Vegetarian food for cats and dogs


Hi,
Thanks for your excellent site! I live as vegetarian but like to get more into vegan stuff and it seems like your site could be of very good help.

But now it is not about me. I am curious about how it would be possible to reduce meat when feeding cats and dogs. I plan to take care of abandoned street dogs and cats but I don't know how to feed them.

Kindly,
Anna Sternfeldt

*****

Sassy Sez: Hi there, Anna! Wow, you are amazing. I am so proud of you for wanting to help out some of the lonely, abandoned animals out there.

You ask such a good question, especially if you're on a shoestring budget and can't afford to feed the little sweeties meat.

Personally, I have no dogs or cats, just 3 huge plants. :)

So I'm going to open this question up to our VeganCoach.com site visitors to see what ideas they might have for you. I know there are many people who feed their dogs and cats a vegetarian diet, and I hope they can share their thoughts here with you.

Anybody?

xo
Sass

Comments for Vegetarian food for cats and dogs

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Oct 17, 2011
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Blarney the Vegan
by: Anonymous

I use Nature's Choice for my basset hound. Some of the major pet food places supply it, but why shop there? Big chains often sell expired food and for higher prices.

If you locally owned pet food store does not carry it, I guarantee they will order it for you. The place closest to my house always has a big bag of food for me whenever I need it.

Does Blarney the basset love the food? Indeed. I adopted him about two years ago and he has been vegan for a year. He was extremely picky about food, I think I tried him on every expensive dog food I could find. He hated the all natural dog foods.(And, by hate I mean throw his bowl aside with his nose and starve until I present him with something acceptable.) He loves his vegan food though. It has been the best food for him by far. I pour 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil over the bowl a few nights a week to keep his coat fluffy.

For dog treats, there are ample choices from pre-made bagged doggie treats (usually peanut butter, veggie or apple) to homemade treats. I honestly spend way less money on my dog since he went vegan(ha ha like it was his choice). I have a "Kong" which I put peanut butter in for him, they have all different sizes of doggie Kongs and he has yet to destroy it. I do buy him nylon bones sometimes but they are expensive and he murders them within a day.

I think there is a debate as to whether naturally shed deer antlers are "vegan" or not. Who cares, make up your own mind. Naturally shed antlers can be found at many locally owned pet stores. They are mildly priced and last about a month of licking/gnawing. Honestly I don't know whether I consider them vegan or not. But, my roommates dogs used to eat them and I can confirm that they are not very pleasant to step on.

Blarney pictures available upon request ; )

Oct 18, 2011
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That was me!
by: Ali Sullivan

I don't know why I submitted as anonymous?

Oct 18, 2011
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Blarney
by: Anonymous

Hello!

Blarney actually eats Dick Van Patten's Natural Choice: Vegetarian Blend.

Here's a link!

http://www.naturalbalanceinc.com/dogformulas/Vegetarian.html

Oct 18, 2011
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I found this on the internet but it is pretty much how I feed my dog...
by: VeggyGurl

My dog also eats yogurt, some cheese and dried fruit as a snack/treat (banana chips are his favorite!) Getting your lentils, rice and beans in the bulk and on sale and keeping them in an air tight container will help on cost. I also use what vegetables are in season at the time. Good luck and I am sure the dogs and cats will love it.

***Cats have to have meat or they get kidney and eye issues so they should always have at least eggs and fish in the homemade food you give them or you will have to get some supplements online, but that can get very expensive :)***

Feeding your dog a vegetarian diet is perfectly healthy and can be accomplished as long as the recipe you use has adequate nutrients. The dog food recipe should be 1/3 protein, 1/3 vegetables, and 1/3 grains. There are some foods that are dangerous or deadly to dogs.

Some really good vegetarian protein sources are eggs (which are the most complete protein), lentils, yogurt, tofu, and cottage cheese.

Dogs can eat just about any vegetable. They should not eat onions, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts or garlic. Some vegetables that are good to use are beans, cabbage, peas, potatoes, and carrots.

Some good grain choices for dog food are brown rice and oatmeal.

Following is one of many recipe combinations:

Fill a large pot with water. Add a bag of lentils and several eggs. Some good supplements to add are brewers yeast for b vitamins, and kelp for nutrients such as iodine. Add uncooked vegetables now as well. Canned vegetables can be added when grain is added.

When lentils are getting tender, add rice or oatmeal. Cook for about 15 minutes, then turn off and let sit until cooled down, as the grain will continue to cook and expand until dish is cool.

Add some unsulfured molasses for extra iron and sweetness.

Once the dogfood is a safe temperature, your dog can eat some.

Refrigerate the remainder for later use.

Oct 18, 2011
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Vegan Diets for Dogs and Cats
by: Don

Anna, I'm not sure how well cats do on vegan diets, but dogs do fine, at least for the most part.

I've read about products on PETA Prime's website: V-Dog, Natural Balance, Nature's Recipe, and AvoDerm. For treats there's Mr. Barky's Treats, Mr. Pugsly's Treats, and various others. This info is from the following PETA Prime link:

http://prime.peta.org/2011/10/vegdog?=cppenews1011

Personally, I'm not convinced that omnivorous and carnivorous animals can or should be maintained for long periods of time on vegan foods.

Humans have insectivore teeth, so it's natural for humans to be vegetarian, but not so for dogs, and especially cats.

I wish you the best of luck.

Oct 18, 2011
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from a veterinarian
by: Dr. Jean

Please think carefully about putting your personal food choices on an animal that was not "designed" to follow them (and I'm a vegetarian myself).
Dogs are omnivores, they can manage on a vegetarian diet; there are completely vegan diets out there but I'm not convinced they're the best for the dogs (maybe they're good but where are the feeding trials?) And remember, EVERYTHING on the package is MARKETING and designed to separate you from your money - the people who make the food are out to sell a product, they're not your friends. When you start making your own food, vegetarian or not, you risk not feeding a balanced diet. If you check out www.petdiets.com, you can have a veterinary nutritionist put together a balanced diet (including any supplements you might need). Costs a little but isn't your dog's health worth it?

Cats CANNOT eat a vegetarian diet, they are obligate carnivores and will go blind, develop heart failure and die on a vegetarian diet (so no way vegan). Forcing a cat to eat vegan would be like feeding a cow pork chops. Doesn't work.

Jean Jarvis DVM

Oct 18, 2011
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Vegetarian food for allergies
by: Donna

Our older GSD (now deceased)suffered from poor health and allergies. We tried many formulas of kibble in his life. He ate chicken, then duck, then fish and potato kibble. When he again developed the bloody stool on the last one, the vet suggested we move to vegetarian food which is what he happily ate for the last 4 years of his life.

We still had some of the vegetarian food left when we rescued our current GSD. He seems to be doing well on it for the year that we have had the pleasure of his company. However, I have seen him catch and eat mice in the backyard. Actually, he catches them and plays with them until they die, then he eats them! After reading the post from the vet just above me, I'll be buying him a meat kibble.

Oct 18, 2011
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Lovely information!
by: Anna

Wow! I am so impressed by all you lovely people who have taken your time and shared your experience and knowledge on food for cats and dogs with me.

I share one similar experience that I myself had a German shepherd once who suffered from itching and I got the advice from a homeopath to reduce the amount on meat I gave him, and I did, plus that I didn't gave him dry food. I cooked potatoes, rice and grains and used only two spoons with meat everyday, and the itch was gone for the rest of his life.

I am happy to have learned that I can't feed cats on veggie food completely.

My aim here is not about money. I just want to be part of reducing the big meat industry and consumption which contributes to suffering as well as a high resource usages. Meat production uses up much more energy and resources than production of grains and veggies. So this is an ethical question for me, and it is about resource use and sustainability. Free living fish, free range chicken and eggs, that sounds fair enough.

With all your good advice I will likely find a suitable way so that I feel ok with it, as well as the animals I will take care of. There is also a veterinarian at the rescue center I will cooperate with (where the rescued animals stay, waiting for finding a home) so there will likely be professional advice available.
Lots of warm hugs to all of you.
Anna

Oct 27, 2011
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Home cooked food for dogs.
by: Anne

Look into a food called Hillary's Blend. I am not sure if they have vegan food, but they have vegetarian recipes. I met Hillary a couple years ago and was very impressed with her food. She supplies the recipes and the supplement for the food, but you buy all the ingredients yourself. Your vet should know about it and be able to provide more info.

Oct 27, 2011
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Thanks Anne
by: Anna

Thanks Anne, I will look into that.
Cheers Anna

Nov 22, 2011
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Interesting information
by: Kathy

Thank you for this interesting information.

Sep 16, 2012
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Vegan Cats
by: Michael

My vet feeds her cats Evolution vegan diet and has for several years. I tried it out on my cats for a bit, but they weren't having it, and given their health issues it honestly wasn't the best idea.

Someone else said it earlier - Dogs can easily adapt to a vegan diet (since they are naturally omnivorous), but cats need a LOT of accommodations and some will refuse to eat vegan food even after you've made those accommodations.

Sep 16, 2012
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Thanks for more info
by: Anna

Just want to say thank you Michael for your contribution. I am learning more and more..

Sep 16, 2012
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Please don't feed cats vegan food
by: Dr. Jean (D VM)

Sorry something happened when I tried to post so if this duplicats, sorry.

Michael and others - You CANNOT feed a cat a vegan diet. I don't care what that website says - you can find anything you want on the internet, doesn't make it good information. Cats are not designed to eat vegan food. If that website's food is so great, where are the feeding studies that show they've fed it to numerous cats over extended time and none of them developed nutritional problems? Gee, there aren't any. If they're trying to balance it to make up for deficiencies, then they're adding a bunch of stuff to it (is that really what you want out of a food?) All these companies, big pet food or small, are out there to separate you from your money (otherwise they wouldn't be in business). They're very cleverly marketing using words that make you associate their food with your own healthy food choices. Don't believe ANYTHING based on what you read on the website. Buyer beware! And once again, cats are obligate carnivores (they can't be vegan). Dogs are different.

Jean Jarvis DVM

Sep 16, 2012
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Difference between dogs and cats..and humans
by: Anna

Thanks Jean, I think that is the conclusion I have come to, that dogs can adjust to a more vegan diet, while cats can't. Thanks for pointing this out!

Jan 26, 2013
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No Veggie Diets for Cats
by: Lynne

I'm so glad Dr. Jean posted, because I'm not a vet, just a crazy cat lady. ;-) As Dr. Jean said, cats are obligate carnivores. Humans evolved to eat plants. Although we are able to digest and metabolize meat, it isn't healthy for us, but can keep us from starvation when needed. Cats evolved to eat meat. I know it's hard to buy meat or meaty cat food, when we have made the decision (often on humanitarian grounds)to forsake meat, but the best thing for your kitty is to feed her her natural diet. Meow.

Jan 26, 2013
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Vegan Dogs
by: Anonymous

I stopped feeding my dog meat based kibble over a year ago and he has taken to his new vegan food very well. I have a 6 year old Pomeranian Pekingese who I feed Natural Balance Vegetarian (vegan) dry food. His coat is softer, he is more trim and I have not noticed a change in his energy. I figured since I don't feel commercial meat is fit for humans to eat then the meat in pet food must be even worse.

Jan 27, 2013
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Vegetarian Diet for cats
by: Anais

Cats are strict carnivores. They can't utilize plant based proteins like dogs and humans do. People need to stop trying to turn cats into omnivores or even worse, vegans. If you are vegan and morally can't bring yourself to buy meat products then don't have a cat. Doing otherwise is animal cruelty. I'm a vegan myself but I feed my cats a raw meat diet. Because I love them and that's what cats thrive on. Do some basic research, learn the truth about cats nutrition just like you made the effort to learn about human nutrition and what we are really supposed to eat.
Lisa A Pierson is one of the most knowledgeable veterinarian about cats nutrition, her website Cat Info helped me tremendously and enabled me to cure my cats of recurring urinary tract infection and even the first signs of kidney failure. Proper nutrition is the key, it always is. But what's good for us is not good for cats and people need to just accept that.

Jan 27, 2013
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Thank you!
by: Sassy

Thanks everyone for your input so far. Lots for everyone to ponder! :)

xo
Sass

Jan 27, 2013
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Thanks for the interest
by: Anna

I agree with Sass, thanks for your comments. I am happy that people take their time to put in some thoughts on my question, even though it is a while ago I asked. There may not always be one "truth", there may be different opinions and different experiences. And that is what discussions like this are for, learning from each other, take pros and cons and evaluate what we believe will be the best, for ourselves and for our loved animals.

Jan 30, 2013
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dogs and cats
by: Anonymous

I was taught that cats are carnivores, and dogs should be fed as a mostly carnivore. Cats have those teeth for tearing into meat, dogs have teeth a little more like ours, but have those canines for breaking into bones etc.
Now when it comes to the intestines, I know that the cat has the long intestine for digesting meat, but have not read about the dog. Maybe someone else can check that out.

Feb 03, 2013
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Digestive systems
by: Sidney

I just had to comment on the digestive systems of dogs and cats next to ours. We have very long intestines, where most of our food is digested and we have more alkaline systems which are excellent for a plant based diet. Cats and dogs, like their wild relatives, have short intestines, and have much more acidic stomach acids, and the majority of the food is digested in their stomach. I believe you have to look at what wolves, coyotes, cougars, and lions eat to compare what your dog or cat should be eating, not us. I looked into trying to make my pets more vegetarian, but I have to respect what works best for them, so I just try to buy free range and local products as best I can, and make sure I live as vegan a lifestyle as possible to make up for what I feel is best for them.

Feb 03, 2013
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Dogs and wolves, not the same
by: Dr. Jean

Interestingly enough, a study just came out that shows dogs don't have the same digestive enzymes as wolves - dogs are more adapted to digest a diet more similar to ours (dogs have more of the enzymes to digest starches for instance). Dogs can do OK on a vegetarian/vegan diet with careful planning. Cats not so much (but cats are clearly not little people, they are their own wonderful, opnionated and mysterious selves!)

Feb 03, 2013
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Dogs and Wolves
by: Don Randall

I suppose dogs and wolves do have differences, but I've heard dogs and wolves can interbreed and have fertile offspring. That must mean they are of the same species. If anyone knows more about the science of dogs and wolves interbreeding, I'd love to hear about it.

Feb 03, 2013
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Dogs and fibres
by: Anna

Great to read your inputs!
I think what I gather from all different info that there is a difference between dogs and cats, that dogs can manage on a more vegetarian diet while cats can't. One example to mention is about my German Shephard I once had. He had an severe itching problem and I tried a lot, but nothing helped. The vet ordinated me to bathe him in cream for flees and others, but he stilled itched.
But one day a guy jogged by, and stopped and asked if he could give me an advice, he said he was a homeopat and that he saw my dog was itching. And of course, I was open to everything that could help my dog. He said that many dogs eat too much meat, too much protein, that dogs in the wild actually eat grass sometimes, that they need fibres which we humans many times forget to give them. He adviced me to reduce the amount of meat and give him more other stuff, like veggies, potatoes, pasta, barley, rice and similar food and just a few spones with meat. So I did. And my dog stopped itching.

Apr 02, 2013
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Cats and the Dogs are Carnivores
by: Anonymous

Both the Cat and the Dog are Carnivores. Carnivores eat meat, other animals in order to survive. Neither the Cat nor Dog is an Omnivores. Please do not try to make you pet a vegetarian.

May 14, 2014
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Smoothies for me, greens for my dogs!
by: Nikki

I've been washing my kale, spinach, & broccoli when I get home, spin it in the salad spinner, then put one morning's smoothie portion of each all together in one Debbie Myer green bag. This saves so much time, and I get 5 days of bags.

Then I juice the days greens along with some carrots, and put the juice in my "super" smoothie.

But the really interesting thing is that I found out that my 2 dogs absolutely love eating the stalks of the kale when I pull off the leafy part, and they also love eating broccoli crowns and stalks, And they love the pulp from the juicing of all of the above! I knew they loved carrots, but never would have dreamed they would like the other 3 items.

I discovered this when these items either dropped on the floor, or the dogs pulled them out of the trash can. So now they get their veggies right along with me.

I also add frozen organic green beans along with their dried kibble.

But, I stress, that this is in addition to their normal portion of kibble which is also a very balanced, high quality product.

My vet thinks this is just awesome for them, and they are both super fit, active Australian Shepherds. And I do mean active!

I thought this might be helpful to others.

Mar 29, 2016
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Dog And Cats are Carniverous
by: Susan Maniates

Digestive System much Shorter than ours. They cannot get necessary nutrition from Vegtables. Many other health issues of concern.

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