Is it safe to feed cats and dogs on a vegetarian diet?

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Feeding pets is part of the obligations of dog and cat owners, and ensuring a healthy, balanced diet is entirely part of that responsibility. To do this, some owners choose a vegetarian diet, or even a vegan diet, for these animals. But is it suitable for their needs?

Vegan diet is better for dogs, study finds

With more and more people adopting plant-based diets for health, ecological or ethical reasons, it is not surprising to learn that some individuals are also deciding to apply this lifestyle to their pets. . But before imposing a vegetarian diet on cats and dogs, it is important to know if such a diet is healthy for these animals. First of all, it must be understood that dogs and cats are omnivorous animals. This means that their body can absorb foods of animal and vegetable origin.

A good protein intake is usually essential, and this usually comes from animal foods. It is for this reason that many owners wonder if dogs and cats are suitable for a vegetarian diet. According to a recent study by researchers at the University of Winchester, UK, the answer is yes. According to the results of the study published in the journal PLOS Onea plant-based diet would even be better for the health of our pets, or at least dogs.

We’ve found that the healthiest and least dangerous diet for dogs is a nutritionally sound vegan diet “, indeed declared Andrew Knightlead author of the study, to euro news. By surveying owners of more than 2,500 dogs, researchers found that dogs on a conventional meat-based diet were less healthy than dogs on a raw-meat or meat-based diet. vegan diet. To make this assessment of the health of these animals, the scientists took into account various factors, such as the frequency of non-routine visits to the veterinarian, the use of medications and the common health problems reported by the owners.

A concern that remains in the gray area

If the results of this study are thus in favor of the adoption of a vegetarian diet for dogs, this is not the opinion of all professionals. Indeed, many veterinarians believe that a vegetarian or vegan diet is not recommended for the well-being of cats and dogs. Some veterinarians are not so categorical on this subject, and consider a vegetarian diet as a possibility for certain animals, and under certain conditions.

The main condition is in particular to be accompanied by a professional during the animal’s food transition, in order to regularly assess whether the dog or cat remains in good health with its new diet. Inquiring with experts is also necessary in order to know various important information, such as the sources of protein in a vegetarian diet, or the fruits and vegetables prohibited for cats and dogs. In conclusion, saying that a vegetarian diet is safe for dogs and cats is not obvious. Anyway, it is not forbidden, provided you are very careful and have recourse to the help of a professional.

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