Vegetarian diets have become extremely popular amongst people and in turn people want to put their dogs and cats on vegetarian diets. The main concern is whether vegetarian diets are Ok for your pets. First off, there has to be a clear understanding regarding your dog or cat's anatomy.
Dogs and cats are carnivora (meat-eaters) unlike horses and cattle that are herbivores (plant-eaters). Their teeth are designed by nature to eat animal tissue.
Dogs and cats have very short intestinal tracts unlike humans and horses. They can not digest large amounts of plants. Their nutritional needs are high levels of protein and calcium which are sadly lacking in vegetarian diets.
Cats, more so than dogs, can not convert beta-carotene (found in greens and carrots) into Vitamin A. Cats do get this conversion in things like liver and fish oils.
Dogs and cats do not suffer from high cholesterol or coronary artery disease, therefore reducing saturated fats by cutting out meats is totally moot.
Concerns regarding contaminated meats from raw or uncooked foods have no foundations either. All commercial pet foods, to a degree, are "unnatural". Pet food companies to not sell raw, uncooked meats.
Eliminating all animal products from a vegetarian diet is known as Vegan. Absolutely no animal products are consumed, including fish. Eliminating all animal products from your pet's diet can compromise their health. The nutritional requirements for dogs and cats are very different from those of humans.
Dogs and cats need high levels of vitamin B12, which is not found in plants. Cats, even more than dogs, have unique nutritional requirements making in extremely difficult to meet these needs without some form of animal ingredients.
You should balance any perceived health benefits against the real health risks. A diet that might be fine for you, could be potentially dangerous and unhealthy for dogs and cats. Asking yourself are vegetarian diets Ok for your pets, I believe you will find the answer to that is No.
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About the author:
I live in Houston, TX with my 4 kitties and two dogs. I take care of homeless kitties and try and find them homes. I have rescued a few dogs and found them homes. I love reading and also sell books online. I work as a flight attendant full time. I...