Greyt Inspirations Life

A little about our life, our business and our pets.

Dogs aren’t vegans

FoodThere are plenty of people who know more about dogs than I do.  All I can do as a pet owner is study and keep up with the best possible health and diet information for my dogs.  However, I have had dogs since I was a kid.  I’ve been breeding and showing English Setters since 1987.  In that time there is one thing that I have learned without a doubt:  dogs like meat.  You wouldn’t think that this bit of news was a revelation to most people, would you?  And yet, there are some people who, for various reasons (mostly philosophical) try to feed dogs a vegetarian or even vegan diet.  All I can say is that I pity their dogs.

One hot topic of discussion on some dog e-mail lists recently has been a food called Humane Choice promoted by the Humane Society of the United States.  I’d like to draw your attention to the list of ingredients starting from the first ingredient — the ingredients are listed by weight before processing:

Organic ground canola seed, organic brown rice, organic soybean meal, organic buckwheat, organic flaxseed, organic sunflower seed, organic millet, organic carrots, organic beets, organic broccoli, organic sunflower oil, organic canola oil, organic peas…

Organic ingredients are just great, but consider what those ingredients actually are.  Consider what you are — and aren’t feeding your dog with a food like this one.  Dogs have a much easier time digesting animal protein than vegetable matter.  When you feed your dog a food that contains large amounts of vegetable matter, like corn or wheat or like the ingredients in this food, your dog can’t digest it as well as he digests meat protein.  He’s a carnivore, biologically speaking, and his system functions more efficiently when he is digesting animal sources of protein — meat, eggs, fish.  When you feed your dog vegetable products he passes a large percentage of them through his system without getting as much nutritional benefit from them as from better protein sources.  (More vegetable matter also means that you have more dog poop to clean up.)

The truth is that dogs don’t actually need vegetables in their diet.  They get virtually everything that they need, nutritionally speaking, from meat, bones and good sources of nutrients.  If you want to add veggies to your dog’s diet you should puree raw vegetables or steam them since dogs can’t really process whole raw vegetables — though they like them as snacks.  That’s why if you want your dog to lose weight people often suggest that you add green beans or carrots to their diet.  Dogs like to eat them and they help them feel full but they really contain few calories for a dog.

If you’d like more information about what to feed your dog I recommend the DogAware site.  It’s the best site I know, bar none, about feeding your dog no matter what your feeding preference is.  The emphasis is on good nutrition, whether you feed a commercial dog food, raw, homecooked or some combination.

Keep in mind that most canine nutritional experts recommend feeding fewer grains, not more, so a food like Humane Choice is a non-starter.  It’s all grains and seeds.  It has no sources of animal protein.  Vegan diets for dogs just don’t make nutritional sense, regardless of the owner’s personal preferences.

For more information on choosing a good dog food you can read The Whole Dog Journal’s article “How To Choose Dog Food.”

June 15, 2009 - Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , , , ,

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