Can My Dog Be Vegetarian Like Me?

You’ve gone vegetarian. You love animals, so you don’t want to eat them. Now that you’re fully immersed in this lifestyle, you want to know if it’s safe for your dog too. We dug deep into some case studies to get answers.

  • Brown Study: In a 16 week study of Siberian Husky sprint racers, (which included 10 weeks of competitive racing), the poultry in their meals were replaced with maize gluten and soybean meal. Vets who conducted health checks (and had no idea of the switch) gave the dogs an excellent bill of health.
  • Semp Study: A study conducted in Europe assessed dogs who were fed a vegan diet for up to 7 years.  All dogs had normal blood levels, 39% had shiner and healthier coats, and most indicated they had better stools and less odors.
  • PETA Study: PETA conducted a survey of 300 vegetarian & vegan dogs from puppy to 19 years old, in a wide range of breeds. Over 80% of dogs were reported to be in good to excellent health. 

There's a lot of evidence to suggest that most dogs may actually thrive on a carefully designed vegetarian/vegan diet. Benefits can include improved coat condition, allergy control, weight control, increased overall health and vitality, arthritis and diabetes regression, cataract resolution, and decreased incidences of cancer, infections, fleas and ticks.Every dog is different and has individual needs.

Dog parents should speak with a qualified vet or veterinary nutritionist to develop a diet plan that makes sense and minimizes health risks.

Making the Transition

PETA suggests these steps to make the transition:

    • Start slowly, mix vegetarian food with the meat-based food. There are many good canned brands out there.
    • Gradually increase the vegetarian portion and decrease the meat-based diet over one to two weeks.
    • Most dogs’ health improves on a vegetarian diet, but be sure to monitor your animal closely to make sure that the new diet is agreeable. If not, you can try to switch to a different brand, supplement commercial food with fresh whole or raw foods, or go back to the meat-based food.
    • Some dogs require supplemental taurine and L-carnitine (available in health food stores). These amino acids can prevent dilated cardiomyopathy in breeds that are prone to the disease, such as Doberman Pinschers, Boxers, Cocker Spaniels, Dalmatians, and many other large breeds.

With a little time, energy and education, it is possible to support your ethical vision without compromising your dog's health. 


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