Don’t feed your dog a vegetarian diet, you damn hippie.

23 Sep

Said no dog ever.

Ok, let’s talk dog nutrition.  Dogs are carnivores.   Well, two out of three Dog Snobs say so because technically speaking, Giant Pandas are also carnivores if we’re being literal, even though their diet consists of 90% plant matter. Anyways, what we can definitely all agree on is that dogs are NOT meant to eat a vegetarian diet. We know your rescued Formosan Mountain Dog, Kale, loves her vegan kibble, but guess what, you dirty dirty hippie–dogs love cat shit. That doesn’t mean that your dog can exist entirely on Kibbles n’ shits,  though they might do a bit better than on your weird soy based nuggets.

Let’s play a game. We’re going to post the ingredient list an AAFCO approved Vegan Dog Food and the ingredient to a Guinea Pig Food and ask you to tell us which is which…


Food A: Dried Peas, Brown Rice, Pea Protein Concentrate, Oats, Sorghum, Lentils, Organic Canola Oil, Peanuts, Sunflower Hearts, Potato Protein, Brewers Dried Yeast, Alfalfa Meal, Flaxseeds, Natural Vegetable Flavor, Quinoa, Millet, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Vegetable Pomace (Carrot, Celery, Beet, Parsley, Lettuce, Watercress & Spinach), Taurine, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D2 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid), Choline Chloride, Minerals (Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Sodium Selenite & Calcium Iodate), DL-Methionine, L-Lysine, L-Carnitine, Parsley Flakes, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Dried Cranberries, Dried Blueberries, Preserved With Citric Acid and Mixed Tocopherols (Form of Vitamin E)


Food B: Alfalfa Meal, Soybean Hulls, Wheat Middlings, Soybean Meal, Soybean Oil, Salt, Lignin Sulfonate, Cane Molasses, L-Ascorbyl-2-Monophosphate (Vitamin C), Limestone, Yeast Culture (dehydrated), Vitamin E Supplement, Choline Chloride, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Copper Sulfate, Selenium Yeast, Vitamin A Supplement, Folic Acid, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Copper Proteinate, Riboflavin Supplement, Manganese Proteinate, Biotin, Manganous Oxide, Thiamine Mononitrate, Magnesium Sulfate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Cobalt Carbonate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Calcium Iodate


Food B is, of course, the guinea pig food, but but we really feel there should be more difference between the two.

Here’s the thing–there is a difference between thriving and surviving.  While theoretically a dog could subsist on a vegetarian diet, it doesn’t mean it’s ideal. Plus, if you really claim to be humane (and isn’t that the reasoning behind most vegetarianism), isn’t part of that also about respecting different species’ inherent needs?  So, if you must own a vegan or vegetarian pet… get a damn rabbit.

Unless you’re Monty Python. In that case…Run away! Run away!

For a look back at a previous post on our personal vegetarianism and feeding our dogs, click here.

15 Responses to “Don’t feed your dog a vegetarian diet, you damn hippie.”

  1. Diana September 23, 2014 at 1:48 am #

    Even more importantly, there is increasing evidence that plants experience stress/pain at harvest (& attempt to stop it). Unless you can get ahold of some chloroplast, things will die so you can live. Ethics are tricky enough with out projecting on another species.

    • Cheryl September 23, 2014 at 3:14 am #

      I am a scientist and I can tell you that the neurobiology of a plant does not contain pain receptors. Plants do not experience pain or stress, I am sorry to say.

      • Diana September 23, 2014 at 3:38 am #

        Plants signal stress they experience and respond to the stress signaling of others. Just because they do not share our particular nociceptors does not mean they don’t experience “pain” or I as I was careful to say “stress”. Particularly since pain is a subjective measure even amongst vertebrates. I am a biologist, and I am sorry to say that you need to check out some of the current research in plant alarm pheromones.

      • Liminal September 23, 2014 at 10:25 pm #

        Yes. I’m a vegetarian (who also feeds partial-raw to her carnivorous-biased animal), and the “plant pain” thing you hear about is misleadingly phrased as best I’ve gathered.

        Sure, it’s possible that plants “feel pain” (loosely defined) in some comparably unpleasant way to our experience of it, albeit via different physiological mechanisms. But as they have no recognizable nociceptors at all and no central nervous systems, and those things happen to be the organismal parts on which the experience of pain hinges as far as we currently know, there is no specific reason to believe that their “feeling” anything is actually the case. In the absence of a specific reason to believe that it’s the case that they feel despite their obvious structural dissimilarities, any assumption that reaction = feeling itself seems anthropomorphically biased.

        An organism without a brain having evolved reflexive chemical and cellular defenses that are triggered when its tissue is damaged doesn’t necessitate consciousness or feeling as we know it in any way. Chemical actions and reactions and subsequent physical responses occur in our own bodies all the time without being detectably unpleasant. So the plant thing is cool information, yay science, but in its current state it doesn’t seem to be a trump card for dedicated omnivores in discussions about the relevance of non-human pain to dietary choices.

        With animals, we can easily infer from their neurological similarity to us that they almost certainly do feel in the ways we do, to varying degrees – they experience the bodily alarm system that is pain as being experientially miserable, like we do. As a result I’ll continue to prefer munching mysterious-qualia’d plants to munching much-less-mysterious qualia’d animals when it’s not nutritionally necessary for me to do so.

        Anyway, buying meat products for my dog has prompted me to start thinking about poorly considered areas in ethical vegetarianism related to circumstance, necessity and product sourcing, and I was on the verge of writing a super long and boring post about it myself.

        Putting it that way makes me sound like an asshole, but when you talk about why you’re a vegetarian (even when it’s explicitly invited or relevant) someone is always bound to think you’re being an asshole. It’s just a lifestyle risk, I find. ; )

    • Stacy Hiebert Greer September 23, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

      Are you kidding me??? Good grief.

  2. wkmtca September 23, 2014 at 1:48 am #

    i’ve been feeding raw for 12 years. the thought of feeding a dog vegan makes my heart hurt for them..

  3. September 23, 2014 at 3:05 am #

    I have met a few dogs raised on both commercial and home made vegan diets. I wish now I had taken photos as these poor dogs were so sickly and pre aged. Absolutely ruined by their owners projecting their values on to their pets.

  4. Diane September 23, 2014 at 3:06 am #

    As a raw feeder I am, by definition, totally opposed to a vegetarian or vegan diet for an animal that’s an opportunistic carnivore. I used to grind up fruits and vegetables (dogs don’t have the enzymes to break down vegetable matter – especially when they’re swallowing without any chewing) because years ago the theory went that wild canids ate the contents of their prey’s stomach which was vegetable matter. The studies were flawed, taken from captive wolf populations for instance and a much more recent study showed that a wild wolf will only eat prey stomach contents if it is starving or if that’s all that’s left once the more enthusiastic wolves get done. So I stopped with the “green goop.” They supplement their own diet in the summer by picking my damn fruit trees naked. I didn’t get to taste even one of my own plums this year. But the rest of the year – meat, fish, occasional eggs and more meat. My butcher butchers deer for the hunters in the fall and there’s a whole lot of the deer that the hunters don’t want so he saves it for me. I used to give them whole legs (referred to as bambi legs) but the bones shatter too easily so now it’s deer muscle meat. The butcher offered me heads but there *are* neighbors within viewing distance of my property and they think we’re weird already.

  5. Julia Bentley September 23, 2014 at 12:39 pm #

    Reblogged this on All Around Dogs and commented:
    Ages ago, when Xena was a youngster, I met a couple and their adorable little Boston Terrier named Cowboy. When he started dancing in front of my treat pouch filled with meaty deliciousness (yes, I brought treats to the dog park, I was a newbie, let’s move on…) I asked if I could give him a treat. They replied “Oh, no, he’s vegan. Here give him one of his wheat grass treats.” Talk about a disappointed little dog. He kept trying to charm me until they left. Probably because we were a bad influence.

  6. Darcy September 23, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    Both my terriers are raw fed and always have been… The best, organic raw I can find… And they still will go after cat poop as if it is the tasties treat EVER! WTF?

  7. Mary Ann Williamson September 23, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

    This is nothing but abuse, these snotty, vegan assholes should be charged and have their dog taken away. They really just want to look special, not do any good.

  8. CatLane September 24, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

    This is an interesting topic, I’ve been meaning to blog on it for ages now. Dogs *can* thrive on a vegetarian diet – lacto-ovo – as long as it’s carefully formulated and supplemented – vegan, the only time I’ve ever used was in relation to liver toxicity and/or veterinary instruction – and only, ever, short term. (I’m a therapeutic nutritionist and herbalist, my practise is focused on canines).But because something is called for in a given circumstance doesn’t make it optimal overall. Feeding a vegetarian diet if there is a condition that recommends it, is one thing – feeding a healthy dog a vegan diet for no reason other than one’s personal ethics, is hugely misguided and even cruel.

    And while I’m not especially “dirty”, I am something of a hippie, personally; I’m a lacto-ovo vegetarian, but my dogs and cats all receive balanced home made meals suitable for carnivores. Life does feed on life, and since I’ve chosen to keep carnivorous animals as companions, I intend to respect Mother Nature and feed those animals properly. We absolutely, as a society, need to extend far greater compassion and good care to the animals we raise and kill for food. But vegan diets for dogs and God knows cats?
    – more ego-driven than anything else.

    • Catherine Duke September 25, 2014 at 11:45 pm #

      Indeed, we had a very elderly dog (17yo) with health problems that improved dramatically when she switched to a vegetarian diet (per our vet’s suggestion), but I would NEVER have thought to switch her myself, I had the darnedest time wrapping my brain around it at first.

  9. Whitney Buchman September 26, 2014 at 10:16 pm #

    Love this article, but I will point out one thing: red pandas and dogs are not carnivores. I just had this discussion not long ago. The confusion is the classification for the order carnivora and the term carnivore for a strictly meat eating organism.

    One word is a taxonomic classification and the other word describes dietary needs of an animal. As a zoo educator I have to go over this one a lot 🙂 Dogs and bears are omnivores that are in the order carnivora. Snakes are carnivores in the order squamata. Weasles are carnivores in the order carnivora.

    The “e” makes all the difference.

  10. Adele Donahue December 23, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

    I know someone with 4 dogs all on a vegetarian diet. She swears her dogs are healthy and even the vet (grudgingly) admitted her dogs are in perfect shape. I think it can be done.. if you know what your doing and do your research. But I feel the same way with raw food too.

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