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Can a dog be vegetarian?

Vegetarian and vegan diets are popular with humans. But are they as good for our dogs?

Your dog is a carnivore

Dogs are carnivores by nature. That’s why fresh meat is most suitable for their biology. Raw meat, bones, offal, and a few fruits and vegetables are what your animal would consume in his or her natural habitat.

Your dog has a unique digestive system

There is a link between an animal’s diet and the length of their intestines. Carnivores have a shorter intestinal tract than herbivores. Where the digestive tract is short, absorption is limited, meaning that food is processed quickly. Therefore, it’s imperative that dog food be highly digestible—hence why we prefer fresh meat.

Did you know… Dogs can’t break down carbs and starch (plant matter) because they don’t possess the enzymes necessary to do so. As a result, they cannot consume significant quantities of plants. Omnivores and herbivores, on the other hand, naturally produce this enzyme.

Your dog has carnivorous teeth

Your dog’s jaw physically cannot perform the lateral movement that a herbivore achieves to crush vegetation. Plus, your dog’s salivary glands are smaller and more mucusy. In fact, they lubricate food before swallowing rather than simply moistening it, as herbivores do with plants.

Your dog needs animal protein

Your dog needs 22 essential amino acids to achieve an optimal metabolism and energy level. Yet, dogs can only produce 12 out of 22. The other 10 they get from their food. Fresh, good quality animal protein gives your dog’s diet a complete amino acid profile.

Did you know… Proteins from animal sources (collagen, elastin, keratin) are vital for the health of your dog’s skin, muscles, and joints, and they are impossible to attain on a vegetarian diet.

And what about nutritional deficiencies…

It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for a dog to achieve a complete and balanced diet on a vegetarian regime. Some nutrients are best absorbed when they originate from an animal. Over time, a vegetarian diet will negatively affect the health, longevity, and well-being of your pet.

At Faim Museau, many of us (all humans! 😊) have a vegetarian diet from which we derive a lot of benefits, knowing that the same isn’t true for our dogs. Each species has a diet that is appropriate for its biology. Unfortunately vegetarianism is not that of dogs.

However, like you, we care about the impact that meat has on the environment. So we choose to make use of animal parts that are less popular with humans (bones, offal, animal parts that are difficult to cook) in order to create our recipes. These foods are rated for human consumption and are very nutritious for your dog.

This way of doing things allows us to fully honour the farm animal and avoid food waste entirely. The production of our food does not pose any additional harm to the environment.