There are many reasons to consider switching your diet over to vegetarian, health issues, toxicity issues in livestock, geopolitical issues around population, environmental issues, etc. There is no doubt that a well balanced vegetarian diet can work quite well for humans if they choose to go that route. If you are a vegetarian pet owner the question has probably arisen as to whether your dog could also be a vegetarian, saving you from having to mess with meat based food for them. It is a good question and one that raises plenty of controversy between people holding strong feelings and beliefs on both sides of the issue.
At The Critters & Me we have tried to stay out of the fray as much as possible. While it is true that most of our pet foods do contain meat, we also carry some freeze dried meal bases that do not have meat and we carry numerous supplements that can be added to an animal’s diet. Dogs’ early evolutionary history clearly favors a diet of meat and raw meat at that. But it is also true that their more recent history is one that includes more processed meats, vegetables and grains as they have relied almost exclusively on humans to provide for them. The question for us has always been, is the animal receiving all the nutrition that is needs in a form that they can process, whether they are eating strictly vegetables or strictly meat or a combination of the two. It is our experience that nutrition is the basis of good health and we have seen countless situations where adjusting the diet has corrected chronic and acute health issues. Whether that means adding more or less meat or vegetables depends on the age, health and issue a dog might be dealing with.
Finally, to our delight, we have come across an article based on a presentation by Julie Ann Lee DCH RCSHom, that addresses the question from a broad yet knowledgeable perspective. A vegetarian herself, she is sympathetic to the broader issues but is willing to consider in detail the differences between humans and animals and how they process different types of food. If you are wrestling with this question yourself or have in the past, you might want to take a look at this in depth article posted by our friends at Dogs Naturally Magazine. The article was compiled by Julia Henriques, Managing Editor of Dogs Naturally Magazine. Please click on the link below to access the full article. If you decide to make any changes in your pet’s diet we are always here to help.