More and more we’re treating our four-legged friends like our children. If not better. So, when we hear information about new ingredients or diets praised for improving our own health, it’s easy to think ‘oh, this might make my dog healthier too.’
Veganism is rapidly increasing in popularity right now credited with having both environmental and health benefits. According to the latest research by The Vegan Society 1.2% of the UK’s population are now vegan, that’s well over 600,000 individuals. Even more of us are choosing to cut back on our meat consumption and might be considering going vegan this Veganuary. Naturally vegan and environmentally conscious pet owners will reflect on what they are buying for their fur babies so it’s no surprise to see a growing interest in vegan dog food.
But can our pets go cold turkey (or no turkey) and is this right by them? Can they really thrive off a plant-based diet alone?
What the law says about vegan pet food
The Animal Welfare Act dictates the duty of care we all have for our pets’ wellbeing. This includes the need for a suitable, “biologically appropriate” diet. For meow-mies and cat daddies this is very clear since cats are obligate carnivores. They depend on meat for essential amino acids and struggle to digest plant material so it’s not recommended to feed a vegan diet for cats. Never-the-less, vegan cat food does exist, containing synthetic amino acids but its still yet to be determined whether cats can absorb this as readily as the natural, animal sourced alternative. Until this is clear we think it’s best to avoid vegan food for cats all together.
But what about doggies? Legally and theoretically yes, you can feed a dog a vegan diet albeit the science is not as clear cut.
Are dog’s carnivores or omnivores?
The polarising debate continues as to whether dogs are omnivores or carnivores. But the general science based consensus is that our doggies are indeed omnivores. Critically, dogs demonstrate they are capable of digesting both animal and plant products which is a tell tale sign they are omnivorous.