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Should your dog be a Vegetarian?

Swati Tandon, Pet Expert 

We have all heard stories of a pet dog named Moti who lived all his life on a diet of milk and bread and had a long happy life in many Indian households. While it may or may not be true but it most definitely is extremely unhealthy for the dog.

According to a recent research the percentage of vegetarians in our country varies between 29-40% in different states. Many vegetarians are pet lovers and find joy in keeping a pet at home. Believing in strict choices of food and their discomfort with non-vegetarian food they choose to feed the dog vegetarian food as well, but is vegetarian food healthy for your canine friend? Does the nutrients in vegetables, grains and fruits enough for your furry companions?

“While a dog might survive on a plant based diet it will thrive on an animal based diet” says Abhishek Agarwal, a Canine nutritionist. “A dog fed a meat based diet will always fare better than his vegetarian counterparts- be it on parameters of nutritional built up, muscles strength, endurance, agility, stamina, immunity or longevity.” He adds.

So what are the problems that your dog can face if you feed him a vegetarian diet.

Protein
While there might be a numerous sources of vegetarian protein the quality and the percentage of vegetarian sources is not enough for your dogs. As protein is crucial component of a dog’s diet. It is a challenge for pet parents to feed the right amount to raise a healthy dog.

Vitamins
Unlike humans, dogs cannot synthesize vitamin D from sunlight. It’s not readily available in plant sources and need to be supplemented. Similarly, there is NO plant-based source of Vitamin B12 and needs to be supplemented synthetically.

Kidney issues
Due to unbalanced diets the PH level in the urine of dogs may fluctuate which can strain the kidneys and can affect the renal health of a dog.

Digestive issues
Vegetarian food is high on carbs that can result in gastric and digestive issues in dogs.It may also result in bloating which can be very dangerous.

“Dogs are not born to be vegetarians. Domesticating a dog doesn’t mean we have the right to force them to eat what we think is right, rather we should think what is right for them as a species… If we wish to be vegan or vegetarian or no vegetarians, our dogs should also have the right to choose.” Say Naiyani Tandon, owner of Puppichino dog cafe.

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