In Europe, there are plenty of commercially available, healthy vegan diets for pets. There is no reason why vegan / vegetarian pet lovers in our country shouldn’t have the same choice.
Some may argue that a vegan diet for a dog is unnatural in some way, but its important to note that in nature dogs wouldn’t eat anything like what is commonly found nowadays – in a can or in pellet form. Most commercial pet food is made of very questionable meats, not fit for human consumption (that would otherwise be thrown away). These foods are filled with preservatives and other additives that, over time, can be detrimental to the health of your pet.
Vegans and vegetarians are often faced with the dilemma of choosing the best diet to feed their companion canines, taking into consideration not only their own ethics, but also the best interests of the dog/s they are taking care of.
Fortunately, even though many people would assume that a dog couldn’t possibly be fed a 100% vegan diet, nothing could be further from the truth!
Unlike an obligate carnivore, a dog is neither dependent on meat-specific protein nor a very high level of protein in order to fulfill its basic dietary requirements. Dogs are able to healthily digest a variety of foods including vegetables and grains, and in fact, dogs can consume a large proportion of these in their diet.
The modern dog cannot be considered any more a Wolf than we consider ourselves an Ape. This is an antiquated belief and certainly presenting nutrition based on this ideology is incorrect. The same is true for our pets that over thousands of years have evolved to eat a balanced home prepared diet. Thus, if vegetarians feel comfortable eating an enriched diet of vegetables, then the same must apply for their four legged companions.
In fact, one should be very weary of diets fed to our pets that contain copious amounts of raw meat. Just as raw meat can be dangerous to humans so it can be so for our pets. There are many reputable veterinarians and researchers who warn of the dangers of raw meat.
Still, in preparing a vegan or vegetable diet for your dog, one should adopt scientific procedures and utilize nutritional data to formulate a recipe that is balanced and nutritious.
Herewith some of the ingredients that we feel are paramount to a basic vegan diet for your dog: brown rice, millet, lentils, peas, barley, wheat germ, rolled oats, beetroot, butternut, sweet potato, carrots and a variety of freshly picked herbs and green veggies. To ensure the perfect balance we also supplement with calcium gluconate, zinc gluconate, taurine, yeast, lecithin, kelp, dandelion and vitamin c.
So, not only is it possible to feed dogs a non-meat diet, it can also be very nutritious and balanced.
We are proud to be considered as “Friends of The South African Vegan Society” – www.vegansociety.co.za