10 Things to know about a vegetarian diet for your dogs & pets

How to approach meatless meals for your furry friends

Besides the environmental benefits of going veggo, your furry friends can also enjoy a healthier life with the right source of veggies. If you are considering a vegetarian diet for your dogs & pets, this is a good starting point to find out! 

Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan or flexitarian, you’ll know that the way you eat is more than just a diet — it’s a lifestyle. The crossover between many of the world’s animal lovers and vegetarians isn’t hard to imagine. Perhaps your love for your pets even pushed you towards your vegan or vegetarian lifestyle in the first place! Whatever the case may be, you may find yourself wondering if you can feed your pets a vegan or vegetarian diet. 

While you may find different opinions about how exactly you should feed your pets, each animal is different, and you should approach each situation on an individual basis. If you’re thinking about a vegetarian or vegan diet for your dogs, here are ten things you should think about.

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1. Some pets can go vegetarian

Yes, this is true. There are lots of pets that can go veggie, specifically dogs. In fact, many dog breeds have sensitive stomachs and do better as vegetarians. You can also find pets that are naturally vegetarian, like rabbits, hamsters, iguanas, mice and parakeets. 

2. Listen to your vet

No matter what kind of pet you have, you should ask your vet about your concerns. They’re the professionals, and they may even be able to guide you towards options you never thought about before.

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3. Be careful with cats

Cats are some of the trickiest animals to go vegetarian, as they’re naturally carnivorous. While many websites claim that you can feed cats a vegetarian diet or even a vegan diet, most vets will advise against it, as it can lead to health problems for your pet — and there’s nothing more animal-friendly than properly taking care of the pets you do have.

4. Pets can have allergies

As mentioned above, some specific dogs and dog breeds have sensitive stomachs and have difficulty digesting meat. Some pets even have allergies to the meat or animal products. In these cases, it’s best to discuss diet options with your vet.

5. Watch for anaemia

Just like in humans, pets can be anaemic, too. If you’re going the route of veggie for your pet, make sure you keep an eye out for symptoms such as pale gums, listlessness and lethargy. 

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6. Remember the environmental benefits

With all this consideration, why even go veggie? Well, the animals and the environment both play roles. Did you know that you could fill your bathtub 6.5 times with the amount of water it takes to make one 8 oz chicken breast? By going veggie, you can save animal lives and precious resources.

7. What about vegan?

Again, when it comes to veganism, it’s best to ask your vet about the specifics. However, when it comes to more common pets like dogs, eggs tend to be a primary source of nutrition, and therefore going completely vegan can present challenges. However, with more non-traditional pets, those challenges aren’t there, as many of them tend to eat mostly vegan foods.

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8. Vegetarian pet food options

There are plenty of great veggie pet food options you can find at your local pet store, or on your vet’s recommendation. When in doubt about nutrition, defer to the professionals. However, you can even make your own pet food if you want to go more natural.

9. Going natural

Speaking of natural, going vegetarian with your pet presents the option to feed them more fresh, natural foods, which can help your pet stay healthier over time.

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10. Adopt, don’t shop

At the end of the day, the most important thing about being an animal lover is how you treat the pets that you care for. Make sure you choose to adopt rather than shop, and treat your animals well. 

Veggie pets 

Some pets can go vegetarian, and if that’s the route you want to take with your furry friends, there are so many ways to do it. What kinds of pets do you have at home?

10 Things to know about a vegetarian diet for your pets

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Jane Marsh

Jane is the founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co where she shares practical tips on how to live a greener life.

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