Dogs are classified as carnivores, but as a practical
matter, they are omnivorous and can easily survive without
meat, as long as they eat a balanced diet. Dog relatives
like foxes and coyotes consume lots of fruit or other
vegetation at certain times of the year. While not ideal for
every dog, most dogs can be successfully converted to a
vegetarian or even vegan diet, and there are several
suitable commercial dog foods as well as homemade diets. If
you are considering a vegetarian rather than vegan diet for
your dog, a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet has more flexibility
by allowing dairy products and eggs as protein sources.
Cats, however, are exclusively carnivorous by nature and
by physiology. The cat’s body has made many specific
adaptations to its expected diet of prey, which consists
mostly of protein, fat and moisture. While you may hear
stories about successfully vegetarian cats (including one
lion), as a veterinarian, I cannot recommend trying to make
a cat exclusively vegetarian or vegan. I’ve just seen too
many problems from it.
There are lots of products being marketed as “vegetarian”
dog foods. However, many contain corn gluten meal or soybean
meal—both of which are already common meat substitutes in
mass-market pet foods. Dogs have difficulty digesting soy,
which along with soy’s naturally high phytoestrogen content,
makes soy problematic as a protein source. Corn gluten meal
contains about 60% protein. Today, it is being promoted as a
lawn fertilizer and weed killer! When considering a
vegetarian dog food, corn and soy are key ingredients to
avoid. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about that when
you’re shopping at Only Natural Pet Store—we don’t carry
foods containing those ingredients! We carry dry, canned,
and even “raw” vegetarian dog foods:
Natural Balance Vegetarian Dog Food Allergy Formula
As we’ve talked about before, variety is essential to
your pet’s diet, so don’t get stuck on a single food–a mix
of homemade and commercial foods may be ideal for both
variety and convenience.
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The information is not intended to be a substitute for visits to your local veterinarian.
Instead, the content offers the reader information and opinions written by our staff,
guest authors, and/or veterinarians concerning animal health issues and animal care
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