Sunday, April 10, 2011

Vegan Pets?

Now that I have made the transition from being vegetarian to vegan, I have been thinking about other changes that I can make.  I know that being vegan does not just entail the food we eat, but all aspect of our lives.  Things like beauty products, household products, clothes and accessories need to be animal free as well.  So I will take on each of these areas and make the necessary changes needed to make the complete shift to be vegan.  But there is one area that I just can not figure food.   As a person who has taken all animal products out of my diet and is constantly reminding my children why we don't eat meat, I feel a bit hypocritical when opening a can of animal filled dog food to feed to my dog and cat each day. 

So I started to wonder if other vegans feed regular dog and cat food to their pets.  Or, is their such a thing as a vegan dog or cat?  Until now I have just kept telling myself that my pets are carnivores by nature and it would be abusive not to feed them the food needed to keep them healthy.  I mean, wouldn't it be just as bad to bring harm to my pet by feeding her the wrong food just to save the life of another animal?  The question of whether to kill animals to feed humans is easy for me to answer, but whether to kill animals to feed other animals is not so simple.  How do I resolve this ethical issue? 

I started to do a little research to find some answers and a resolution.  Well, I'm even more confused! There is a lot of info about this subject, but I haven't really found anything that gives me a clear answer as to what to do. It seems that many vegans do feed their pets regular store dog and cat food and many make their own vegan pet food.  I haven't even seen anything as of yet that can tell me what is the right thing to do (for the pets, not for me). It's easy to say, well I'm vegan so I will not buy any pet foods made from animals.  But I have to also concider the health of my pets. 

So I am torn as to what to do.  Maybe I should consult with my veterinarian, but if he's not vegan, I will probably get the same look I got from my pediatrician when I told her I was feeding my toddler a vegetarian diet.  She looked at me as if I was crazy! 

I would love to hear from other vegan pet owners to hear how they tackled this issue.  It you have a story, comment or advice about this subject, please leave a comment below or join the discussion board on my Facebook page. 

Look forward to hearing from you!


  1. I feel like I am reading my very own thoughts from years ago. I remember struggling with these same issues. I can't tell you how many sleepless nights of researching I did. In my research I found that very few animal professionals specialize in nutrition. It is really misunderstood and understudied. Things I found that are commonly excepted is that dogs can be placed on a vegetarian diet, vegan is very difficult. It is extremely risky to place cats on vegetarian and vegan diets. In both cases if not done just right can lead to heart myopathy. I have sucessfully had vegetarian dogs for over 6 years. Since it is easier and safer to adapt their diet. I never dared vegetarian cat food b/c the potential negetive aspects are too great. But it can be done in a healthy way.....i just was not brave enough. I currently make my dogs food using a vegetarian recipe from dr. pitcarn's book.

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