As a vegetarian, one easily feels placed in a dilemma when it comes to feeding one’s pets. Oneself renounces meat for ethical causes, but dog and cat get conventional animal feed, possibly even from mass husbandry? Therefore, more and more pet owners hit on the idea to put their pets on a vegetarian diet as well. But is that even healthy?
Conventional animal feed often is of low quality and unhealthy. It barely contains meat, but all the more sugar, flavour enhancers and chemical ingredients instead. Hence, it is no wonder that many dogs and cats suffer from obesity, bad teeth and diseases. But can a vegetarian diet even be healthier? Dogs for example are omnivores and therefore do not necessarily depend on meat. Border-Collie Bramble even got 27 years old and ranked among the oldest dogs in the world for a long time. Her owner is convinced that her vegan diet consisting of rice, lentils and organic vegetables was the reason for this outstanding age. However, it is a fact that it is against nature to put cats and dogs on a vegetarian diet. Their teeth and alimentary canals are designed for meat. Replacing it by plant-based alternatives, can quickly have impairments to health like bladder infections and tartar as a consequence.
When it comes to cats, a vegetarian diet proves even more difficult. Unlike dogs, they are mere carnivores and imperatively depend on vitamin A and taurine which is almost exclusively contained in animal protein. For this reason, the German Animal Welfare Federation vehemently discourages from feeding your cats meat-free. With dogs, the Federation basically deems a vegetarian diet possible, yet there is much to consider. In general, we should always put the wellbeing of our four-legged friends first. Projecting one’s own world view onto one’s pets and thereby disregard their needs, can barely be the intention of a vegetarian pet owner anyway. It is better to resort to organic animal feed with meat and watch out for vegan materials when it comes to toys and accessories.