It is hard to dispute the benefits of going vegan for human beings, cutting out animal-based products has several great advantages for people and the evidence is hard to argue against. A vegan diet lowers your risk of numerous health problems such as diabetes, cancer, obesity and a range of other illnesses. But just because it works for us, doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for your dog.
Carnivore or Omnivore?
There is continuous debate over whether to class our canine friends as carnivores or omnivores. Some scientists and leading animal specialists believe that they can’t be classed as either and fit somewhere in between. A lot of research carried out by animal experts suggest that dogs are in fact more like omnivores that carnivores.
Here are some of the main points raised in the debate.
Dogs don’t just have razor sharp teeth designed to cut through meat, they also have several molars. Molars are found in all humans, they sit at the back of your mouth and are designed to grind up fibrous plant material. When it comes to dogs, they use their molars in a similar fashion to humans, which suggests they have evolved to live on a plant-based diet.
A dog’s digestive system, which begins in their mouth is designed to digest and breakdown a very high percentage of carbohydrates. This means they have selective enzymes that target a very high portion of carbohydrates and break them down to be stored as glycogen. If they weren’t created to live on a plant-based diet, why does their body handle carbohydrate digestion so well?
Most carnivores have very small intestines, this is in part due to their diet. Whereas a dog’s intestine occupies close to 25% of its total intestinal tract, which is more in tune with an animal who is an omnivore.
Dogs can create essential nutrients from compounds found in plants, for example vitamin A.
Potential Problems & How to Solve Them
The main problem with putting your dog on a vegan diet is not providing them with an adequate amount of protein. A dog must consumer on average about 15 – 30% as part of a balanced diet but having them on a vegan diet makes it difficult for them to consume their recommended daily intake.
If your dog isn’t getting enough protein in their diet from plant-based products, it will lower the amount of amino acids. Amino acids are broken down into smaller compounds from protein, an imbalance can cause heart problems and other issues. One way to combat these problems is to use recognised brands such as Navyaz kibble for dogs which contains high levels of plant-based proteins with additional amino acid which is perfect for vegan pets.
It is easy enough to supply your dog with enough protein using a plant-based diet but finding enough amino acids can be tricky. The best way of ensuring your dog gets an adequate amount is to purchase commercially available products like the one mentioned above. If you are feeding your dog from home, you’ll need to supplement with amino acids.