Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Veggie Doggy Dilemma

Can a dog be vegetarian? Is it safe? Will he/she not fall down dead from lack of protein? I imagine many vegetarians and vegans have faced this issue with regard to their companion animal at some point in their chosen way of life. Thankfully the research has been done. Its good news people.

The decision, of course, shouldn’t be taken lightly, so always consult with your pet’s vet before proceeding. The groundwork will always need to be done to ensure that your dog’s nutritional needs are being met. That goes for every meal you prepare for your pooch. Remember: the health and life span of your pet is strongly dependent on the diet and lifestyle you provide for it.

There are many reasons why people decide to raise their dogs on a plant based diet, many of which stem from the owners own personal beliefs - whether ethical or health related.  Knowing the exact ingredients of commercial dog food is reason alone to go for home cooked meals for your dog. It’s interesting to note that pet food manufactures are often large commercial companies that use ‘pet food’ as a way of disposing of waste and excess unfit for human foods. Popular dog food brands in Ireland are Cesar, which is owned by Mars; and Hills Science Plan, which is owned by Colgate. It’s a whole new take on giving your doggy leftovers. Hmm…

Commercial pet food is made from meat rendered unfit for human consumption. To earn its 'unfit for human consumption' status, the law allows corporations to soak meat in chemicals such as oil, fuel or kerosene. One of the main ingredients in commercial pet food is what is known as 4D Meat: meat from Dead, Dying, Diseased or Disabled animals. I guess this is why it doesn’t really matter why the pet food is always next to the detergents and chemicals in a supermarket.

Dogs, like humans, are omnivores. That means neither of us need to consume dead animals to live a long and healthy life.

Take the story of Bramble the collie for example: the world’s oldest dog who celebrated his 27th birthday in 2002. Raised in Britan and originally a rescue dog, Bramble followed the same diet as his vegan owner which consisted of lentils, rice and organic vegetables every day. Collies by breed are known for being hard working & high energy. Bramble was no exception.

From a study of over 300 vegetarian dogs conducted by PETA the following was concluded:

The longer a dog remains on a vegetarian or vegan diet, the greater the likelihood of overall good to excellent health and the less likely he or she is to get infections, cancer hypothyroidism.

Several participants of the survey commented on the improvement of their companion animal after switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet. Many had pre-existing ailments for years like regular cases of diarrhoea or vomiting, some skin irritations, even momentary paralysis - ALL of which disappeared once the dog changed to a vegetarian diet. Others reported their dogs becoming more energetic and playful with a better coat.

The Veggie Doggy Dilemma is one that appears to be easily solved… Don’t you think?

1 comment:

  1. Hey, my dog is a vegetarian. He's actually allergic to the meats in dog food and apparently it's quite common. I did quite a bit of research in to vegetarian diets for dogs and it would seem that that there is an epidemic of significant diseases and long term illnesses in older dogs which have been attributed not only to 4D meat but the worst genetically modified meats known to man that are in most of these dog foods.. well hey - pet's can't read the packets can they! Well my dog is just over 3 years old now and he is the fittest healthiest dog you've ever seen. Anyone who's ever met him will testify to that - he's seriously high-octane! He never gets tired and he'd be the last one up at a party if allowed - and sometimes he is! I wouldn't do anything to harm my crazy canine and his health comes first so I'd go with whatever the vet says regarding his diet if he was ill, but the fact of the matter is it's his vegetarian diet which has him so healthy. He's not lethargic and covered in red raw scabs, constantly eating his paws and scratching like when he was on meat. He's boundless enthusiasm and energy for life and any kind of messin, and his coat is amazing and often commented on, which as a pup was as wirey as a brillo pad and he's always the perfect weight according to the vet!
    As it turns out dog's have been living happily on a vegetarian diet in India for century's and my dog's no different... I wouldn't hesitate in recommending it to anyone, especially if your dog has allergies, sensitivities or puts on weight easily. The only downfall is there's no enlightened pet shop's in Ireland (though the pet shop in Omni park, Santry, Dublin carries a full range of amazing veggie pet treats - which are becoming increasingly popular - and my dog can't get enough of!) So if you need veggie pet food you can visit (which unfortunately only carries one veggie pet food, but with free shipping) or the amazing (which is devoted entirely to vegetarian pets and carries, well the full range of everything - though it's best to phone and ask for better shipping rate than the website gives you- they're very accommodating!