to be right. When something proves to be better than that I go with it.
With a lot of time, research, interrogation I know exactly where and how my dogs’ food is sourced and made.
Human food gets recalled too.
Unless I raised & grew the ingredients myself there would be no way to avoid all risk 100%. That’s just a fact of life. Like feeding meat protein to dogs.laconradParticipant
Somehow the notion that dogs are pure carnivores has permeated through internet chat forums, among some non-medically trained people working in the pet industry (groomers, trainers, etc.), and those that take their information seriously. This notion is based by in large on the multiply erroneous notion that dogs are essentially wolves, and since wolves are pure carnivores, then dogs necessarily should be fed as wolves would eat.
I stated multiply erroneous notion because the true fact is that EVEN WOLVES ARE NOT PURE CARNIVORES! While it is true that wolves generally require and eat a high level of protein in comparison to dogs, they also consume a significant amount of vegetable matters instinctively, as doing so is necessary for optimal physiological balance and gastrointestinal health in the species. Wolves consume vegetation from routine grazing on grasses and by tearing open the stomachs of their herbivorous prey and eating the contents.
The other true fact is that dogs are not wolves, but differ from the wolf in DNA structure by about 0.8 %. That may not seem like much, but only a 1.2% difference in DNA separates us from the chimpanzee. Few would suggest that we should model our diet around that of a chimpanzee.
Thousands of generations and selective breeding that made domestic dogs more adaptable to life with humans was responsible for the evolution that today differentiates dogs from their ancient ancestor. Among the most prevalent difference between dogs and wolves that resulted is gastrointestinal physiology and how it impacts overall gastrointestinal and other organ health. In the process of canine domestication, humans essentially their early more wolf-like canine companions what they ate, and over successive generations, the species adapted to a more omnivorous diet.
Dog owners jumping on board with feeding their dogs nothing but meat, essentially a pure protein diet, is fraught with potentially serious health consequences. All one has to do is understand protein metabolism to see the problem.
Before protein can be absorbed into body’s cells and tissues for metabolic and physiological purposes, it must first be broken down into small chains of proteins called peptides, and in some cases broken down to the individual molecular protein building blocks, amino acids. Once absorbed by the gut, amino acids and peptides are then repackaged and utilized by the body.
It all sounds lovely, but protein metabolism does not come without a price, as it generates a toxic waste product called ammonia. In fact, many common meat protein sources are as low as 78% utilized by the body with the rest represented as waste. Luckily, like us, canines have a liver that converts ammonia into a less harmful molecule called urea, which is then excreted by the kidneys in urine.
However, the liver and kidneys over time become overwhelmed with a diet heavily laden with protein, because these organs are constantly burdened with detoxification. Over time, if excessively taxed in this manner through diet, these organs become compromised, leading to degenerative disease, chronic renal failure in the case of the kidneys, and cirrhosis in the case of the liver.
Physiologically, dietary protein for the average adult canine should not exceed 25% of the total daily nutrient intake. In high performance dogs, such as those that participate in in field or agility competition, that requirement may be increased to 27%. Beyond this level of protein the dog suffers deficiencies in other key nutrients, such as soluble and insoluble fiber and anti-oxidants to name a few, while unnecessarily taxing his liver and kidneys with excessive protein metabolic waste.
Canine owners that feed raw are the biggest offenders with regard to overloading their dogs with protein, many feeding nothing but a raw meat diet. For these pet owners that are committed to raw feeding, if they are feeding their dogs nothing but meat, I would urge them to integrate fresh or cooked vegetables to represent at least 50% of total dietary intake. Green beans, carrots, broccoli, celery, and spinach are all healthy vegetable sources for dogs. It is also a good idea to integrate complex carbohydrate sources, such as brown rice and sweet potato, as well as some canine safe fruits like cantaloupe, apples, and pears.
What is most troublesome to me is that some commercial pet food companies are taking advantage of the canine pure carnivore hype and creating diets that are heavily laden with protein, even going further to validate this false notion in their promotional tactics. I was actually inspired to write this post after having seen a TV commercial two nights ago from a large, well known pet food company touting its newest diet as having one of the highest protein percentages in the industry.
I caution all canine owners to not buy into the hype, not listen to non-medically trained people that recommend a dietary regimen without understanding that over time it does damage to the liver and kidneys while denying the canine other essential nutrients; and reject pet food companies touting false claims, who clearly value sales far more than the well-being of their canine consumers. If in doubt, talk to your veterinarian to help you sift through what is best to feed your dog.
Dr. Roger Welton is the President of Maybeck Animal Hospital and CEO/Chief Editor of the veterinary information and blog online community, Web-DVM.laconradParticipant
All of my dogs eat a vegan diet. They love it and it has never been forced upon them. They are all rescues. My first rescue was 90 pounds and lived to age 17. Converted to people years this is well over 100 years old. I have a 15 year old dog who was so abused and riddled with infections they almost put him down 2.5 years ago. I still have him today, that’s about age 90 converted to people years, he has been on a vegan diet since I got him and he is in glorious health. I have an 8 year old Jack Russel also vegan age 57 in people years and a mix (all of my dogs are rescues) who is 40 in people years. They are 100% healthy, never had one thing wrong with them unless they came with something wrong but now that is in the past. I guess my point is that if you don’t need to harm another animal for your own animal to be healthy why would you? A dog is an omnivore and while that means they can eat either, it also means they are healthy on either. My four dogs are proof. I certainly wouldn’t have done it if it weren’t true. But since it is, and since I love animals. I don’t see the point of harming God knows how many animals to feed my own animals when there is 100% the choice not to. People get very defensive because they want to be right. I’m sure your dogs are healthy that may be true but the animals they are eating were slaughtered and that wasn’t healthy for those animals and the worst part is their slaughter was 100% not necessary. If it’s not necessary for me to harm an animal then I’m not going to do it.PitloveMember
I’m interested in if you can explain how your dogs were able to choose a vegan diet for themselves, instead of one that contained meat as well. Were they offered several diets side by side, some of which contained a meat source, and chose the food without meat?
I have offered my dogs fruits and veggies and they turn their nose up to them. They definitely both prefer to have some meat in their diet. I don’t feed raw however.
Thanks in advance for any insight you can provide.
Iaconrad I hate to break it to ya, but veganism DOES harm other animals.
In fact, (this is going to seem backasswards) it’s more harmful to other creatures than a diet that’s meat inclusive.
Let me try to explain quickly. Pesticide by definition is the killing of pests. While vegans say they only eat organic plants, fruits, vegs, nuts, etc organic farming still uses pesticides. (Often the same pesticides just a natural version.) Even if the pesticide isn’t toxic to humans it is toxic to pests. If no pesticides were used the organic farmers would produce even less than they do now. Thus making their crops unprofitable.
ALL pesticides kill aphids, insects, butterflies, mice, rabbits, birds and/or any other living thing that tries to eat that plant. That’s the point.
You wouldn’t use pesticides in a pasture where cows graze because the milk/meat would be potentially harmful to the animal that gets nourishment from it. Pigs are the best at turning “waste” into a useable meat. So they don’t need pesticides either.
That’s an example of 2 food sources that would be unacceptable to vegans that could yield a ton more food and cause less harm to other living things. The only thing that dies is the cow and pig.
And you won’t have to supplement B12, calcium, Vitamin A. Unless you have a medical condition you shouldn’t have to take vitamins & minerals. A truly healthy diet will provide what you need.
I’m thrilled your animals are healthy and live long lives. But your examples are nothing more than anecdotal.
As an aside multiplying dog ages ×7 is an inaccurate way of figuring their true age.ShepAussieMember
What do you dogs’ meals consist of in their vegan diets?
How long has each dog been eating this vegan diet?
Have you had a puppy grow up into maturity eating a strictly a non meat diet?Nic MMember
Dear Jenn H,
I belive you make some excellent points about the use of pesticides and in showing that the possibility that someone could live their life without harming any creatures is nonexistent. However, the point of veganism/ vegetarianism is not to completely eliminate animal death and suffering but to reduce it is much as possible. Any pragmatic human being must recognize that to exist is to destroy, but that doesn’t mean that you can try to reign in your incumbent destruction. I’d also like to speak to the bulk of your argument. While by no means entirely wrong, it is a bit misleading (which I recognize may be entirely unintentional). I will readily concede that the agricultural system which you described, when practiced perfectly, would result in less overall deaths than crop production, but theven system which you mentioned is a rarity in the modern agribusiness system. The vast majority of animals used for food purposes are fed a diet consisting of corn, soy, nutritional supplements, and other grains for all of their lives ( a notable exception is ruminants like cattle which graze for the first couple of years of their lives and are later transferred onto the system which I am referring to). Livestock converts this feed into energy at a horrible rate with chickens and swine converting feed to energy at around a 50% efficiency rate and cattle at only a 10% efficiency rate. These rates can vary greatly depending on the breed of animal and other factors but no matter what an animal will always use more food energy than it produces in the form of bodily tissues because most of the energy goes to maintaining basic metabolic processes and the leftover is turned into mass. So most animals will utilize the crop production system that kills much of the local wildlife and then still be killed themselves. By eating the crop directly you are killing far fewer animals. As a matter of fact, equation for how many animals more you kill by eating meat calories as opposed to plant calories would be [ (animals killed per crop calorie/ efficiency rate of livestock) +1]-animals killed per crop calorie. All in all, if you care about animals the best way would to live would be to grow as much of your own food as possible, eating mainly a plant based diet and supplementing it with meat you raise yourself in the livestock production system you described Jenn.
Thanks for your insight. I appreciate your use of logic instead of sputtering guttural pathetic crap in all capsMatt SMember
About 4 years ago my doberman found a tasty treat of some sort of putrid meat out in the woods behind my home. She ended up becoming septic and started to have renal failure. After a few weeks at the vets they started looking for foods with little to no animal proteins as it was throwing her counts way out of wack. We ended up using a royal cannin ultra low protein food. It seemed to work great until they discontinued it. We now make her a vegitarian based food with 0 animal protein and she s doing amazing over the last year.June MMember
To everyone that says it is selfish to “impose” veganism on pets or kids, I think it it would be more selfish of me to have other animals slaughtered to feed my animal. The same arguments are made for HUMANS- oh we need meat ! the government food pyramid says we need dairy! no, we don’t. many large animals don’t either. it’s ok.
Yes, dogs have predator teeth .. because they are built to hunt and kill, to roam free, and run all day. They are not built to be raised in captivity, eating any kind of dry food that we give them.
Maybe you should be giving your dogs live rodents? thats what they would be eating in nature! Good luck!
just make the choice based on your preference, there is nothing wrong about not giving your dog food with processed animal bits in it.
LOL, you don’t feed your animals on YOUR preference. Well, I bet you do; doesn’t make it right. Get a rabbit.M MMember
For all those who feed vegan diet to dogs — what do you feed? Olga gave details on her homemade foods, but are there other commercial options out there to use as a supplement? We have been using V-dog but our dog’s stool has lately been a little loose with this after tolerating it well for years. I’m not sure if they changed their formula or if it’s just our dog. I need to learn home cooking for her, but I’d like to have an option for if we get too busy.
For all the detractors out there, she is highly allergic to meat kibble and fresh cooked meat, but I do agree philosophically with the veg commenters here. It seems commercial kibble is unhealthy for both dogs, the animals who end up in it, and the planet. I don’t think a dog or any animal can thrive on what amounts to baked crackers. She is strong and energetic on her vegan diet, but I’m really just looking for an answer from those with input on how to feed her a veg diet even when we can’t cook.
Nature’s Balance makes a vegan kibble that we have been feeding our 70lb Australian Shepherd mix for a while… After switching from V-dog. She did good on V-dog and always had normal stool but I was looking for a more readily available alternative and Nature’s Balance Vegan Kibble is sold at all Pet Supermarkets (marketed as “vegetarian” though it is actually 100% vegan and states that it is such if you inspect the bag closely).
Our dog is doing great since we switched her to vegan kibble. We are also supplementing with Nupro, which is not 100% vegan because it has dissected liver (for taste), but everything else in it is vegan I think… Norwegian Kelp, Flax Seed, Nutritional Yeast Cultures, etc. For me, I was promoted to switch our dog to vegan after researching Dr Campbells work in the China study and Dr Estelsteins plant based diet approach to healthy living. There is no reason to think that it would not apply to canines and certainly would account for the extremely high rates of cancer in dogs, given there extremely high intake of animal protein found in most all dog foods. The fact of the matter is that, in the world that we live in today, we are all exposed to carcinogens at increasingly higher levels and the same goes for our pets. It has been long proven that animal protein is Miracle Grow for cancer and that an all plant based diet can prevent and even reverse the multiplication of cancer cells/tumers. The only reason that this is not as largely accepted as truth as it should be is all of the industries who lobby against such studies, and, uncoincidentally, fund numerous other “scientific” studies that purport to show the opposite for the sole purpose of creating misinformation. When canines lived in the wild, I.e., before the first wolves were domesticated, they rarely came across carcinogens… So high intake of animal based protein likely didn’t have the same I’ll effects as it does today.
Personally, I am an on again, off again vegan… Because I LOVE meat and cheese but also understand that the negative health consequences are many. Anyone who denies this is a fool. Anyone who claims dogs cannot be healthy on a plant based diet just because their ancestors almost exclusively ate meat has no idea what they are talking about. In the past canines did not have the opportunity to be given a complete diet consisting of plant based foods which are far healthier for them, that is no longer the case.
Whether you like it or not this is going to be a mute topic in 50-100 years anyways because if the world population continues to grow at its current rate a diet consisting of mainly meat will no longer be sustainable for humans or pets. Do your research before you start talking. Dogs are not obligate carnivores.
*Refer to my original post at the beginning of the thread for more info.
Jenn H… You are confusing “more nutritious” with higher calorie… Dogs (and humans and every other animal for that matter) are instinctively trained to consume and choose the highest calorie foods available…
This is the reason that sugar and fat taste so good to us. When animals were evolving in the wild this helped us survive, but in the world today it is working to our disadvantage because we are no longer fighting for survival… On the contrary we have a surplus of calories available.
The same applies to dogs. We as humans have to make intelligent decisions about what we eat and choose healthy options, not just what taste best or what we may want the most. The same applies to our pets, except our dogs dont have the intelligence to do this…. Like you said, they will choose the can of meat over the lentils (just like we would choose the burger or donut over the lentils if taste and desire were the only factors); but that does not mean it is the better choice for them. It is up to us to decide what is best as owners and guardians.
Do your research, read a book (hell, read a stack of books and studies), and then think a little harder before you form your conclusion.
Until you try a raw diet for your dog, you have no idea what your dog can and can’t have. There are raw food companies that offer exptic proteins such as emu, llama, goat, etc.
There is kibble made with kangaroo. There is a freeze dried with goat.
On a very fundamental level, you statement does not make any logical sense. We are not talking about what our dogs can and cannot have. We are discussing what is best for them.
You or I could survive on a 100% Emu or Kangaroo diet as well. We may even like or love it, as I am assuming you’re implying your dogs or dogs in general do/would. But, that doesn’t mean it’s our healthiest option, for us or the planet as a whole.
I am talking about dogs. Dogs need meat. IF there is a true medical reason that there is no meat protein, at all, that a dog can eat, then & only then should a veg/vegan diet be fed and only under guidance from a professional.
The planet has nothing to do with dogs. Your preferences have nothing to do with dogs. Feed dogs what they need which is meat. Period. Want to feed a pet vegan? Get a bunny.
Lol. You are hilarious. You talk like what you say is gospel. I back up what I say with facts, non-biased scientific studies and analytical reasoning. I guarantee you that I am far more educated than you are and it shows. You are just being a parrot, repeating what you have heard time and time again. Dogs do not “need” meat and an argument that their ancestors from over 10,000 years ago nearly exclusively consumed it or that they otherwise prefer it over alternatives that are healthier for them has absolutely no merit. I would prefer a juicy burger over a salad or rice and beans any day of the week and my ancestors ate nearly exclusively meat 15,000-20,000 years ago, but that does not mean it is the healthiest thing for me. We are all (dogs and humans alike) hardwired to desire/prefer higher calorie food such as meat, but that does not make it our healthiest potential diet. It helped us survive 10,000+ years ago but in this day and age it is just making us all fat and unhealthy… To suggest your dog is somehow exempt from this plain and clear truth is nothing short of ignorant.
Although I do feel small amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables are quite healthy for dogs, carbohydrates aren’t a necessary requirement – even in the modern dog. Yes, when properly processed, they can utilize them but they still aren’t a necessary macronutrient. Waltham is a reliable source of information on this – they state “Cats and dogs can sythesise their own blood glucose from amino acids. Carbohydrate, therefore is not an essential macronutrient. However, if provided in their diet, cats and dogs can utilise carbohydrates and they are used in pet foods as sources of energy and dietary fibre.
Carbohydrate levels tend to be higher in dry pet food than in wet pet food.” https://www.waltham.com/dyn/_assets/_pdfs/waltham-booklets/Essentialcatanddognutritionbookletelectronicversion.pdf
In fact, carbohydrates aren’t even required in complete and balanced foods. There is a minimum protein requirement, a minimum fat requirement but no minimum on carbs. AAFCO guidelines as of 2008 http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+1659&aid=662
They now know that the MINIMUM protein requirement for senior dogs is actually 25%. ” Protein requirements actually increase by about 50% in older dogs, while their energy requirements tend to decrease. When insufficient protein is provided, it can aggravate the age-associated loss of lean body mass and may contribute to earlier mortality. Older dogs should receive at least 25% of their calories from protein, typically provided by diets containing at least 7 g protein/100 Kcal ME.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18656844
It’s also a myth that higher protein amounts have a negative impact on a dog’s kidneys. In fact, dogs WITH kidney disease can safely eat a higher protein diet as long as phosphorus is watched. Here’s my favorite source of info on this “Mythology of Protein Restriction for Dogs with Reduced Renal Function” http://www.championpetfoods.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Myths_of_High_Protein.pdf
The bioavailability of the protein is every bit as important as the overall amount. The more bioavailable the protein the less blood urea nitrogen is created. So the better the quality of the protein the more that can be fed. An ounce of protein from beef, as an example, will be better utilized, leaving less waste, than an ounce of soy protein. Additionally raw protein will be better utilized then it’s cooked counterpart due to amino acid loss lowering bioavailability.
I have never read any literature suggesting protein as a cause of cirrhosis however I would agree that lowering protein would be advised if the liver is already severely damaged. NOT because the protein is further “damaging” the liver however the ammonia not being converted is quite toxic. Even in this article relating to humans they don’t suggest excess dietary protein as a cause https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000302.htm
Excess fiber in the diet has been shown to act as an anti-nutrient. I just this week read a research paper on this but I bookmarked it at work and don’t have access right now.
You’ve mentioned the liver and kidneys several times so I thought I’d add a little more research on the kidneys. “Long-term renal responses to high dietary protein in dogs with 75% nephrectomy. These results do not support the hypothesis that high protein feeding had a significant adverse effect on either renal function of morphology in dogs with 75% nephrectomy.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3702209
Purina Veterinary Diets
“A University of Minnesota study revealed renal aging does not occur in geriatric dogs, at least to the extent that it has been reported in people. When fed a diet of 39% protein and 15% fat (dry matter basis), geriatric dogs maintained relatively stable glomerular filtration rates and had no greater incidence of glomerulosclerosis than those dogs in the protein-restricted (19% dry matter basis) diet group. These and other studies indicate no need for restricted dietary protein, fat, sodium or phosphorus to help minimize renal disease progression in healthy geriatric dogs. Still other studies have shown high dietary protein alone will not cause the development of kidney disease. In addition, research has shown that older dogs may actually require more protein than younger adult dogs, just to maintain normal protein turnover, and to support lean body mass and normal immunocompetence.
Obesity has been associated with arthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, neoplasia and decreased survival. Therefore, efforts to maintain ideal body weight and body condition are far more important and appropriate than protein or phosphorus reduction for maintaining health in geriatric dogs.” https://www.purinaveterinarydiets.com/research/senior-dogs-do-old-kidneys-need-new-diets/
Interestingly, at least two papers published in the Journal of Nutrition have shown higher protein diets to be beneficial for weight loss in dogs.
“High-Protein Low-Carbohydrate Diets Enhance Weight Loss in Dogs” http://jn.nutrition.org/content/134/8/2087S.full
“Weight Loss in Obese Dogs: Evaluation of a High-Protein, Low-Carbohydrate Diet” http://jn.nutrition.org/content/132/6/1685S.full
I spent an hour creating a post last night only to have it disappear. I’m guessing it was all the links include so in this post I’m only going to include a few links but I most certainly can provide them if wanted.
I definitely agree that dogs shouldn’t eat nothing but meat, or even meat and bone exclusively but it is an absolute fact that they have no physiological requirement for carbohydrates. Waltham is a reliable source of info on this —
“Cats and dogs can sythesise their own blood glucose from amino acids.
Carbohydrate, therefore is not an essential macronutrient. However,
if provided in their diet, cats and dogs can utilise carbohydrates and
they are used in pet foods as sources of energy and dietary fibre.
Carbohydrate levels tend to be higher in dry pet food than in wet
pet food.” https://www.waltham.com/dyn/_assets/_pdfs/waltham-booklets/Essentialcatanddognutritionbookletelectronicversion.pdf
In fact, the AAFCO (as of 2008 at least) doesn’t have any requirement for carbohydrates in the canine diet. There’s a minimum for fat and a minimum for protein but no required carbs. Many complete and balanced canned foods have no added carbs at all.
For the record, I do think certain vegetables and fruits are beneficial in the canine diet but protein and fat should not be displaced with any carbs. I personally have no use for most grains but I do utilize foods with millet or quinoa sometimes (to mix things up).
Dogs have been eating kibble for less than 200 years. Evolution doesn’t happen in 200 years. Yes, I would agree that my dogs ancestors probably got some carbs as table scraps however carbs in kibble is not the same as carbs in fresh, albeit possibly cooked, carbs. From my understanding grains weren’t processed in the manner we process them today either. Not to mention GMOs, glyphosate / etc and hybridization to increase the protein content wan’t a thing back then.
Ammonia is not toxic unless the liver is damaged and I’ve never read any research (even in humans) suggesting excess protein caused cirrhosis. Yes in cases where the liver is excessively damaged, or a shunt, limiting protein and feeding certain kinds, like dairy, helps alleviate ammonia from building up but it doesn’t damage the liver. I would agree that 78% of the amino acids in certain meat proteins is all that is used but the bioavailability of commonly used plant proteins aren’t any better and often worse.
Excess fiber in the diet can actually bind up minerals and prevent their absorption. Grains and legumes have anti-nutrients like phytates and enzyme inhibitors as well as lectin proteins which in susceptible persons and pets can lead to illness including some pretty nasty disease (even autoimmune disease). Although possibly not “nasty” I recently read research suggesting gluten as a cause for “Canine epileptoid cramping syndrome” in Border Terriers. In humans these lectin proteins from certain carbohydrates is also considered a factor in IgA nephropathy (a form of kidney disease) as well as type 1 diabetes (the kind dogs get).
Protein absolutely does not “cause” damage to the kidneys and some reports suggest dogs with kidney disease actually have an increased need for protein. They now know that “senior” dogs actually have an increased need as well – “as much as 50% more protein” and minimums for seniors is suggested at 25% — “minimum”. My favorite source of info on protein as a cause / contributing factor to kidney disease is “Mythology of Protein Restriction for Dogs with Reduced Renal Function” http://www.championpetfoods.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Myths_of_High_Protein.pdf
There are two papers published in the Journal of Nutrition suggesting that overweight dogs, even “obese” dogs, lose just as much weight (albeit slightly slower) on a high protein diet, 56% protein, as those fed higher fiber diets without the “muscle wasting” that is often seen in lower protein fed dogs. The body will break down muscle when it’s amino acid requirements aren’t being met through diet.
I would agree that the amino acids requirements of the canine can be met without meat in the diet however there really shouldn’t be any questions in anyone’s mind that a fresh food diet is worlds healthier than a highly processed diet. We would absolutely laugh at our pediatricians if they told us to only feed our children fortified cereals as their primary diet let alone only diet. I believe it would take a very knowledgeable and dedicated person to create a vegan fresh food diet for canines.
Additionally certain carbohydrates (all grains, legumes and vegetables from the nightshade family) have lectin proteins that, in susceptible people and pets, can cause a wide variety of disease. Potatoes and wheat, as an example, are known to aggravate, or even cause, rheumatoid arthritis. In humans, wheat has been shown to influence a form of kidney disease called IgA nephropathy and recently has been shown in Border Terrier dogs to cause a type of “cramping” syndrome. Prolamins like the gliadin protein in wheat and the zein protein in corn have been shown to cause gut permeability. If the gut is permeated a whole host of diseases can result. In humans the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease is being linked to insulin resistance in the brain and high fat ketogenic diets are being looked at and used as treatment.
I’m not suggesting that every dog, or human, will have an issue but it is relatively common and the illnesses that result are often not attributed to the food eaten.Richard WMember
This is a deceptively simple controversy.
Veganism is an ethical lifestyle, not just a diet. Obviously, everyone should be vegan, as it is the most ethical lifestyle, by far, compared to every other dietary approach. It’s just a question of personal willpower, and in a few cases, people with nutritional concerns (which are not founded in legitimate science.)
So that is not arguable. With the above context in proper place, approaching diets for cats and dogs is, as I said, deceptively simple.
THE ONLY WAY you can justify feeding meat to a cat or dog, is if you can reasonably show, with scientific evidence, that cats and dogs literally require meat for survival.
There is zero evidence that dogs require meat for survival. The only ethical, i.e. appropriate diet for a dog, therefore, is a vegan one. This is not arguable, unless you can show legitimate science showing otherwise. But you can’t, because such evidence doesn’t exist.
There is one amino acid that cats require, which cannot be found in plants, as everyone here probably knows, Carnitine. But this can be easily synthesized, and is commonly added to cat foods. It works just as well.
So until someone can provide scientific evidence showing that cats fed a vegan diet + synthesized carnitine are LESS healthy than meat-eating cats, the only ethical/appropriate diet for a cat is a vegan one.
This is extremely simple. You live as ethically as you can, unless there is reasonable evidence to suggest that one of your habits is directly hurting you or others. Cats and dogs don’t have the capacity to understand ethics. We do. We are responsible for overseeing the ethical behavior of those living under our roof who are themselves unable to do so.
The only relevant material to this discussion is scientific evidence, and ethical arguments. But almost all of the comments are nothing but banter back and forth with personal anecdotes. That’s utterly useless, except to reinforce the point that biological digestion systems don’t distinguish between “plant” and “animal” sources – they only see micronutrients, enzymes, hormones, bacteria, pollutants, etc. etc. So it should be expected that most animals could probably survive from a strictly plant-based diet, if tweaked right. Likewise, every kind of diet could be shown to be unhealthy, again if tweaked ‘right’.
This isn’t an argument at all. Just a forum for people to profess their lack of understanding either of ethics or nutrition.
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