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I have two vegetarian dogs, both relatively healthy. One has food allergies to animal protein and now that she’s solidly in her teens she has a bit of arthritis and some hearing loss. The other is blind from glaucoma she had before I adopted her and has had reflux for at least a couple years longer than we’ve had her (I was a humane society employee and my shelter had fostered her through heartworm treatments for a couple months with another employee when she first arrived there, then adopted her out to a home that we had to confiscate her from a year and a half or so later. Then I fell in love with her while working on rehabilitating her and wound up adopting her, so we know what she was like the first time she came through the shelter, but still have no idea about the first several years of her life). Aside from those specific issues, they’re in excellent health. When we first adopted our allergic girl, we tried all the atypical meat and carb sourced foods out there (duck and potato, venison and pea, etc). She reacted to everything, even plain fish. Her allergies are bad enough that when my brother was letting her lick out his empty individual serving yogurt cup, the teeny tiny amount of gelatin the yogurt he had contained was enough to cause her to have a flare up. Because of that, we switched to a vegetarian diet as soon as we found one that worked for her. She still craves meat 9 years later, but she just can’t have it even with twice daily antihistamines. An accidental mouthful of cat food is enough to cause a $300 vet trip for anibiitics, special shampoo, powerful antihistamjnes, and steroids and land her in an ecollar for a month because when she has a flare up, she’ll scratch and chew every inch of herself bald and keep right on chewing and scratching, crying as she’s doing it because she’s already gone through the skin. For us, vegetarian food is not a choice, it’s a necessity. Our other dog is vegetarian as well because the allergic dog will eat meat-poop if she can (thank god for top entry kitty litterboxes since cats are obligate carnivores) and flare up from that and even though we try to clean up as soon as poop happens, missing even one piece a month isn’t a risk we can take.
It would be amazing if there were more spaces where people with vegetarian or vegan dogs could go to exchange information about which of the vegetarian options are healthiest. You either won’t change their minds about the ethics or it’s a medical requirement for their dog, so isn’t it better to quit judging people and help them make the best possible choice within the parameters they’re working with?
- This reply was modified 6 years, 9 months ago by VegetarianDog. Reason: Edited for clarity