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I am a vegetarian and wanted to see what options I have to feed vegetarian food to my dog.. From where I come from (India) many dogs are fed vegetarian food and it seems OK with the vets there. However I see many articles on websites that vegetarian diet is not necessarily the best food for dogs.. I agree that it might not be the best (it terms of quality of protien and such) but what harm can it cause ?

Comments ?
 

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A vegetarian diet for dogs can cause loss of coat, dull coat, and depressed energy. Dogs are carnivores and they cannot eat soy proteins like we can. The only reason a dog should ever be on a vegetarian diet is in the exceptionally rare case that the dog is allergic to meat.

Do you want your dog on a vegetarian diet because of your own moral beliefs, OR do you think a vegetarian diet is healthier for him?
 

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I have been investigating vegetarian dog foods, as one of my dogs has allergies. I couldn't bring myself to feed a strictly vegetarian diet to a carnivore, even if it could sustain her life. This dog LOVES vegetables and I give her plenty of fresh veggies to munch on, plus I found a vegetarian canned food made by Natural Balance that she simply devours! However, given the choice a dog will always eat meat first, even my veggie loving schnauzer will choose meat before anything else. I cannot, in good conscience, deprive her of the food that she was designed to eat!
 

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I'm a vegetarian also, and when I got Maggie I did research on feeding her a vegetarian diet. The conclusion I reached was that no commercial vegetarian dog food is truly good for the dogs. They can survive on it, just like they can survive on Ol' Roy, but they're unlikely to thrive. I do believe that a carefully prepared, high quality home made vegetarian diet can be healthy. Eggs are an excellent source of protein, and quinoa is very good as well. I think with careful planning you could come up with a very good home made vegetarian diet, but it would be a lot of work.

If fish is acceptable to you, there is commercial kibble that contains only fish, and no meat. Taste of the Wild's Pacific Stream formula and Orijen's 6 Fish formula are examples of these, and are considered by many to be extremely high quality food.

If neither of those options sound like what you're looking for, you could do what I did. Think about your reasons for being vegetarian, then find a high quality dog food that is the least harmful to the things that are important to you. Orijen uses free range meats and wild caught fish, and The Honest Kitchen uses sustainably farmed free range chicken. I'm even trying to feed raw right now, but I drove to the farm myself to pick up the meat. I'm 100% confident the meat is sustainably and humanely raised, since I've seen it.

When my dogs decide to tell me they're going vegetarian, I'll fully support their decisions and cook each meal from scratch if I have to. Until that happens, I'll continue to feed them what's best for them, and I'll keep making an effort to get that food from sources that have the least conflict with my beliefs.
 

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Trying to turn a carnivore into a vegetarian is unnatural and going against uncountable years of evolution.

The reason we can become vegetarians is because we are omnivores, being able to extract energy by consuming and digesting both plants and animals. As long as we can come up with a way to get the nutrients we miss by not eating meat, we can live quite well on only plants.

Carnivors, on the other hand, although occasionally do eat plant material, can not extract enough energy from plants to allow them to live a happy healthy life.

Would you even try feeding only meat to a cow or a sheep? Of course not. Cows and sheep are herbavores, plant eaters. There bodies have evolved to extract energy from plant material the eats. Their bodied could never process the meat diet and derive enough energy from it to stay alive. Likewise, the dog, having evolved into a carnivore over countless generations, could not process a vegetarian diet.

If you love your pet, you won't even try to make him/her.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Excellent thought provoking replies.. Thanks to all.. I am a vegetarian for religious reasons and have been that way since childhood.. But I can see the logic of not "making" my dog into one..

I was thinking more about this last night and realized that my attempts to make my dog vegetarian were for my own comfort level with handling meat based products.. I think I am OK feeding him meat based dry dog food.. But find it difficult handling meat based wet food or meat based treats.. I think I am just not that comfortable handling meat..

I am currently feeding him Wellness Just for Puppy.. I shall research into the brands suggested by AccidentalChef.. And continue with that for his main food and use vegetarian treats for training / rewards..

Would that be a good balance ?
 

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you can also use carrots for treats. I know many dogs who love a good carrot now and then, but meat should be his main source of fats and protiens no matter hat form it's in.
 

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Wellness Just For Puppy is actually just fine. You don't have to switch if you don't want to. How big is your dog going to be when he's full grown?

For treats, you can use carrots, apples, bananas. My pup loves all of those and I give him carrots and apples regularly. Some dogs also love green beans. There's a bunch of fruits/veggies that are toxic, though (like onions), so do some research before you feed anything.
 

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I was thinking more about this last night and realized that my attempts to make my dog vegetarian were for my own comfort level with handling meat based products.. I think I am OK feeding him meat based dry dog food.. But find it difficult handling meat based wet food or meat based treats.. I think I am just not that comfortable handling meat..
That's how I feel also. I'm trying a raw diet for my dogs now, but I'm not sure if it will last since I've also become uncomfortable handling meat. When it comes to handling meat, The Honest Kitchen's foods might be easiest for you. They're a dehydrated raw diet, so you just scoop a little into a bowl, add some water, and stir it up. It might be easier to avoid all contact with the meat that way, if that's important to you. Unfortunately their foods are expensive, but I've found that no food with humanely raised meat in it is cheap.

I'll second what lucidity said about food and treats. Here's a good starting point for what foods to avoid: http://www.vetinfo.com/dtoxin.html
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Wellness Just For Puppy is actually just fine. You don't have to switch if you don't want to. How big is your dog going to be when he's full grown?

For treats, you can use carrots, apples, bananas. My pup loves all of those and I give him carrots and apples regularly. Some dogs also love green beans. There's a bunch of fruits/veggies that are toxic, though (like onions), so do some research before you feed anything.
He is going to be around 40 - 50 pounds I guess.. He is 16w now and is about 22 pounds..

He loves any type of veggies.. He loves to chew on even the center portion of a cabbage, pineapple, whatever...
 

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This is what my min-schnauzers get, mixed in there food daily USDA turkey, sweet potatoe, whole egg, broccoli, celery, apples, pecan s, pumpkin, cranberries, basil, dried alfalfa, ginger root, dried kelp, tricalcium phoshate, zinc sulfate, vit E acetate, vit D2 They sometimes get chicken all raw, and beef, if you like? It is pricey, but the benefits are worth it. I am not pushing a particular brand but you can get an idea at www.sojos.com I also feed the grain free diet. Where you add the chicken or raw turkey, and beef if you want. Wish I new about this food from day one owning a dog, my male is nine when I switch over and he looks younger now and acts like a puppy in regards to energy.:)
 

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He is going to be around 40 - 50 pounds I guess.. He is 16w now and is about 22 pounds..

He loves any type of veggies.. He loves to chew on even the center portion of a cabbage, pineapple, whatever...
Hmm.. it seems to me that your pup will be bigger than 40-50lbs. I'll guess something around 50-60. That probably makes him a large breed (at the small end, maybe?) so you'll wanna make sure that his kibble has less than 1.5% calcium. You don't have to feed puppy food, you can just switch to adult food as it usually has less calcium. Either that, or go with a large breed puppy food.

Don't give him center portions of anything! The center of apples and some other fruits are toxic to dogs. Just give him bananas, carrots, and apples (cut up, no centers!)
 

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my dogs used to get grapes as treats long ago before I found out that if you feed to many it can cause liver failure, scary thought.

There was a vet story about a dog that ate a box of SunMaid raisins and the dog had to be rushed to the vet, I don't know if it lived or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks Lucidy..

Anyone know of a good link that kind of just lists what vege/fruits are a no-no.. I went through the link AccidentalChef suggested but was looking for a kind of quick reference list..
 

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Trying to turn a carnivore into a vegetarian is unnatural and going against uncountable years of evolution.
I agree with this. I am also a vegetarian with the exception of fish, and could never feed my dog a diet without meat. We can't do the raw thing though, and let me tell you, when my dog was sick and the only thing he was supposed to have was rice and turkey, my husband and I didn't even know how to cook it (after 1/2 hour the stuff was rubber!) We don't prepare meat in our home, but I do buy good quality kibble and a dehydrated raw food (just add water), that makes life much easier. I think its kind of cruel to deny a dog meat unless they have an allergy, but to each his own. As for health issues, I have read that grains can cause all sorts of skin allergies, and stress the internal organs, causing other health issues later in life.
 

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when my dog was sick and the only thing he was supposed to have was rice and turkey, my husband and I didn't even know how to cook it (after 1/2 hour the stuff was rubber!)

I read this and thought of a friend of mine who doesn't eat meat and doesn't know how to prepare it very well for her two sons who are not vegetarians. She asked me how to cook a tri-tip, once, and I kind of giggled...how could a 52 year old woman NOT know how to cook a tri-tip? lol! She just never eats or cooks red meat, but her boys were tired of chicken and fish!

Anyway, she would never deny her sons or dogs a meal of meat, she just chooses not to eat it herself.

I have lately been very happy eating vegetarian dinners! I am loving Garden Burgers, Tofu, and meals of just rice and vegetables. I do like a good steak...but I am not one that has to eat meat every day.

My dogs, however, always get some meat with every meal. I feed Evo Red Meat to my GSD, California Natural Chicken Meal & Rice to my allergy Schnauzer and they get Happy Dog cooked food with Turkey. I will give bones to them as well.

The dogs look great, I am happy and that's all that matters...:D
 

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I have lately been very happy eating vegetarian dinners! I am loving Garden Burgers, Tofu, and meals of just rice and vegetables. I do like a good steak...but I am not one that has to eat meat every day.
mmmm speaking of vegitarian food, I LOVE the "Morning Star" buffalo Chic nuggets made from soy protien.
I've gotten out of the habit of eating frozen stuff like that lately, and am trying to eat only fresh, local food. That's a big part of my reason for trying raw diets for the dogs. I'd rather feed fresh chicken from 20 miles away than processed meats from 1000+ miles away, but I find it pretty unappetizing these days.

When I was less concerned with eating local, I found some really good frozen vegetarian stuff. Some of it might be hard to find at normal grocery stores but some place like Whole Foods should have it. Amy's veggie burgers were my favorite, especially the All American ones. My favorite "chicken" was Quorn. Their "chicken breasts" stuffed with gruyere are great, and they're soy free. I was addicted to the Morning Star ribs for a while, and their mini corn dogs are a great junk food fix.

Back on topic, I think I'm leaning towards feeding Orijen in the mornings, and some sort of dehydrated raw diet at night. I'm more comfortable with fish than meat, so I'm tempted to switch to the Orijen 6 fish all the time, rather than rotating. Any idea whether a high protein kibble in the morning and a fresh vegetarian diet at night, including eggs or other vegetarian protein sources, would be a good idea? Plenty of dogs seem to do fine on food with 20%-ish protein, so 40% protein in the morning and vegetarian (with protein) at night seems like it should work. Of course, I'm not a nutritionist, so I'm just guessing here. I'm sure the dogs won't complain. The first time I tried Honest Kitchen Preference, I just mixed in an egg and a spoon of yogurt for each dog, and I've never seen them so excited about food.
 

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Thanks Lucidy..

Anyone know of a good link that kind of just lists what vege/fruits are a no-no.. I went through the link AccidentalChef suggested but was looking for a kind of quick reference list..
What are the most common food hazards I should be aware of?
Experts at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center urge you to avoid feeding the following foods to your pet:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Avocado
- Chocolate (all forms)
- Coffee (all forms)
- Fatty foods
- Macadamia nuts
- Moldy or spoiled foods
- Onions, onion powder
- Raisins and grapes
- Salt
- Yeast dough
- Garlic
- Products sweetened with xylitol
For information on additional foods that may be potentially hazardous, please visit our People Food archives.
From http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/animal-poison-control-faq.html
 

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Back on topic, I think I'm leaning towards feeding Orijen in the mornings, and some sort of dehydrated raw diet at night. I'm more comfortable with fish than meat, so I'm tempted to switch to the Orijen 6 fish all the time, rather than rotating. Any idea whether a high protein kibble in the morning and a fresh vegetarian diet at night, including eggs or other vegetarian protein sources, would be a good idea? Plenty of dogs seem to do fine on food with 20%-ish protein, so 40% protein in the morning and vegetarian (with protein) at night seems like it should work. Of course, I'm not a nutritionist, so I'm just guessing here. I'm sure the dogs won't complain. The first time I tried Honest Kitchen Preference, I just mixed in an egg and a spoon of yogurt for each dog, and I've never seen them so excited about food.
That sounds like a fine diet for your dogs...as long as they get some meat and eggs along with the other foods.

I forgot to add earlier that at one time we had a member here (at least I think it was here!) that lived in Tibet. She only had a few brands of dog food available to her, including Pedigree and Purina Dog chow. She said that most of the dogs in her town were stray dogs and lived off of garbage, but the dogs that had owners and were treated like pets were mainly fed a diet of rice, vegetables and yoghurt! She said that most people didn't even have meat for themselves to eat, much less share with the family dog. She wanted to feed her dog a premium dog food, but the shipping costs to Tibet and the freshness of the food made it a poor choice for her. She cooked the rice, veggies and gave her dog (a Lhasa Apso) fresh yoghurt and he thrived!
 
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