Vegetarianism In Dogs
Vegetarianism has become somewhat fashionable these days, with many celebrities following the path apparently for the moral route, not to mention the health benefits. However, vegetarianism for dogs is looked at a little differently and a lot of people are confused as to whether it is feasible for our canine friends. While the practice is seen as moral for humans, owners not feeding their dogs meat products is viewed sceptically and this article will look to address all of the different viewpoints.
As well as from the moral perspective, a lot of people like to become a vegetarian due to the health benefits. Eating meat can cause issues such as high cholesterol and other heart problems, mainly because the food contains lots of saturated fats. However, these issues should not be considered for animals, as the health problems associated with meat do not affect them. For example, dogs are not affected by the cholesterol or artery problems to anywhere near the same extent that humans are.
As already stated, the primary reason why humans turn to vegetarianism is due to the morals. Some people feel that it is just morally wrong for an animal to be killed to be eaten and therefore refuse to consume such products. Those vegetarians that do own a dog may want to pass these morals on, but this is where the dilemma occurs. First of all, the dog cannot decide what they want to mainly eat and therefore, it could be suggested that they should just be fed what their bodies are designed to process, which is something that will be discussed later in the article. Secondly, if “doing the right thing” is the main issue on the owners mind, perhaps the thought of arranging a pet’s diet that’s against their nature is something that should be considered. While vegetarianism may seem correct to a human, feeding non-meat products to an animal who does not have a choice in the matter could be perceived as immoral by some quarters.
Another major factor that people should consider when making this decision is a dog’s anatomy. While dogs are now known to also eat plants and are classed as omnivores, originally they were just meat-eaters. The size and shape of their intestines suggest that eating animal tissues is more natural than digesting solely just plants. What's more, two of the major elements required in a dogs diet are protein and calcium – both of which are extremely prevalent in meat.
However, obviously not everyone is against vegetarian diets for dogs and that's why there are products on the market that are specially formulated for canine vegetarians. It's argued by some that the contents contained in meat-related products are bordering on disgusting, with some foods supposedly containing all sorts of components from animals and sometimes even traces of chemicals that were used to kill them in the first place. Still, this argument can be switched to vegetarian products. As dogs require so many vitamins and minerals, it becomes very hard to find these components in non-meat sources and even if a diet is formulated, it will undoubtedly come at a cost. This means that man-made substitutes may have to be added and of course, there is a debate as to whether or not these will be as effective as the real thing.
In conclusion, the majority of this article appears to be against vegetarian diets for dogs. We've seen that it's certainly possible, but this could be at the cost of the dog's happiness or even health. Obviously if an owner is certain they want to pursue the vegetarian route for their canine companion then there are plenty of foods and advice out there to support them. A veterinarian should be happy to provide more information and advice that an owner should take in relation to their pets diet.
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