Vegetarian diet for dog
Wendy Brown, a scientist in Armidale, Australia, has recently published a study that found dogs are able to thrive on a meat-free diet. Dr. Brown and her team studied the health and performance of Siberian Huskies during a 10-week racing period and concluded that the dogs performed just as well on a vegetarian diet as they did on a traditional meat-based diet.
Brown, a canine nutritionist who works at the University of New England says she is confident that dogs can thrive on a meat-free diet but warns that preparing a nutritionally sound vegetarian diet for a dog is more difficult and time-consuming than many people think.
Brown has also voiced concerns about some of the commercial vegetarian diets available for dogs. Many of these diets, she says, go untested because the makers believe that even feeding trials are cruel. For her own trials, Brown says the dogs she borrows are often show dogs and they’re well-cared for and happy.
“As dogs belong to the order Carnivora, it’s often assumed that they are exclusively carnivorous, but in fact they are omnivores, belonging to the same superfamily with the Carnivora as the bamboo-eating giant panda and the omnivorous bear,” she told the Armidale Express.
When Brown presented her findings during the Recent Advances in Animal Nutrition 2009 she addressed the common argument that dog owners should refrain from imposing personal values on their pets. Brown stresses that canine vegetarianism should be looked at from a nutritional perspective, such as meeting a dog’s nutritional needs, maintaining health, and ensuring palatability. Owners considering switching their dogs’ diets from a meat-based to a plant-based fare should consult with their veterinarians first to set up an optimal plan for each individual dog. A professional can help determine a well-rounded nutritional plan that owners can realistically maintain and if vegan or vegetarian vitamins can also help supplement the diet.