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Can My Dog Be a Vegetarian?

There are a lot of people choosing plant based lifestyle. Some make the switch for health reasons, while others do it becase of ethical considerations. Either way, you might be wondering if your dog can be a vegetarian too. Let's find out!

Dogs Are Omnivores

The first thing you need to know is positive when it comes to answering the question fo whether your dog can be a vegetarian.

That is that unlike cats, which are obligate carnivores and MUST eat meat to survive, dogs, like us, are omnivores. So they can eat a variety of foods including plants, meats and more. Which means, in theory, your dog could live on a vegetarian diet.

Difficult to Balance

The big BUT when it comes to the question of whether your dog can eat a vegetarian diet is that vegetarian diets can be very hard to balance. That's true for humans and for dogs, but the difference is, your dog can't tell you when something feels a little off.

Dogs also need protein and other vitamins, minerals and trace elements that are only found in animal derived foods, so vegan is off the table. In fact, most vegetarian dog diets are heavy on the eggs - because they are a great source of protein! Here are a few things you need to know about balancing a vetegarian diet for dogs:

  1. Remember that some human foods can be toxic or even deadly for dogs - so you can't just give them your vegetarian foods and hope for the best!
  2. Home made diets for dogs (even those that contain meat) are very hard to balance properly. If you are considering taking this step, find a veterinary nutritionist to work with - they're registered and certified, and are dog food experts!
  3. Speak to your vet before you take this step. In fact, you should run any major diet or lifestyle changes by your vet before you take the leap.
  4. After you make the switch, schedule extra checkups with your vet, just to make sure everything is working the way it should be.

Commercial Foods and Other Products

Of course, we live in a world where there's a product for every need, and vegetarian dogs are no different!

If you're looking for some help, we recommend these items that you can find on Amazon.

The Plant-Based Healthy Dog Revolution: Easy Recipes for Healthy Dogs by Mimi and Lisa Kirk has some recipes to try if you want to make your own food. 

Halo Vegan Natural Wet Dog Food is a good topper or for dogs who like wet food, and Raw Paws makes a great sweet potato treat that dogs love.

Even Royal Canin makes a vegetarian dry dog food. It's pricy, but since the meet all WSAVA guidelines and do extensive feeding trials, you know it's balanced and good for your dog.

Always remember that just because a product is commercially avaialble and well marketed, that doesn't mean it's good for your dog! Always check with your vet, read product reviews, and always, ALWAYS put your dog's health first.

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