PDSA

I am a lifelong vegetarian. I don’t eat meat for many reasons, but mainly because I don’t think humans need to eat it to be healthy. However, I am conflicted because I own a dog. I couldn’t live without him. He’s called Charlie and is a collie-Lab-Whippet cross and he’s just two years old. I feed him kibbled food. What are your views on vegetarian diets for dogs?

Nick Thompson advises…

I have lots of vegetarian clients and many go through this dilemma: whether to feed their dog vegetarian food or give them meat to eat because dogs are carnivores. Surprisingly, there is an easy answer. It is species-appropriate food. Humans evolved to be omnivorous. Dogs, on the other hand, grew to be different shades of carnivorous. If you want to feed the healthiest, most appropriate diet, then you have a variety of choices. You, of course, can go vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian or omnivore, for example. But there are fewer options for the dog. All of the options for the dog, if you ask me, involve some fresh cooked meat. I’m not going into the whole ‘is a dog a carnivore or a carnivorous omnivore’ argument, because I don’t see it’s helpful here. Dogs eat meat whenever possible. They always have and always will, and I feel we must respect this for their optimal health. Studies are showing this preference for a protein/fat-rich diet over a high carb diet.

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