Vegan food is simply a plant-based diet. If you have adopted a plant-based diet for yourself, you may probably consider switching your dog’s food as well. Like other omnivores, a dog can live by feeding on plant-based food.
The question that comes to mind is if this is healthy for our four-legged companion. To answer this, one would need to consider the composition of the vegan diet and the dog’s general health status. Let’s see the nutrients required to keep a dog healthy first:
Required Nutrients Composition for Dogs
Contrary to popular belief, dogs are not carnivores but omnivores. The trait allows a dog to get its nutrients from both animals and plants. Just the same way humans require proteins, dogs also require protein to support the healthy growth of muscles, hair, and tissues. They also require protein for the immune system to function properly. Protein is comprised of amino acids. According to experts, an adult dog requires 22 essential amino acids to build the protein required to stay healthy.
However, like everything in life, the excessiveness of good things can have consequences. Excessive proteins in dogs get stored in their bodies as fat and may lead to being overweight. To have a healthy dog, your dog must feed on a balanced diet containing amino acids with fats, minerals, and vitamins.
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Composition of a Vegan Food
Dogs require a recommended daily amount of protein to stay healthy. However, they don’t necessarily have to obtain it from a meat source. To have a healthy dog that feeds on vegan foods, it’s important that you add foods which when they are combined, will create the required amino acids needed for his health and well-being. The composition of most vegan foods includes leafy green vegetables such as spinach, nutrient-rich vegetables such as sweet potatoes and carrots, and plant proteins such as soy, chickpeas, or lentils.
Advantages of a vegan dog food
A 2016 study found that 90% of pet owners surveyed give their dogs vegan dog food for ethical reasons, but some have other motives as well. Allergies associated with food are a common reason why people choose to give their dog a vegan dog food, especially when their dogs are allergic to proteins gotten from an animal source or by-products, such as dairy products.
Abstaining your dog from animal products can help him improve his digestive system as well as make his skin healthier, especially if he’s suffering from diseases in those areas. Some also suspect that the recent rise in cancer and degenerative diseases in dogs may be due to waste products coming out of the slaughterhouse(abattoir) into the dog’s bowl. These are the advantages of vegan foods at a glance:
Natural, safe, and healthy food;
Improvement in skin problems;
It keeps his heart healthier;
Avoid digestive disorders and being overweight.
Fight against exploiting and suffering other animals.
Is Vegan food healthy?
The simple answer to this is yes. Vegan foods are healthy for dogs. The key thing is to ensure that the proportion of protein with carbohydrates is balanced. It’s vital that you ensure the food is neither too high in carbohydrates nor too high in protein but in a healthy mix. Fortunately, there are many brands of vegan dog diets now available to dog owners who desire to keep their dogs on a healthy plant-based diet.
Scientifically, it’s proven that when a dog is deficient in vitamins and nutrients found in foods of animal origin, he could experience illnesses, such as decreased shining of the hair; intestinal, skin, and urinary problems; weakness; tumors; catabolism (muscle protein is used by the body to acquire energy); and fluid retention.
However, your dog can get the nutrients it requires to be healthy since these elements can be extracted from plants. By properly feeding your dog with vegan foods according to medical advice, you’ll have a healthy vegan dog with an excellent quality of life and an extended life.
Furthermore, it’s important to note that it’s advisable to keep only healthy dogs on a vegan diet. It is not advisable to feed your puppies or elderly dogs with vegan foods, as it can cause illnesses and deficiency in the required nutrients to keep them healthy.
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Things to have in mind
If you are considering giving your dog vegan food, ensure that you have consulted your vet before making major changes. Some dogs may benefit from veganism, but some other dogs(especially nutrient-deficient ones) may require special precautions to stay healthy. These special precautions may be such as adding dietary supplements or vitamins to their meals.
It is true that there have not been enough long-term studies to prove or disprove whether a vegan diet is bad for dogs. However, every dog is different, so always keep in mind your dog’s specific needs and health condition when making any important dietary decisions.
How to make your dog vegan
Making a dog vegan can be difficult at first. However, it is not impossible since, like any other habit, it must start progressively. Make sure you are making your dog vegan based on your dog’s veterinarian approval.
While introducing your dog to this new diet, do it in a gradual and systematic way. You can follow this pattern:
Give your dog 75 percent of the common ration and 25 percent of the vegan food the first and second day;
Give your dog 50 percent of the common ration and 50 percent of the vegan food the third and fourth day;
Give your dog 25 percent of the common ration and 75 percent of the vegan food the fifth and sixth day;
You can then start to feed only with vegan food on the seventh day.
Vegan feeding is absolute abstinence from foods gotten from animals. In addition, they contain natural products composed of nutrients capable of providing 100% nourishment required to make your dog healthy.
Nonetheless, ensure you watch how your dog is reacting to the change in diet because some dogs do not adapt well – they rather show symptoms of illnesses.
Providing a healthy life, well-being, and quality of life for your dog depends entirely on you. So, first of all, take him to the veterinary doctor who specializes in animal nutrition. This will make you know if vegan dog food would be suitable for your dog.