Some just find it “awesome”, many don’t care, but more and more people “love it”: Vegetarian diets have been on the rise in Germany for years. There are many reasons why people no longer use meat and meat products. Some “just don’t like it anymore”, some “think it’s disgusting” and still others consider the vegetarian diet to be healthier. Most important for most people, however, is that they no longer want to see the pictures of factory farming and therefore do without meat altogether. So mostly for ethical reasons, they don’t want animals to be killed for their food.
But what about dogs? If people stop eating meat because they don’t want animals to be killed for their food, can they continue to put meat in their dog’s trough? Is it even possible to vegetarian feed a dog, and if so, should it be done?
Mixture of omnivorous and carnivorous
As we know, today’s dog descends from the wolf and has lived with humans for thousands of years. Despite this long domestication, the dog still closely resembles the wolf in its eating habits. Usually both prefer meat, but are not averse to other foods such as vegetables. In biology, a classic distinction is made between omnivores and carnivores, which is why most scientists place dogs and wolves somewhere in the middle. So neither “real” carnivore nor real “omnivorous”, but a mixture of both.
In contrast to humans, who are by nature much more omnivorous, dogs and wolves are more “designed” for meat. Therefore, the question of whether dogs can also be vegetarian-fed – similar to humans – cannot simply be answered with “Yes!” Or “No!”. Since it is a mixture of omnivorous and carnivorous, you could also eat it vegetarian – at least in theory.
You only have to make sure that the dog gets the right alternatives to animal proteins. This is possible with a special nutritional plan, but anything but easy if you want to avoid symptoms of deficiency. To compensate for the loss of meat, alternatives must be found that guarantee the dog the necessary amount of vitamins (E and B12), calcium, copper, phosphorus, iodine and iron. As a rule, many dog owners, since they know it from their own vegetarian diet, resort to soy because this is particularly high in protein. But soy alone does not replace all micronutrients and the crucial amino acids. In addition, other nutritional supplements must be used.
Be sure to coordinate with the veterinarian
We cannot and do not want to write which dietary supplements it is here in the dog blog, as it would be misleading. This is because every dog needs an individual diet plan tailored to its needs if it is to be vegetarian. Since malnutrition is not to be trifled with – it is basically cruelty to animals – dog owners should definitely discuss a possible vegetarian diet plan for their dogs with their veterinarian. And not only that, you should also have your dog checked regularly by the veterinarian, as laypeople cannot recognize malnutrition at first glance.
Animal welfare association against vegetarian dog nutrition
Due to the difficulty of covering the energy and protein requirements and the need for minerals and vitamins with vegetarian dog food, the animal welfare association even advises against the vegetarian diet of the dog. And from the point of view that vegetarian dog nutrition is theoretically possible, but in practice it is very difficult to realize that the dog is actually sufficiently well fed. A point of view that can be understood very well if you take into account that the animal welfare association is primarily based on the welfare of the dog – and not on the ethical remorse of the dog owner.
Why is there no vegetarian dog food at most manufacturers?
First of all, a vegetarian diet of the dog is only possible if the dog food is individually tailored to each dog – and under the supervision of a veterinarian. A requirement that can not be met as a dog food manufacturer, for example, you would have to produce umpteen different types of dry food with different levels of vitamins E and B12, calcium, copper, phosphorus, iodine and iron, and that would still be not individual enough.
In addition, nutricanis has set itself another goal: We do not want to produce “any” feed that prevents deficiency symptoms, but rather consciously support the animal’s health through food. We have dog food that optimally supplies the dog with everything he needs at every meal: proteins, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins and minerals. We want to get the best out of our diet, which is why we deliberately do not do without meat. What we are only too happy to do without are artificial additives and flavor enhancers, as these are not part of the animal’s natural diet – and in the worst case even cause allergies.