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Can I Feed My Pet A Vegan Diet?

Published date: 28 February 2024

With Veganuary upon us and an ever-increasing number of us turning to a vegan lifestyle, it’s natural for pet owners to consider their own furry friend’s food more carefully.

According to the PDSA 2022 Paw Report around 2% of dog owners and cat owners in the UK are feeding a commercial vegan or homemade vegan diet to their furry friends. Vegan food being included in the statistics suggests this is a significant trend.

There are now many brands with plant-based versions of their products and some brands are entirely vegan or vegetarian focused. With many companies now existing it is worth considering if our dogs and cats should be fed a vegan diet.

In short, the answer is no and to understand this it is important to understand our dogs and cats themselves.

Are dogs and cats’ carnivores or omnivores?

Both species have come from generations of ancestors who have hunted meat to survive. They have sharp teeth for meat eating, superb senses, remarkable athletic abilities to hunt prey and of course their highly acidic stomach is designed to break down meat, flesh and bone.

The question still often asked is if both dogs and cats are carnivores.

Dogs are omnivorous carnivores, due to their Grey Wolf ancestry and their long development alongside humans. When wolves settled in beside humans, over the many thousands of years since their domestication they have been exposed to table scraps and human plant foods.

Our dogs have a flexible system due to this and so technically could survive on a plant-based diet. Protein is an essential nutrient for our dogs but being somewhat omnivorous they can get this from either plant or animal sources. Certain proteins however are much more abundant within animal-based products so it can be easy (especially with a homemade vegan diet) to not be giving your dog what they really need. Dogs not given everything they need are more likely to suffer with illness and issues either now or in the future.

Ultimately surviving does not equal thriving! Decades of research tells us that feeding biologically appropriate high quality meat-based diets keeps our pets happier and healthier.

When it comes to our feline friends, they are classed as Obligate Carnivores, which means an animal that eats meat out of biological necessity. Our moggies need a higher level of protein and animal fat in their diets than dogs and CANNOT survive on plant matter alone.

Essentially a vegetarian or vegan diet is NOT suitable for our feline friends. Feeding cats these diets would certainly mean going against the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which states you are obliged to feed pets a suitable diet that meets their nutritional needs.

Rather than focusing on unsuitable diets for dogs and cats, instead look for higher welfare within a meat-based brand. McAdams is the only dry pet food to source meat from RSPCA assured farms meaning the welfare and conditions of the livestock come first.

How can I be a more sustainable pet owner?

Many owners are inclined to choose a vegan/vegetarian diet for their furry friend, simply down to the impact meat has on the planet. However rather than feeding a diet that likely won’t keep your dog as healthy as they can be, try other ways to be more sustainable instead.

Use Yora, an eco-friendly nutritious insect alternative to meat. The grubs are just as nutritious as fresh chicken or salmon and have a fraction of the environmental pawprint.

Alongside delicious insect food, there is a way to be greener with all your pet products. From cosy beds, treats, to grooming tools, poop bags and cat litter, we have a great range of eco-friendly pet products to help you and your pet live more sustainably.

At Pets Corner, we want to ensure pets have great nutrition whilst taking care of the planet! Discover which food is best for your pet at Pet Food Expert.