Ask the Vet ArchiveYour chance to ask Dr. Mindy Cohan, VMD, our resident pet health expert, what's on your mind!
Topic: Vegan Diet for Dogs
Question from Jay in Newark:
I recently read that the oldest living dog is a vegan. Supposedly, "Bramble", a dog from Somerset UK, is 29 years old and has been living on a diet of rice, lentils, and organic vegetables for decades. Is this true, or is it just an urban legend? Can dogs survive without meat?
Answer from Dr. Mindy Cohan:
If I was certain that my own dog would live to be nearly 30 on a vegan diet, I'd start feeding her veggie burgers immediately. Humans are naturally omnivores (consume meat and plants), yet some choose to be vegetarians. Dogs are also omnivores, but cats are obligate carnivores and require meat in their diet.
There have been no studies to prove that dogs fed a vegan diet will live longer than those fed meat. One proven factor in canine longevity is lean body mass. Studies indicate that thin dogs will outlive their overweight or obese counterparts. Although dogs can live as vegetarians, they typically love meat and it is in fact a good source of protein for them.
Dogs do need protein to fulfill their essential amino acid requirements. Since there is no single perfect protein source to provide a complete and balanced ratio of amino acids, it is best to provide your dog with a combination of protein sources. The proteins used should be well tolerated and not a cause of allergies to the pet.
Feeding an AAFCO approved dog food in appropriate quantities should be fine. If you should choose to prepare a home cooked diet for your dog, a veterinary nutritionist should be consulted. A listing of accredited veterinary nutritionists can be found at www.acvn.org
Posted May 25, 2006
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