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The Vegetarian Dog - Feeding Your Dog A Healthy Vegetarian Diet

May 20, 2008
The Vegetarian Dog

Many dog owners are looking for a healthy way to feed their dog. One way to do that is with a vegetarian diet. If you are already following a vegetarian diet yourself, feeding your dog in the same way should be simple. If you are not a vegetarian, but wish you dog to be, the following are some simple suggestions on how to do just that.

Dogs have a higher protein requirement than humans. Although no optimum protein level is known, a vegetarian diet can meet the standard with a variety of legumes or other foods. There are many people who practice a vegetarian diet and are as healthy as those who do not. There is no reason that dogs cannot follow a similar diet.

To Vegetarians, the following is nothing new, but for everyone else, a little common sense and plenty of variety will make nutrient deficiencies unlikely and make your vegetarian dog healthy and happy.

A vegetarian dog would probably do better with multiple feedings as opposed to the one feeding with dry dog food. Larger vegetarian dogs should be fed twice a day while smaller breeds may need to be fed three or four smaller meals spread throughout the day.

Hint: Dogs do not get worms from drinking milk. Diarrhea or constipation is common due to your dog's inability to break down lactose.

Wholegrain cereals like muesli or Shredded Wheat in milk would be good for your dog's first meal. The later meal should be some combination of each of the following groups:

Protein

1) Cheese, eggs, nuts, textured soy protein, cooked lentils or beans, tofu, seeds (sunflower, sesame). Feed several of these at one meal to get a good balance of amino acids.

2) Raw or cooked vegetables and raw or dried fruit.

3) Brown rice or whole grain bread.

You may also want to mix a teaspoon of vegetable oil in your dog's food to provide some of the essential fatty acids that he needs.

Foods to avoid

Macadamia nuts, Grapes or raisins, and raw onions should all be avoided as they can be toxic when ingested in large enough quantities. Chocolate and other caffeine products should also be avoided as it can be toxic and affect the heart and nervous systems.

Puppies that are weaned can be fed four times a day rotating the cereal meal and the later meal ingredients. Once they reach eight months to a year old, you can cut back to feeding them three meals a day and then down to two meals a day.

If your dog has been brought up on a regular meat diet, make the changeover to a vegetarian diet gradual. If your dog is very active there may be a problem of bulk to energy. Make sure you consult your veterinarian to ensure that sufficient energy can be obtained from the amount of food given.

Milk alone may not be an adequate source of calcium for puppies. Rapidly growing dogs of heavy breeds particularly need a high calcium intake, please consult your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about your dog's vegetarian diet.
About the Author
Wayne Kostencki is a dog lover. He has owned or lived with dogs since he was a small child. During that time, Wayne has struggled to learn how to not just train his pets, but to be able to enjoy them as companions. You can find more information on his website, http://www.averagemansguides.com/ .
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