Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your dog.

Can Dogs Be Vegans?

Learn whether dogs need meat.

As more humans are moving toward vegan diets, they are naturally wondering if they can also transition their dogs to an entirely plant-based diet.

The answer is no.

Dogs Are Carnivores

We know dogs are carnivores because of the shape of their molars compared to omnivores who can eat either plants or meat-based diets.

Also, dogs' digestive tracts are designed for processing mostly meat rather than plants. They have small stomachs and short digestive tracts, meant to process food quickly. This is in opposition to the digestive tracts of herbivores, which are long, designed to process plant food more slowly and get more nutrients out of it.

Finally, the diets of wild dogs let us know that they are meant to eat meat. They generally scavenge meat, so there are periods of time when they eat plants to survive. Unlike cats, which must have meat to survive, dogs can live on plant material. Still, they don't achieve optimal health without meat.

Needs of Dogs That Are Met by Meat

There are ten essential amino acids that dogs must ingest because their bodies cannot produce them. By contrast, animals that thrive on plant-based diets can produce their amino acids easily.

The proteins and fats present in meat are perfect for dogs' systems, producing optimal cell function and healthy bodies.

While some people feed their dogs plant-based diets plus supplements, supplements are never as good of a source of vital nutrients as food.

For optimal health and happiness for your dog, a vegan or vegetarian diet should be avoided.

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