Can pets like cat and dog live healthy on a vegan diet?

Some vegan pet owners don’t want to feed non-vegetarian or animal based food to their pets.

Also, the increasing carbon footprint due to pet food is also altering and adding to concern. Thus, many companies have started making vegan food for pets.

But can pets like cats and dogs really survive on a vegan diet throughout their life?

According to the American Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), serving vegan food to cats is a challenge, since they cannot produce certain proteins themselves, including taurine. They instead have to absorb it from their food, with beef, chicken and fish being particularly rich sources. Cats that don’t have enough taurine are at high risk of developing a potentially fatal condition called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

The ASPCA told that the cats with DCM suffer from thin and weak heart muscles, preventing them from pumping blood and supplying oxygen to the body normally.
Although, some cat-food producers like Ami, an italian company produce vegan food for cats, taking into mind, their high protein requirements.

But, in general, cats are unlikely to thrive on a diet without meat.

And what about dogs?

Fortunately, dogs have amylase genes, which helps in digestion of plant starch.

However, according to Dos Santos, president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), it isn’t that simple.
He says:
“It is theoretically possible to feed a dog a vegetarian diet, but it’s much easier to get it wrong than to get it right,” she says. “You would have to do it under the supervision of a veterinary-trained nutritionist.”

So ‘crickets’ is the solution

Those who don’t find to increase carbon footprint and don’t even want to feed their pets with animal-free food wholly, serving insects like crickets is an option! Crickets are up to 65% protein by weight, and are also rich in unsaturated fat, dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals. Additionally, crickets do not emit methane, a greenhouse gas, and produce much less agricultural runoff, which can pollute water courses and arable land.

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Aastha Kochar

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