The Truth Behind Vegan Pets
Last Updated January 7, 2020
Cats and Dogs are innately carnivores - meaning they eat and need the nutrients in meat. This however does not stop some pet owners in forcing their pets into vegan diets (or plant-only diets) which does not really make a lot of sense!
In a study done all over the world, out of 3,673 pet owners (dog and cat owners) surveyed, 35% showed interest in turning their meat-eating pets vegan. This is definitely an alarming number, and the only victims will be our pets as turning them vegan is almost the same as cheating their nature.
Contrary to popular belief, dogs are not wolves, where they need to feed on animals. Dogs are actually facultative carnivores, which technically means that they can survive on a plant-based diet. According to a 2013 research, it was identified that the dog genome contained increased amounts of the code for dogs to produce amylase, an enzyme which is key in the digestion of starch which is what most vegan foods have. This effectively makes dogs 5 times better in digesting starch found in grains, beans and potatoes than wolves.
This however does not mean that you dog can be fed just any plant-based products. Their diets actually needs to be put into a microscope even more as to make sure they still get the right nutrients a dog should get. Even then, there is still the possibility that you deny your dog to chew on bones that can help their dental and mental health.
For dogs, raw meat guarantees the intake of Vitamin E, B12 and other minerals including iron, calcium, and iodine. Raw meat also ensures a high intake of protein. While soy products can be a good alternative for meat, they don’t contain the minerals that raw meat easily provides. Soy also contains hormones which can be detrimental for your dog’s health and mood. This means that in order for your dog to get the right nutrients, you will need to supplement his diet with other products or find the right product that does so. Even then, a lot of processed products out there that talks about having the right amounts of nutrients are often misleading because the actual process of creating the food might have disintegrated the nutrients, especially in high temperatures. All in all, if you want to turn your dog vegan - you may want to think again.
Unlike dogs, cats are obligate carnivores. This means that cats really do require to be carnivores. With that in mind, it's impossible for a cat to have a diet that is solely vegan or plant-based. If cats were forced to be vegan, it will affect their health negatively in a big way as they will miss out on a lot of their needed nutrition. In fact, pet owners who force their cats to be vegan could risk breaking the law in the UK - it’s that serious.
Cats need meat in their diet because they need certain nutrients from it. A good example is taurine - a specific amino acid that is required by cats. Without the proper amounts amounts of taurine in their diet, cats can experience the following complications:
- Heart disease
- Vision problems
- Reproduction problems
Cats cannot create taurine by themselves - it needs to be provided through the diet. Taurine is not found in any plants - it comes from meat or synthetic ingredients (which is processed and not really healthy for your cat). Other amino acids that are essential for cats include arginine, methionine, and cysteine. These amino acids must be supplied in adequate quantities in the diet of all cats as it is used in the digestion of the protein that cats also need. Simply put, cats will not stay healthy with a vegan diet.
Making your pet vegan is very similar to changing its nature. While it is possible to turn your dog vegan, it is not recommended as you really need to be sure of what you’re feeding them which puts them in a bigger risk than just feeding them healthy, well-made food like what we provide. Cats will suffer more if they are turned vegan just because it is in their nature and biology to require the amino acid present in meat. Again, any pet owners who put their cats in a vegan diet just exposes them to higher risks in diseases.
We love our pets. It is our responsibility to know what we feed them. We have to be responsible in their diet as they rely on us on what they eat. Please rethink if you want your pet to be vegan.