Vegetarian and vegan nutrition for people is trendy. But trends are not always good advisors when it comes to dog and cat food. Purina, a company that is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of pet food, knows this too. Here, scientific findings on everything to do with pet food determine what goes into the bowl. We asked the Purina experts: Is it healthy to eat a vegetarian diet for dogs and cats?
Why is a Vegetarian Diet for Pets Trending?
More and more cat and dog friends want to feed their animal companions a vegetarian diet. There are many reasons for this:
- Animal welfare: Many animal lovers forego meat because of the sometimes controversial ways of keeping animals. They also want to stay true to their line when buying animal feed.
- Climate: Meat production is more resource-intensive than the production of plant-based foods.
Allergies: Some dogs and cats are allergic or have an intolerance to certain types of meat.
- Own nutrition: Pet owners assume that what is good for them cannot harm their four-legged friend – for example, a vegetarian diet.
A combination of the reasons mentioned often leads pet owners to the question: “Can I feed my dog or cat purely plant-based?” Trends in the food sector suggest: “What is vegetarian is healthy.” But even if that were the case, we can Knowledge about human nutrition is not transferred to our furry friends.
This is Why You Shouldn’t Give a Cat a Vegetarian Diet
Whether house tiger or Siberian tiger: cats have a special position among the predators. Because they feed exclusively on prey animals. Although the domesticated velvet paws have lived near humans for thousands of years, the mouse trappers have mostly been self-sufficient. The cat is a highly specialized hunter, which means: Your body is optimized for hunting with all of its senses.
That is why the cat can use animal food best. This can be seen on the dentition as well as on the short intestine, which is designed to digest animal tissues. Cats need certain amino acids to build proteins and regulate their metabolism. “Meat and offal are excellent sources of protein and contain all essential amino acids as well as taurine, arachidonic acid, and vitamin A, three other indispensable components of a healthy cat diet. Vegetable proteins, on the other hand, do not contain all the amino acids that cats need, ”summed up the Purina experts.
A vegetarian or vegan diet is therefore not suitable for cats!
Possible: Feed Dogs with a Vegetarian Diet
Not every hunter is dependent on animal tissue. The most famous example is the giant panda: a predator that feeds almost exclusively on crisp bamboo stalks. However, its digestion has adapted to it over the millennia. So what about the dog? Dogs are prey-eaters who can digest plant-based food well. Dogs can be given a vegetarian diet to cover their needs.
What should you watch out for in a vegetarian dog diet?
If you want to feed your dog a vegetarian diet, you should deal intensively with the topic. It is necessary to find out about the dog’s needs in order to prevent malnutrition. Basing yourself on what you eat is not a good idea. So the dog has a species-specific nutritional requirement. In order to be able to create a needs-based ration for the dog, you should contact your vet and ask him to use a ration calculation program to calculate a suitable ration for the dog. One possible consequence of a vegetarian diet that is not suitable for dogs is anemia. The dog can appear limp and listless.
Tip: If the dog does not react sensitively to changes in food, nothing speaks against an occasional “Veggie Day”. For example, you can combine rice or cereal flakes with fermented dairy products such as cottage cheese and add vegetables and oil.
Can I feed my dog a vegan diet?
Feeding the dog vegan – a controversial topic. Dog owners must be aware that this also requires adding minerals and vitamins. Otherwise, there is a risk of nutrient deficiencies. One thing is clear: a vegan diet does not correspond to a dog’s natural diet. If you want to keep your four-legged friend on a vegan diet, you should talk to a veterinarian who specializes in nutrition beforehand.
Simple: Species-appropriate Food for Dogs and Cats
Complete food for dogs or cats contains everything your four-legged friend needs. This is uncomplicated for pet owners and at the same time meets the needs of dogs and cats. This is ensured by a team of experts at Purina consisting of 350 nutritionists, veterinarians, and animal behavior researchers. Your goal: balanced food that dogs and cats taste great!
The company also keeps an eye on farm animals: Purina has been a member of the “Animal Welfare in Agriculture” initiative since 2012. In addition, the animal feed manufacturer sets high standards in the choice of suppliers from breeding to slaughter. Pet food makes it possible to make full use of the value chain relating to farm animals and to utilize the entire farm animal by using ready-to-eat tissues that are not in demand for human nutrition for pet nutrition. This is because many high-quality components, such as the heart or other offal, which are produced in meat production for the human dinner plate, are used here.