Can Dogs Be Vegan? 5 Tips on Plant-Based Diets for Pets
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, then you might wonder if your dog can thrive on the same diet. And the good news is, they can! Article courtesy of Emily Green Founder & Chief Editor of DoggieDesigner.com.
How to Ease Your Dog Into a Vegan Diet
Whether it’s a desire to have less ecological impact or just to help your dog’s health condition, transferring these carnivores to a vegetarian diet can be a bit rough. It can be done, however, and the results are often worth it!
Dogs are actually omnivores, so it’s possible for them to be happy and healthy with eating things created from the green stuff in nature. If you’re looking to go down this path then read on and we’ll give you some pointers to get started.
1 Mix New Food in Slowly
You’ll need to slowly switch your dog by gradually adding higher portions of their plant-based dog food.
The usual way to start is to add 25% of the plant-based food to their current diet. Every few days afterward, you’ll want to add another 25% until you’re at the 75% mark. From there you may need to move slower.
Don’t be afraid to stick with each portion of new food for longer. Some dogs won’t make the switch as easily as others, and it will be much more difficult with senior dogs than the younger ones.
The key here is to gradually move them over. Dogs may not have the subtle taste buds of humans, but they’re going to notice something is up when their food begins to taste and feel different. You need to let them know it’s safe and good by adding it to their diet slowly. So, don’t throw away that bag of Purina just yet. Just get ready to begin the switch.
2 Talk to Your Veterinarian
Whenever you make a major change in your dog’s lifestyle, you’ll want to talk with a veterinarian.
While a plant-based diet is reasonable for a grown dog, it may not be ideal for a puppy. Their higher protein needs are extremely hard to meet with plant-based proteins, although it may not be impossible. Your dog may also have a health condition that makes changing them over difficult without supplements.
Many people skip this vital step, assuming the worst about their veterinarian. However, dogs going vegetarian has been a thing for some time, it’s already indicated when certain conditions crop up. Liver disease, for instance.
It’s not one you want to skim over. You and your vet can work together to make the switch a lot smoother and alleviate any risk factors for your animal.
2 Incentivise the Food
You can incentivize your dog with vegetarian foods as you switch them over. Many people use cheese or chopped eggs on top of the plant-based food to make it more appetising for the animal.
If your dog still refuses to eat their new kibble, then you may need to switch them to wet food as well. Dogs have a keen sense of smell, and wet food smells better to them on average than any other kind.
Praise and treats also work. Just keep encouraging your dog to eat their food and they’ll make the switch more quickly than you’d think.
4 Research Supplements
While most available vegetarian dog foods have all of the necessary nutrients, they’re not perfect. Sometimes a dog may need more of one nutrient than others, Vitamin E for eye health for instance.
If your breed is prone to problems, then you likely already know what nutrients they’ll need. Take the time to track down alternatives to getting them through their food, it may be just the thing you need to get your dog in tip-top shape despite their diet.
Dog supplements are a huge market, but trust real reviews and find the right stuff. Your dog’s health may depend on it since nutrition is the foundation of bodily health.
5 Find Alternative Treats
The majority of dog treats are based on meat. Unfortunately, food is also one of the biggest ways to train dogs. It makes sense to find a great plant-based alternative for them.
Luckily, vegetarian and vegan treats abound and it’s currently a huge market. It’s more a matter of finding what your dog likes than anything, especially if you’re still in the training process.
The good news is that vegetarian treats will have fewer calories than meat-based ones. Some people worry about their dog’s calorie intake, especially when their pet is overweight. It’s just a little bit more weight off your shoulders knowing that the treats are less fattening.
Alternatively, you may want to find other ways to keep your dog’s interest. Verbal praise, petting, or allowing access to a favorite toy all make good alternatives to treats. They work in most, but not all cases.
You’ll find the right balance in time, just keep experimenting. The market supports our pets very well, you can find anything from natural, waterless shampoo to protein powders for animals. Finding a great plant-based treat is downright easy.
When you’re ready to make the switch, remember the above tips and you’ll have much smoother sailing in these new waters.
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