While I know this is a sensitive topic that is near and dear to the hearts of many who have made the decision to become vegetarians or vegans themselves, I still have strong feelings about the idea of pushing these beliefs and practices on dogs. In no way is my opinion of this matter intended to be disrespectful to those who have made this personal decision. I respect your choice because it was an autonomous choice you made. Dogs, however, are not autonomous. As our pets, and as dogs, their free will and ability to choose aspects of their life is largely controlled and limited by us as their owners. For that reason (and a couple others), I find it difficult to respect someone’s decision to push their personal beliefs onto a being who does not have the conscious knowledge or the ability to make such a choice. Especially when that choice has the potential to cause damage and harm to the health of a dog.
The amount of information available on this topic is varied, and the amount of debate behind whether dogs can, or should live on a vegan diet is vast, to say the least. I do not care about what was written in a magazine, or what someone posted on the web site they created. I only care about peer reviewed, academic, published research because such information was not written with a vengeful bias, nor is it a regurgitated collection of what someone found on a googling spree as they assumed that all information found on a .com or .org website was valid. Peer reviewed, academic research is based on fact, empirical evidence and repetitive scientific studies which have been reviewed and scoured for validity. But even at that, a consumer themselves has to be capable of knowing what information is valid and where to find it. It should not have to be stated, but everything you read on the internet is not real and if it is, be aware that valid information can be cut and pasted to support ideal it was not intended to.
When a pro-vegan dog diet website states that dogs can be vegan because a study at so and so university “suggests” that dogs have evolved enough to break down starches and plant based proteins, please read more into where that information came from. The article/research this website spoke of is over three years old and was not a study to prove or support that dogs can be vegan and be healthy, the study was about the evolution of domesticated dogs and how some findings suggest that dogs could be considered omnivores at best…not vegans. The facts are that there are no longitudinal, scientific studies that document and research the impact that a vegan diet has on a dog over time.
I have read in random places that a vegan diet can simulate all of the nutrients that dog needs and would get from a carnivore/omnivore diet. But the dietary needs are complex, and need to be absolutely exact for your dog’s weight, breed, age, size, and specific bodily needs to avoid any health complications. What worries me is that there are people who cannot even correctly feed a dog with bagged kibble because they have no idea what their dog even weighs or that there is a suggested feeding scale on the side of the bag. A step up from that, there are people who choose to feed raw, and think that means a dog is fed chicken breasts. Hell, there are still people who think dogs cannot eat bones and meat should be cooked first. Despite the immense amount of passion that vegans have for their cause, I just can not realistically see many people having the resources and scientific knowledge that it would take to create and manage a proper vegan diet for a dog. Passion is not enough to override science and the biological bias that dogs have for a primarily carnivorous diet. As many advances as dogs have made in their evolution from wolves, that evolution has yet to advance to a degree which I would feel comfortable enough to radically change and limit my dog’s diet and what they need to be healthy. If veganism is important enough to someone that they must share is with their pet, then please get a horse or a rabbit or any other animal whose diet naturally aligns with your personal beliefs.