Pooches going on a Vegan or Vegetarian Diet!
last updated 06th, Apr 2013,
Dogs classify as carnivorous animals, but metabolically, they are indeed omnivorous. This means they can adjust well to a veggie meal, as long as it contains all the nutrients essential for their healthy growth. At the same time, it is vital for the food to be tasty and easily digestible. Your pooch may easily adapt to the vegan diet, however you need to keep a watch on his overall health, including coat, energy levels, digestive disorders, or any other symptoms. There are several vegan pet foods available in pet shops containing all the nutrients that are unavailable in plants.
These days you will find many vegetarian owners feeding their pooches a vegan diet. Jains and the Gujarati community are few of those who prefer to feed their dog’s vegetarian food. Even some non-vegetarians refrain from feeding meat to their pooches during Navratri and other religious festivals. Some owners are of the opinion that feeding dogs with a vegan diet is a much healthier option, since meat will make their dogs irritable and aggressive. To cater to this forte of people, several pet food brands have started a vegetarian line of pet food for adult dogs, without compromising on the nutritional value.
Branded dog food or homemade food – Which is better for my pooch?
It is highly recommended to feed your dog branded dog food instead of home cooked food. Branded dog food is packaged without harmful preservatives and provides your dog with all the essential nutrients, keeping him healthy throughout his life. It contains a variety of proportions such as vegetables, beans, fruit, dairy and soy products, along with supplements to meet your dog’s nutritional needs. Once your pooch adjusts to branded food, he will be eating less, as he will be getting the right amount of nutrients, minerals and vitamins. He will have a shinier coat, healthy skin, cleaner teeth and high energy levels.
Many people begin feeding their pet homemade food without consulting their vet. Lacking in information about the right dog food to feed, they start providing their pooches with dangerous foods such as raisins, grapes, onions, raw eggs, raw fish, milk, nutmeg, chocolates and nuts, which are extremely detrimental to their health. Homemade dog food may have insufficient proteins, hence could cause fatigue and poor development of muscles in your pooch. Your dog can develop food allergies too. Preparing the right homemade meal takes a lot of time and deep research to figure out, which food is best for your pooch and how to keep his diet in balance.
Benefits of Vegetarian Dry dog food:
· Contains the required nutrients, proteins, vitamins and minerals
· Easily palatable
· Naturally preserved
· Keeps your dog’s skin conditioned
· Prevents kidney stones
· Keeps food allergies at bay
· Decreases incidents of infections
· Decreases risk of fleas, ticks and mites
· Diabetes regression
· Keeps weight in control
How can I shift my pooch to a Vegetarian Diet?
If you want to change your dog’s diet from a meat to a vegan one, you should do it gradually to minimize the risks of digestive disorders. Some dogs are choosy and may not eat a diet without meat. The simplest way to persuade your pooch to eat vegetables is to begin adding small amounts of vegetarian kibble to his regular food. You must read the label and ensure the food doesn’t include large quantities of animal by products, artificial flavoring and preservatives. Once he gets begins to relish the vegetarian kibbles, you can adjust the portions accordingly, until he eats only vegan food. However, if your pooch refuses to eat vegetarian dog kibbles, you can supplement his regular food with vegetables or snacks, such as baby carrots and green beans.
You need to be aware that non-vegetarian dogs usually eat one meal a day, including snacks and treats. Nevertheless, a vegan dog should be served two smaller meals along with snacks and treats. A healthy snack could be a handful of dog biscuits. Chew sticks such as Dentastix from Pedigree can be given as a treat, as they are good for their teeth.
Pet parents who want the convenience of ready dog food can opt for brands such as Pedigree, Drools, Royal Canin and All4pets that meet the nutrient standards of their loving pooches. Some parents prefer to mix in homemade foods along with the vegan kibbles to meet the nutrition necessities. Your dog’s meal should have a good quality of protein source, which can comprise of a variety of whole grains, raw and cooked veggies, with required supplements. Many dogs love to eat spinach, pumpkin, cabbage, carrots, green beans, beetroot and other veggies. They love to eat fruits too, which can be fed in small amounts such as bananas and watermelon.
If you are feeding your pooch with homemade food, you need to keep a few things in mind:
Ø All vegetables and grains must be well cooked, mashed or pureed.
Ø Serve the same at room temperature or warm it slightly.
Ø Always keep a clean bowl of water available 24x7.
Ø Avoid salt, as dogs cannot process excess of it.
Ø Last but not the least; take your dog for daily walks in the sun, as it is essential for them to get an intake of Vitamin D.
There are chances that a vegetarian diet can cause liver and kidney problems to your dog, hence you will need to take him to a vet regularly for urine tests. Besides the urine test, your vet will monitor your dog’s overall health and look for any negative signals of his new diet. In this way, you can maintain a good health of your pooch.
Most vegetarian pet parents agree that it’s easier to feed their dogs a plant based diet. Pooches make incredible changes, both in physical health and in temperament when on vegetarian diet. My friend’s dog Cookie, who would initially turn her nose up at vegan food offered to her, has now shifted completely to a vegetarian diet. She has become calmer and her weight is in control. The way she gobbles up the vegan food now seems like she had always been a vegetarian! Go vegan, it’s a great way to include some change in your buddy’s diet!!