Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What do vegans feed their pets?



I get this question frequently. I am vegan and I keep two cats and one dog. Are they vegan too? The answer for me is no.
I honestly have always felt a little bit strange about it though. I mean I love snakes but I could never keep one because I personally would feel horrible feeding it mice, but when the dead animal comes prepackaged and cubed I am OK with it? This topic is complicated.

Feeding animals whether you are vegan or not is complicated! First off commercial pet food is bad.
I mean really really bad! What are our alternatives though?
The BARF diet (sounds delicious!) which consists of Biologically Appropriate Raw Food.
I have thought about doing something like this. The problem is I really can't convince myself to buy meat. Not even for my pets. Also this diet is scary. We have always been taught that commercial pet food is the best thing for our pets. Shaking this feeling is hard!

There are people who actually do feed their dogs a vegetarian diet. This also scares me. I am not an animal nutritionist so I really have no idea whether this is a healthy diet or not, but it scares me even more than BARF does.

There are also people who feed their pets homemade but cooked food. Don't forget the kitties too!

Back to my dilemma. For now, I still feed commercial pet food. However, since my dog has the privilege with living with vegans I try and supplement her dog food with healthy vegetables. Why do that? Well same reason we should eat fresh veggies of course-- fiber and vitamins to name a few! Here are some basic guidelines for what to avoid feeding your dog. Stella enjoys carrots, broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms ect. I sometime give her ground flax seed for her coat.


The cats remain skeptical.... But Stella is a real fan!
(Click the photo below to enlarge and check out that driblet of drool dangling down.... dang!)


So my jury is still out but what do YOU think? Vegan or omni what do you feed your pets and why? I would love to hear other perspectives!

20 comments:

  1. For me, I feed my cats cat food. While I as a human am an omnivore who can choose for myself an ethical plant-based diet and still be healthy, cats are obligate carnivores and don't have that luxury. Dogs can enjoy a more omnivorous diet though.

    I wish I could afford to feed them higher-quality food, but I'm still pretty poor. I'm also hesitant just how much stock to put into all the claims of "the best way to feed your pet is:". While I'm not debating that large brand pet food isn't the greatest, I'm still skeptical that most of the pet nutrition websites out there are any less pseudoscience and woo than much of the human food 'supplements' are - a way for the unscrupulous to lie about how grand their products are without any credible scientific backing and make a profit off of well-meaning people trying to muddle through conflicting information as well as they can.

    Still, it's something I've thought about. It's hard to support the suffering of other animals when you care enough about some animals to keep them as pets. Still, I love my cats very much, and I have to do what's best for them, even though that includes feeding them other animals. All I can do is adopt/rescue instead of buy, and keep on getting them spayed.

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  2. For me, ideally there would be synthetic meat (which comes with a myriad of issues of its own) to feed our obligate carnivores and carnivorous pets. Fact is, there's not... yet.

    The "best" way to feed an animal is as close to "natural" as possible, right? Well, one could argue that a domesticated cat left to its own devices would eat mice, so a natural diet would include disease infected mice.
    Actually, domesticated animals like cats and dogs hardly eat "naturally" in the way we think of the term. They scavenge for trash scraps, play with small mammals until they die, and sometimes swallow a spider when they're done torturing it. But the main part of a domesticated cat's diet is what we throw out.

    Could it then be argued that a commercial diet is healthier than what a cat would eat if left to his own devices? Some say absolutely. Some would adamantly disagree.

    I say life is a crap shoot. We have these amazing companions for as long as their genetics will allow. Sometimes they come to us already afflicted with irreversible diseases and all we can do is fill their bellies with something tasty. How will we ever know if this animal ate more naturally would he have lived longer?

    I digress. The issues is whether or not we as vegans feel morally wrong for feeding animals who have suffered to our animals who are spoiled.
    Me? Yes, it is wrong. But it is one of our limitations in our current circumstances, so we learn to accept it without allowing it to bring us down but at the same time never denying that what we're doing is not the best way.

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  3. Great points guys! Looks like we all fall in the same gray area here. Life is full of tough calls isn't it?

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  4. i share my home with 7 rescued cats. i choose to feed them a 100% grain free diet after doing allot of research on the subject. i have heard that cats can live healthy happy lives eating the vegan cat foods that are sold, but im still a bit skeptical about that knowing that cats are true carnivores. so thats why i choose to feed a high quality grain free food. i know raw meats would probably be best, but as a vegan, i cant bring myself to handle raw animal flesh. :/ if i had a dog, i would choose to experiment with cooking vegan meals and see how he or she would do with that. i feel that it may be possible for dogs to live happy and healthy on a vegan diet, but i think i would do the same thing that you did and experiment with some homemade cooked meals and see how he/she liked it. its a tuff subject. i find myself thinking about it allot. :/

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  5. My cat is actually allergic to meat! He'd never survive in the wild but we are lucky to have found each other.

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  6. So all you pet-owning "vegans" are a bunch of hypocrites! If you were really and truly vegan and sincerely cared about the environment, you would get rid of those dogs and cats. Their waste is toxic and detrimental to the environment and if dogs and cats are allowed outside, they kill and aggravate wildlife.

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    1. Vegans are usually against animal cruelty and that is why they don't eat meat. And your waist is way more toxic to the environment than dogs and cats. Get your facts strait before posting, dumbass.

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  7. I think that it is necessary to feed dogs meat as their digestive systems and teeth have been designed to eat meat throughout history. One thing you can do is choose locally grown meat, and free range farm/grass fed meat which is not the commercial norm. The issue is that it IS expensive. But so is organic ... until more people start supporting and switching to more plant based diets or supporting local grown food, its the price you pay. I feel at least some of the negative aspects of having to feed meat to my pets is offset by consciously supporting the better meat option and the local economy.

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  8. Hmmm. I have just started a vegan diet and I live on a farm with four dogs! It's great when they catch rabbits and eat them because rabbits are at plague proportions here. But most of the time I feed them dry commercial feed with chicken off cuts my partner brings home from work as a cook.

    My thoughts on the matter are the less meat and dairy we eat no matter how much that is, will make a difference. The thing is there are many products and everyday services that have to do with animal slaughter EG HORSE RACING! or just clothing and building materials, things we come in contact with on a regular basis.

    If everyone just cut out drinking milk for instance these dairy farming factories would start shutting down. If we all just stopped being so greedy. Already I see so many more alternative foods on the shelves these days. Because even those people who don't care about cruel farming practices will care about their own growing waistlines leading to early death.

    Nothing is wrong with killing to eat but what is wrong is greed and cruelty.

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  9. this is a huge dilemma for me as well. Being vegan for many years I came to conclusion that I am not having any pets any more in my life unless some hamster or bunny :) true vegan cannot live with carnivores and feed them meat of other slaughtered animals who have the same right to live ... so i am not a true vegan then. Now I have three small breed dogs and they eat only home cooked food cause I dont consider a commercial pet food as a food at all.. so I was experimenting for a while to feed them only grain, beans and veggie diet in all different variations-steamed, cooked thoroughly, raw... was trying to make the nutritional balance and finally cracked my brain doing that cause it simply didn't work for them. frustrated! their poop was not normal consistency, a big amount of mushy poop for such a small dogs with some mucous in, regular rumbling in the stomach and chewing the grass outside.. so I switched them back to their previous regular diet consisting of most part of the half cooked chicken + beef fat, (sometimes fish) raw yolk, brown rice and veggies and everything fell into place... i dont know! I feel hypocritical to contribute into farm animal slaughter by buying their meat for dogs but is there any solution? i know dogs short GIT is adapted to digest raw meat and some fermented veggies and common sense says that it would be unreasonably to go against the nature and feed carnivores the only veggie diet... but on the other hand i know a couple of ppl they are indians and their dogs eat only plant based diet and according what these ppl say their dogs feel great and thrive on this diet, but i didnt see it myself. so this is so tough :(((

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  10. I've been wondering about this issue. My dog LOVES to eat crickets and locusts and grasshoppers. I know they are high in protein, and wouldn't it be nice if someone figured out a way to make them into pet food?

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    1. Cricket let's look u stand grasshoppers are truly animals
      They are not mammals but neither are fish

      I am just letting u know incase u didn't
      There are tons of people who don't consider insects animals, but they are.

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    3. Cricket let's look u stand grasshoppers are truly animals
      They are not mammals but neither are fish

      I am just letting u know incase u didn't
      There are tons of people who don't consider insects animals, but they are.

      Delete
  11. As it is with deciding what we should eat and drink, questions come more often than clearly valid answers. There are a lot of very smart people who spend their lives studying such things and publishing their results, yet contradictions abound.

    These websites are loaded with ideas, support, and anecdotal information. They helped me to to see that our dogs AND cats may do well with certain vegan diets, but I continue to dig for the facts:

    PETA on Vegetarian Cats and Dogs
    http://www.peta.org/living/companion-animals/vegetarian-cats-and-dogs.aspx

    100 Vegan-Eating Dogs; An encyclopedia of Vegan Dog Nutrition
    http://thevegantruth.blogspot.com/2013/01/dogs-that-eat-vegan-directory.html
    Facebook - Vegan Dog Nutrition
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/126322004672/
    Facebook - Vegan Cat Nutrition
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/vegandognutrition/

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  13. This is a very informative blog and this post is great as usual.
    Buy Dog Food India

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  14. I think it's unfair to force your personal diet on an animal that was designed to hunt and consume meat.. As much as I'd love to feed my dog a raw diet, I just can't imagine handling raw meat! It grosses me out! I've done research on the best kibble to feed my dog and I've found that Taste of the Wild is one of the best on the market. My dog seems to be doing very well on it. It's a bit more expensive but worth every penny. People have been feeding their dogs kibble for years so it doesn't seem like a big deal to me as long you're feeling him a higher quality kibble.

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