Dogs are omnivores. Which means they eat both meat and plant-based foods. With a healthy, balanced diet dogs can get all the nutrients they require from non-animal sources.
The issue of feeding your companion animal is a personal decision. As a Society we fully appreciate that committed vegetarians can find themselves facing a difficult decision.
Why consider a vegetarian diet for your dog?
Reasons for feeding your dog a vegetarian diet include the welfare issue of farmed animals being killed to feed our pets, as well as health, animal testing and the impact of meat on the environment.
Pet food manufacturers have the option to declare ingredients by category e.g. ‘meat and animal derivatives’, ‘oils and fats’, ‘cereals’ and ‘vegetable cereal extracts’. Parts of animals which are surplus to human consumption or are not normally consumed by people in the UK are classified as ‘animal by-products’.
Some human foods such as chocolate, onions, grapes and raisins can be poisonous to dogs. Potatoes can cause digestive upsets in some dogs. Over-consumption of sugar and sugary foods can encourage bad teeth, diabetes, digestive upsets and obesity.
It is the owner’s responsibility to feed their pet a balanced diet suitable for its age, lifestyle and health status. We would recommend seeking advice from a vet before changing your dog’s diet. New foods need to be introduced gradually over a number of days and the animal’s health carefully monitored.