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Some People Are Extending Their Vegan Diets To Their Pets -- Is That Safe?

JULY 27, 2017  —  By Sarah Jewel  
Sarah Jewel

Sarah Jewel

Animal and pizza lover with an Internet addiction. Nerd to the max. Currently residing in the land of beautiful winters.

While I'm not vegan or vegetarian myself, I totally respect the people who are.

Not only is it better for the environment, but it's also many times a healthier option for people used to eating processed foods. It's a lifestyle that takes a lot of commitment. What I didn't realize until recently is that some people take that pledge to a whole new level and feed their dogs and cats vegetarian or vegan diets. Something about that seemed a little off to me, so I decided to do some research into if it's possible for pets to be vegan. It turns out the answer is yes, but unless you're doing it right, it could be dangerous.

According to PetMD, one of the biggest dangers in this kind of diet is that some vital vitamins need to be absorbed in a pet's food, not through the skin or other means. Many of these vitamins are found in meat and equivalent replacements are difficult to find.

In a recent Reddit thread, vets and vet techs weighed in on the issue, saying that it's possible but expensive and time-consuming to have a pet with a veggie-based died.

A 10-pound bag of this vegan dog food costs $35.99, which is the price of a 40-pound bag of many other high-quality dog foods. Vegan dog food brands may also be newer to the market and thus less proven to be safe in the long run.

If you love to cook, it might seem easy to extend your vegan meal prep to your pets, but vets actually recommend against this entirely unless you have regular access to an animal nutritionist.

They stress that a veterinary nutritionist's recipes must be followed exactly, with no changes or substitutions.

The risks of this kind of diet are huge. If an animal's blood work isn't monitored carefully, they could get sick or even die without the nutrients they need. Even if you're doing everything right, there's no guarantee their bodies will adjust well.

The fact is that most people don't have the time or money to successfully feed their animals a vegetarian or vegan diet -- and that's okay. If you want to adjust your consumption for moral reasons, there are things you can do.

One thing you can do is look for a more ethically sourced dog food that you know will give your animals the nutrients they need.

Consider instead of changing foods entirely switching their treats. You should always check with your vet first, but many veggies like carrots and cucumbers are treats your pups will love!

Ultimately, the most important thing to remember is that you want your pet to be happy and healthy. If you can't hire a veterinary nutritionist or get special food, you shouldn't beat yourself up. Eating meat is part of dogs and cats' natural diets.

What do you think about this trend and its risks? Let us know in the comments, and regardless of how you feel, give your animal a big squeeze today.


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