There's nothing better than seeing a wagging tail in the morning. It's true, dogs are better than people. When you love something this much, you want to make sure you take good care of it. That means bonding over snacks and picking a diet that you know is healthy for your pet.

For vegetarians, this can create confusion and pose a question of ethics. Can a vegetarian dog diet be a good solution? 

Katie Walsh

The Pros

Facing the matter of feeding meat to your pet when you yourself reject that diet brings up contradictions. How can you ethically provide something that is against your personal morals? Luckily, a meatless route is supported by a number of veterinarians and organizations. Of course, PETA says that it's possible.  

There's also tons of anecdotal evidence to ease your mind about the outcomes of a vegetarian dog diet. One example is the world's longest living dog, as stated in 2002. Bramble, a border collie, lived for 27 years by eating a vegan diet of rice, lentils, and organic vegetables. Another dog, Piggy, tripled in size and became "the picture of health" after being taken in as a hunger-stricken stray. 

Dog food is also known to contain some of the worst quality meat on the market, akin to fast food for humans. According to petMD, by-product meals that go into the creation of pet food are leftovers of the human food industry, consisting of parts such as bone, fatty tissue, and blood. These facts can turn a dog owner towards a vegetarian or vegan diet. The control over it, as well as making sure the pet gets adequate nutrition, lets you know exactly what your dog is eating. You can even consult an expert in dog nutrition to be completely certain. 

salad, broccoli, pepper, cabbage, tomato, cucumber, carrot, vegetable
Christin Urso

The Cons

Vegetarianism and veganism are great options for those who wish to affect their bodies and environments positively. Those who make these choices are most often the ones who want that decision to reflect in every part of their lives, including their pet's diet as well. However, going with an "I wouldn't feed my dog anything I wouldn't eat" mentality isn't always necessarily the best route. 

According to Dr. Tsang from Veterinary Care Group, it is true that dogs are omnivores, however, satisfying that meat-eating part of them is the best route for their health. In addition, dog foods, especially that for puppies, is formulated to specifically cater to their growing needs. This means a vegetarian dog diet is possible, but not the best option for your best mate. However, there are exceptions to this, as in situations where a dog has an allergy. There are scenarios in which a dog can be allergic to a specific type of protein, such as chicken or pork. This manifests itself mainly in skin-type symptoms, although gastrointestinal difficulties can be present as well. 

Cats go even further into the no-go zone. While dogs are able to manufacture taurine, an essential amino acid, on their own if fed the right protein, cats need to have it sufficiently included in their diet. Adequate levels of taurine prevent eye issues, reproductive problems, and a condition called taurine-related dilated cardiomyopathy. This causes the animal to have an enlarged heart with poor blood-pumping abilities. Certain dog breeds are pre-disposed to this illness as well, such as Cocker Spaniels, Great Danes, and Boxers. Feeding them a vegetarian diet can possibly put them at a greater risk. 

In my opinion, the best thing to do is respect your dog for what they are — a dog. This means trusting professionals to guide you through any situation where a vegan or vegetarian dog diet might be necessary, as well as doing your own research. Personally, I like feeding my dog an organic, all-natural mix, using meat and veggies as treats. At the end of the day, it's in your hands to decide what is best to feed your pup. 

Kayla Cain