Can My Dog Be a Vegetarian Like Me?
Vegetarianism is on the rise in this country. It is a movement to stray away from most processed products and live a more environmentally-friendly life. And for those with political opposition to the meat industry, a vegetarian diet is to show opposition to the practices and procedures. With more and more people dropping meat from their diets, many other habits and everyday procedures are altered as well. This includes introducing a vegetarian diet to the family dog. But does that really work?
The important thing to know is that dogs, like humans, are naturally omnivorous. While they do enjoy munching on grass and other plants, they also have sharp teeth built to rip and tear meat, which is often a staple in the diet of active dogs. Yet with the domestication of pets, it has become a lot easier to change what and how these animals eat.
While there are many varieties of nutritious dog food for a vegetarian lifestyle, it is still important to note the content of the food. A lack of animal byproducts will result in a loss in protein, which keeps dogs in shape and active. Protein can easily be replaced by vitamin supplements with the food, or with soy protein contained within the food. Note that some dogs, like some people, can't digest soy.
Changing over to a vegetarian diet can be risky for dogs. Their eating must be closely monitored for several months after introducing them to a vegetarian diet to ensure they are consuming and digesting the food well. It is a good idea to first mix the conventional food with the vegetarian food, and slowly alter the portions every few weeks. This assists the dog's stomach in getting used to the food.
Always consult a veterinarian to make sure your dog is getting enough of the key vitamins and minerals it needs to survive. A veterinarian can recommend, or even supply, vitamin supplements to ensure that a vegetarian diet will work.
This is a process that requires time and patience. While a vegetarian diet may not work for all dogs, there are still many options to incorporate your dog's health into your own lifestyle.