Should my Companion Animal be Vegan?

This is a very good question and one I’m currently struggling with as I embark on my vegan voyage of discovery!

If the humans in the house are making the effort, shouldn’t their companion animals be on board too? It feels hypocritical to walk round the supermarket obsessively checking the ingredients on everything you eat before heading straight for the butchers counter for some off-cuts (no commercial dog food/factory floor sweepings for the Fresh Prince)!

As experts point to livestock consumption as a greater factor in climate change than air travel, I’d love to say I’m part of the solution, not the problem. However, the truth is there’s probably more meat in my fridge than in your average aware meat eater’s and I’m feeling more and more uncomfortable about it.

I’m aware of the arguments on both sides. Vegans claim dogs are omnivores and a vegan diet can be safely provided with the addition of certain supplements; that pet food grade meat is harmful; feeding your dog meat is inconsistent with a vegan lifestyle, and so on.

The opposition say that dogs are carnivores with teeth designed for ripping flesh, not chewing plants; their short digestive tract is unsuited to breaking down complex carbohydrates and veggies; and that they need animal protein.

Nico Laughing! by Kate Williams
Nico Laughing! by Kate Williams

I do believe dogs can survive on a vegan diet as I’ve known several who have, living to a ripe old age.

Cats, I understand, are more dependent on meat and extra care needs to be taken if you do decide to consider vegan food for them.

Look at the amount of people who will tell you humans can’t survive without animal protein yet here we are, not dead yet! Still, while I care about all animals, he’s the one I live with and his health is paramount to me.

I feel I need to do more research before I’m 100% convinced. Luckily there is plenty of information out there on this, so I better get started!

Find out more about feeding your beloved companions a plant-based diet from the Vegan Society and check out the vast array of vegan products at Veggie Pets.

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