Animal health is equally important as human health. For most of the pet owners, their pets are like their kids. They need their 24/7 attention as well as a proper balanced diet to remain healthy.

Every living being on this planet requires something to live on. And if any of the individual whether it be human or an animal is deprived of its basic needs, they start to wither like an under-watered plant.

Plant-based diets have many health benefits, making them an excellent option for dogs and cats of all types, sizes, and ages especially if they have persistent complaints including itchy skin, stomach problems, joint pain, or eye discharge.

Lets know more about plant based diet for pets.

Is Plant- Based Animal Diet really a thing?

This is a question, which often arises in our mind after reading an article or a blog with the new emerging Plant-Based Diet for animals particularly the domestic ones.

Yes, Plant-Based Diet for Pets is nowadays widely followed by different pet owners. Not only this, but many veterinary doctors are also providing healthy and nutritious Plant- Based Diet plans for the pets.

According to a new survey, an increasing number of pet owners are feeding plant-based diets to their dogs and cats or would like to do so. Pet owners have a higher level of concern for animals, and they obviously want to have diets that are good for their pets welfare. They’re also opting for plant-based pet foods because they’re worried about the ethical consequences of animal-derived products.

Why is it important to specify a diet plan for a pets ?

When it comes to nourishing your pet and keeping it alive and healthy for a long span of time, it is necessary to evaluate their health and the kind of diet that should be given to them.

Plant-Based Diet is not only effective for humans but also for the pets. Many Pet owners after trying out different Plant-Based Recipes for their pets have claimed that their pets did seem to enjoy Plant-Based Diet.

Just like kids, some pets are very picky when it comes to eating food. So, it is important to train them accordingly from day one, so that they can adapt a healthy lifestyle through a Plant-Based Diet.

How to make your pet switch to a Plant-Based Diet from canned/meat foods?

 To make the transition to Plant-Based or vegan Diet easier, start by incorporating vegetarian foods into their regular menu. Adjust the proportions gradually until there is no meat left. If your attempts are met with resistance, try adding soymilk, nutritional yeast, olive oil, tomato sauce, catnip, powdered kelp, or onion-less baby food to attract your animal mates.

Many cats enjoy mashed chickpeas and veggie burgers, as well as nutritional yeast and melon bits. It may take some time for your companion animals to adjust if they are accustomed to supermarket pet food.

Things to Monitor after switching to a Plant-Based Diet

 Look out for the following things after your pet has adapted the new Plant-Based Lifestyle.

  1. Poop quality: You should see if their stool has changed its color or texture.
  2. Gut Health: A pet would indicate in different ways if they’re having any gut issues
  3. Skin Health: Look out for any sores, warts or inflammation on their body to rule out infection.

If you’re transitioning your dog or cat to a Plant-Based diet, keep an eye on them to make sure their new diet is working for them, particularly if they’re still puppies or kittens. The health of most dogs and cats improve as they eat a Plant-Based diet, but some pets have a hard time accepting it, so the key to success is, GO SLOW.

Why is canned or Meat Food Products for pets often frowned upon?

Pet foods sold in supermarkets are often made up of ground-up pieces of animals considered unfit for human consumption by USDA inspectors. Feeding the pets with Commercial Pets food may be damaging their health from within.

“Meat meal,” a common ingredient in pet food, is described by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as “the made commodity from mammalian tissues, without any additional blood, fur, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents and parts of animals not commonly thought of as ‘meat.” (1)

 “The flesh of animals in one of the four D’s categories—dead, dying, diseased, or disabled—is sometimes used in pet food.” (FDA) (2)

Hormones, pesticides, and antibiotics are all present in most pet foods, much as they are in commercial meat products for humans. Some additives can be dangerous and go undetected until it’s too late.

Purina, Pedigree, Natural Balance, and Pet Guard are among the major pet food companies that have joined the plant-based market for meat-free dog and cat food. Vegetables and plant-derived proteins such as brown rice, barley, peas, spinach, and potatoes are among the plant-based choices.

Cancer is also on the rise in dog populations. Since toxins bio accumulates as they move up the food chain, carcinogens and other toxic substances are more prevalent in meat-based foods.  Plant-based foods present much less exposure because they are lower on the food chain and have less bioaccumulation.

According to one study, cats and dogs consume 25% of all animal-derived calories in the United States, rank fifth in global meat consumption, and could emit up to 64 tons of greenhouse gases. (3)

And, just like excessive intake of meat-based human diet has a detrimental effect on the environment, so does feeding meat to our pets.

  1. Supplements for a Pet Dog following a Plant-Based Diet

Since dogs, like humans, are omnivorous and typically hearty eaters, making Plant-Based Recipes for them is easy.

Dogs require two main Amino Acids:

  • L-Carnitine
  • Taurine

Dilated cardiomyopathy, a severe disease in which the heart becomes big and flabby and can no longer function, can be caused by a deficiency in these nutrients. L-carnitine and taurine supplements are available at your local health food store or online.

There are many Plant-Based recipes available, but keep in mind that a dog’s health may be jeopardized if he or she gets too little protein, calcium, or vitamin D.

  1. Supplements for a pet Cat following a Plant-Based Diet

The nutritional requirements of cats differ from those of dogs. They need a lot of vitamin A, which they can’t get from carotene like dogs and humans can—insufficient doses can cause hearing loss, as well as issues with the skin, bones, digestive, and reproductive systems. Cats require taurine and without it may develop cardiomyopathy and lose their vision. Check to see if the food you’re feeding your cat contains these nutrients.

The addition of digestive enzymes to the diet of dogs and cats that only consume cooked or canned food is also beneficial. These can be found in health-food stores and companion animal supply catalogues. To improve digestibility, any raw vegetables in a dog’s diet should be grated or placed through a food processor.

Is Plant-Based Diet for pets Expensive?

In the case of dog food, less expensive isn’t necessarily better. In reality, saving money on inexpensive food can sometimes be offset by health problems for your dog later on.  The cheapest food on the market today is inexpensive for a reason: it is of low quality. Plant-based dog food was priced higher than mass-produced, low-quality food when it first came out on the market.

Thousands of dogs worldwide are now eating a plant-based diet, and commercially produced plant-based dog food has been available for many years. Plant-based dog food production is continuing to expand, although prices are becoming more sustainable.

In addition to commercial plant-based dog food, many people prepare plant-based dog food in the comfort of their own homes. Because of the extensive research, growth, and supplementation that goes into commercially produced food, it is much more nutritionally balanced and safer.

While many people can and do make plant-based food for their dogs at home, those interested in going this path should always do their homework first and double-check their results with their veterinarian on a regular basis.

Dogs Omnivorous or Carnivorous?

There are many misconceptions circulating if dogs are omnivorous or carnivorous. According to all the researches and studies, dogs are more omnivorous then carnivorous.

Many plants that are commonly used in human diets have a high digestibility in dogs, which is like what it is in people. There is no proof that consuming a high-carbohydrate diet harms the pancreas.

The pancreas produces digestive enzymes that dogs need to digest their food, among other things. The pancreases of most dogs are excellent at this activity, and dogs are excellent at breaking down starch from plants.

Dogs contain more enzymes for starch digestion than true carnivores, have lower protein and amino acid needs, and can easily utilize vitamin A and D from plant sources, just like humans.

Because of all these reasons, they are better categorized as omnivores than carnivores.

5 Benefits of Plant-Based Diet for Pets

  1. Prevents any Allergies: “Chicken, beef, dairy, and egg are the most widely recorded food allergies in dogs… Many pet owners are surprised to learn that grains are a rare source of food allergies in pets; most are allergic to animal proteins.” (Tufts University)
  2. Easy Digestion: Plant Based formulations are widely used to treat a variety of digestive problems in pets, including loose stools, constipation, and gas. However, due to the acidifying and inflammatory effects of animal protein, meat-based animal foods can be difficult on the digestive system. Plant-based foods can help clear up symptoms in even the most severe cases because they are soft on the stomach and mostly free of irritating allergens.
  3. Anti-inflammatory: Plant-based foods are naturally anti-inflammatory, which means they can help alleviate joint pain and arthritis as compared to animal-based foods. When pets eat a plant-based diet, their agility improves, resulting in stronger muscles, longer walks, and more stamina at the dog park.
  4. Managed Weight: Plant-based pet food formulas are a perfect choice for dogs and cats that have difficulty keeping a healthy weight because they are made of lean and easily digestible ingredients. Since making the move, overweight dogs also lose weight, allowing them to remain lean and live longer, healthier lives.
  5. Increased Energy Levels: Thanks to the safe, readily available nutrition, transitioning your dog to a vegan diet will help them recover puppy-like energy. Plant-based pups also experience an abundance of energy as a result of their new diets, contributing to a higher quality of life.

Bottom Line

Plants are not only humans’ but also animals’ best mates. Our furry friends, too, need good gut health. Due to the scarcity of veterinary doctors in many countries, it is important to take good care of your pet’s health. Pets, like humans, are afraid of injections and bad-tasting drugs, so make the move now to a more hygienic choice, which is none other than a Plant-Based Diet for Pets.

Reference:

(1)U.S. Food and Drug Administration,  “Pet Food Labels-General,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Service, 13 Oct. 2017.

(2)Dr. Donna Spector, “Pet Food (What You Need to Know) for Your Pet’s Sake,” PETMD.com, accessed 26 Sept. 2018.

(3)Karin Brulliard, “The Hidden Environmental Costs of Dog and Cat Food,” The Washington Post, 4 Aug. 2017.