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A lady from my parents church is trying to turn her dog into a Vegan. Is that even safe?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member
On Sat Oct 15, 2011 05:40 PM
Edited by YumYumDoughnut (99333) on 2011-10-15 17:42:58
Locked by YumYumDoughnut (99333) on 2012-01-03 21:20:05 The lady in question has switched back her dogs food. SHe also stopped bugging me about my dog.

My parents both go to a church where the majority of people are vegetarians at the very least and most are vegan. Long story short, that religion believes that we aren't supposed to eat animal products because people didn't eat meat before the flood. My parents don't follow the religion closely, so they are meat eaters.

I sometimes go with my parents to church and this lady is actively trying to get her 3 dogs to become a vegan. She talks about it to me a lot, because she knows that I have a dog. She is trying to tell me to turn my dog into a Vegan too.

I haven't done much research, but is an all vegan diet safe for dogs? She won't buy any dog food because of animal stuff in them like eggs, skin etc. I personally think that dogs are meant to eat meat.

The last time I saw her dogs, they lost quite a bit of weight and they seemed very thin. She is a nurse, so I am wondering if she knows about nutrition better then me?

I am not sure WHAT to do. Do I just sit back and watch these dogs become extremely thin? I don't feel right reporting her, because she treats her dogs like her children. They are the best taken care of dogs that I have ever seen. ( Goes to the groomers every 8 weeks, always has new toys, sleeps in her bed etc).

Is this even any of my business to bring up to someone in real life?

30 Replies to A lady from my parents church is trying to turn her dog into a Vegan. Is that even safe?

re: A lady from my parents church is trying to turn her dog into a Vegan. Is that even safe? (karma: 4)
By panicmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Oct 15, 2011 05:56 PM
It's definitely your business. And you should bring it up in the form of interpretive dance. Those are just my two cents.
re: A lady from my parents church is trying to turn her dog into a Vegan. Is that even safe?
By Odessamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Oct 15, 2011 05:56 PM
Edited by Odessa (22571) on 2011-10-15 17:57:02
Is this even any of my business to bring up to someone in real life?

No.

Rule of thumb: if you ever have to ask if something is any of your business, it's probably not.

Erin.
::righteous babe::
re: A lady from my parents church is trying to turn her dog into a Vegan. Is that even safe?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member
On Sat Oct 15, 2011 06:04 PM
Edited by YumYumDoughnut (99333) on 2011-10-15 18:06:28
^ Yup, I didn't think this was any of my business. It is a good thing that I asked DDN for advice. Part of me really wanted to say something for the dogs sake, but I wasn't sure what the boundary was.

I just feel really bad for the dogs. Before she adopted them they looked like normal dogs, and now they have every single rib bone sticking out. The look kind of like this, but the hip bone doesn't stick out yet. Just the ribs. www.k9station.com . . .

Ah well, maybe they will start to gain weight again once they adjust to the diet. She says she feeds them a little bit of rice and mostly vegetables. My dog should go on a diet anyways, he is a real rolly polly. As I said, I don't know much about the vegan diet for dogs, so SHE could be the one that is actually right in this case. I was just alarmed from the rapid weight loss of her dogs.
re: A lady from my parents church is trying to turn her dog into a Vegan. Is that even safe?
By LlamaLlamaDuckmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Oct 15, 2011 10:46 PM
I do know that there are vegetarian dog foods out there.
re: A lady from my parents church is trying to turn her dog into a Vegan. Is that even safe?
By highlandrebelmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sat Oct 15, 2011 10:56 PM
I would stay out of it. It is between the owner and her vet. I get really annoyed when people butt in and try to tell me what to do with my dogs (much like someone trying to tell you what to do with your kids).

A well balanced vegan/vegetarian diet is okay. Not great, but a dog (being an omnivore and scavenger) can survive on it. I know quite a few dogs with serious allergies on vegan diets and they do fine.
A good vegan/vegetarian diet is better than feeding Old Roy or Beneful in my opinion.
That being said, creating a home made diet of any sort for your dog requires a lot of research and knowledge.

As for being thin, it depends on the breed and what condition the dog is in. People tend to have a warped view on what a thin dog is.
Take this dog, a Best of Breed Crufts, Sloughi. Ribs, backbone and hipbones show (though not well in this picture). All perfectly normal for the breed (or indeed for most sighthounds)
www.drakesleat.co.uk . . .

Bully breeds have their ribs showing when they are conditioned, very healthy dogs, liken to Olympic Athletes.
www.gopitbull.com . . .
re: A lady from my parents church is trying to turn her dog into a Vegan. Is that even safe?
By Kekoamember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun Oct 16, 2011 01:39 AM
Yes, a well-balanced vegan diet in a dog will not hurt it. I'm not sure I personally would fo it with my dogs, but a good, wholesome vegan diet is better (IMO) than many of the commercial dog foods that have all sorts of horrid chemicals. Dogs (as well as many other animals) need a specific balance of nutrients, available from multiple sources.
re: A lady from my parents church is trying to turn her dog into a Vegan. Is that even safe?
By panicmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Oct 16, 2011 04:47 AM
Edited by panic (116436) on 2011-10-16 04:49:06
That's not true. Dogs can live perfectly well on meat alone. They do not need multiple sources. They are able to digest quite a bit of vegetable protein (unlike cats), but I've never seen any evidence that a vegan diet is equally good for their health. I'd love to see your sources. Anyway dogs are CARNIVORES - not omnivores (a lot of carnivorous mammals eat fruit & veg occasionally). So it's totally ridiculous (and EXPENSIVE) to put them on a vegan diet except for specific health reasons IMO. If you want a vegan pet, get a damn rabbit.
re: A lady from my parents church is trying to turn her dog into a Vegan. Is that even safe?
By moara
On Sun Oct 16, 2011 05:08 AM
In regards to whether this is your business or not, she's the one who brought it up, and by pushing you to get your dog to go vegan, she's showing that she's interested in debating it, and opening herself up to criticism.

I think telling her "I don't think it's a good diet because your dogs are so thin they look malnourished" is perfectly appropriate, and allows her to explain herself.

I think it's better to bring it up with her, rather than reporting her, because it gives her the chance to take her dogs to the vet to make sure they're healthy, even if it's just to prove you wrong.

(I also thought i remembered a news aricle a while back about a woman being charged with animal cruelty because of her malnourished vegan dogs, but all I can find in google is articles about Vegan couples being charged for the death of their babies :C )
re: A lady from my parents church is trying to turn her dog into a Vegan. Is that even safe?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member
On Sun Oct 16, 2011 08:43 AM
Highlandrebel. I know for a fact that these aren't well conditioned dogs and I know it isn't a breed type. She owns three chihuahuas, and they aren't really training for anything. I found a closer photo of what her dogs actually look like now.
They went from looking like this

upload.wikimedia.org . . .

to this

newsblog.projo.com . . .

I am going to see if they get any skinner, and if she tries to keep turning my dog into a Vegan. My parents said that she asks them if YYD has changed the diet of her dog, almost every single week. She seems to be on a huge mission to turn my dog into a Vegan, and she even gave my parents Vegan Treats that she made for her dog. Anyways, there is no way in heck that I am going to turn my dog into a Vegan, but I will wait just a little longer to see if the dogs start gaining any weight once they get adjusted to the diet. She's only had the latest one for about 2 months, and maybe it is going through an adjustment period.
re: A lady from my parents church is trying to turn her dog into a Vegan. Is that even safe?
By imadanseurPremium member
On Sun Oct 16, 2011 09:44 AM
It really is between her and her vet (if she has one.) Otherwise its not like she's abusing the animals or you can call out animal welfare to come investigate.

My dog has developed allergies that have wrecked havoc on his skin. We changed his diet, went more natural, etc. Finally our vet told us it was the protein we were feeding him. WHAT? I was doing so good with all natural chicken, treats that had no grains in them, and I was actually making his allergies worse. I felt like such a bad mom! He is on a dog food that still has some chicken because his vet said if we gave him treats that were carrots, and apples instead of anything else it should help. That has helped along with some fish oil, cleaning his ears once a week, and brushing him more, but it hasn't knocked out the allergy completely.

Basically I am saying that a non-meat diet is actually okay for dogs, but you have to make sure they are getting all the nutrients they need and that is actually really difficult to do when we started talking to our vet about it. He felt us staying on our brand of dog food would be cheaper, more convenient, and healthier even though it has some chicken in it. Our next step is to go for a high priced allergy dog food and we decided for now we can manage it with what we have.
re: A lady from my parents church is trying to turn her dog into a Vegan. Is that even safe?
By Moonlitefairy06member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun Oct 16, 2011 10:50 AM
She doesn't have any cats as well as dogs right? I'm nearly positive that would be extremely unhealthy for a cat.
re: A lady from my parents church is trying to turn her dog into a Vegan. Is that even safe?
By Kekoamember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun Oct 16, 2011 11:58 AM
panic wrote:

That's not true. Dogs can live perfectly well on meat alone. They do not need multiple sources. They are able to digest quite a bit of vegetable protein (unlike cats), but I've never seen any evidence that a vegan diet is equally good for their health. I'd love to see your sources. Anyway dogs are CARNIVORES - not omnivores (a lot of carnivorous mammals eat fruit & veg occasionally). So it's totally ridiculous (and EXPENSIVE) to put them on a vegan diet except for specific health reasons IMO. If you want a vegan pet, get a damn rabbit.


It's not something I would do, I'm just relaying what my vet told me when I asked her about it. My vet told me that many elderly dogs and dogs with certain digestive disorders require diets without meat, and that while difficult (and not recommended), it is possible to raise a dog healthily. Whether my vet was full of it or not, she's had several dogs raised that way and sells bagged vegan dog food. My own dogs are on a really good chicken and rice formula their entire adult lives and have done very well, so it's never been something I'd consider.
re: A lady from my parents church is trying to turn her dog into a Vegan. Is that even safe?
By highlandrebelmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun Oct 16, 2011 02:33 PM
Edited by highlandrebel (182229) on 2011-10-16 14:34:19
Oops! I meant to say they are 'carnivores and scavengers'. They are for sure in Order Carnivora, opportunistic but pretty much everything about their physiology is carnivore.

I totally missed the fact that she was pushing a vegan diet on your dog. If she is bringing it up, I would for sure tell her that you think her dogs are too thin and ask if they are sick, and have seen the vet recently.
You could bring up the fact that dogs lack amylase in their saliva (it is in their gut, however).

There are no studies to my knowledge, comparing vegan diets to kibble. No one has adequately studied canine nutrition in my opinion, it is a poorly funded and unappreciated branch of canine science. So all we really have to go on is anecdotal evidence, the crap studies companies like Hill's turn out and extensive studies of wolf diets (which are highly regarded, peer reviewed studies).

Dogs are carnivores and need only meat, bones, and organs.
From my experience (touring Diamonds plant and my observations on dog), I would choose a vegetarian diet before feeding highly processed kibble with 'animal meat'.
re: A lady from my parents church is trying to turn her dog into a Vegan. Is that even safe?
By panicmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Oct 16, 2011 03:12 PM
Basically I am saying that a non-meat diet is actually okay for dogs
Does anyone have any citations for this? I know dogs can survive on vegetarian food, but I've never seen any research that indicates it's GOOD for them.
re: A lady from my parents church is trying to turn her dog into a Vegan. Is that even safe?
By highlandrebelmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun Oct 16, 2011 03:36 PM
panic wrote:

Basically I am saying that a non-meat diet is actually okay for dogs
Does anyone have any citations for this? I know dogs can survive on vegetarian food, but I've never seen any research that indicates it's GOOD for them.


You are not going to find any. At least to my knowledge and the knowledge of all the dog people I know, there have not been any studies done. Nor any chance of studies being done in the future.

I would say, it is okay for dogs. Like you said, they can sustain themselves on it, but not great or even good unless under extraordinary circumstances (such as extreme animal protein allergies).
re: A lady from my parents church is trying to turn her dog into a Vegan. Is that even safe?
By imadanseurPremium member
On Sun Oct 16, 2011 03:45 PM
Edited by imadanseur (79325) on 2011-10-16 15:47:04 ..
Edited by imadanseur (79325) on 2011-10-16 15:47:47 seriously?
^^Oh don't want to think I am actually promoting that or thinking that is good for all dogs. I'd say normal everyday dogs really need a balanced diet which includes meat of some kind. My point was that dogs can be healthy without meat for dietary reasons.

I'll provide you with what my friend (who is a vet for the Humane Society and has appeared on Animal Planet said...and I am paraphrasing)

A large majority of pet food has bad meat in it. Basically discarded meat from dying, diseased or disabled animals they can't serve to people. With that plus the byproducts in many dog foods a vegetarian diet would actually be healthier.

She said the main thing is the dog needs enough protein which you can get through egg and cottage cheese though some vets say those aren't good for dogs. Vegetarian protein won't have all the necessary amino acids, but you could buy an amino acid supplement.

She said vets don't agree on this, but her feeling is that dogs can be healthy with this kind of diet if it is well balanced, but the time and effort that takes is extreme, and she doesn't feel the average person has the knowledge of what their pet actually needs to be the healthiest and happiest so getting a good quality dog food is usually best for a healthy happy dog.
re: A lady from my parents church is trying to turn her dog into a Vegan. Is that even safe?
By Okinnad
On Sun Oct 16, 2011 09:42 PM
My dog has major allergies and she eats pretty close to a vegan diet - we typically use a vegan kibble for her, but right now we are trying to introduce a meat source into her diet, so she is getting a mix of Orijen Six Fish dog food and Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Vegetarian Formula which is a vegan kibble.

She has had a rough 2 years of us trying to get her diet controlled and this is the combination she has been able to tolerate.

She can't eat any type of red meat or any type of poultry, we have even tried her on kangaroo and it made her sick - so it appears she is allergic to meat proteins. She can be fine on a food for a few months and all of a sudden she gets sick from the food, but the vegan formula is the only one she hasn't gotten sick from. She also can't eat eggs or dairy without it making her tummy sick.

However, if I didn't have to do this for her, I definitely wouldn't. Her coat is dull, she has trouble gaining weight (she is about 4lbs and should be 5.5-6lbs), her eyes are full of goobers and she gets bored of her food and treats which consists of freeze dried veggies and raw carrots. I mean sure, there are probably many dogs that do well on a vegan diet, but I know my dog is not one of them.

She is watched closely by our vet and typically our vet avoids taking meat out of a dog's diet if she can which is why we have tried raw feeding, home cooking and kibble made from rabbit, kangaroo and venison.

So, I guess it isn't really your business, but like someone else said since she is trying to tell you to feed your dog a vegan diet I would tell her that you are concerned about the weight loss you have noticed in her dogs. To be honest, I don't know why someone would want to go to the extra trouble/expense of making a dog vegan when it isn't necessary. I'm a vegetarian and I know my dog would love to eat meat (she tries to chew on the bones on the bottom shelves of pet stores and tries to steal my mom's dogs' food all the time) and I would love for her to eat meat as well - I don't see why I would want to force my dog to live a lifestyle I chose for myself.
re: A lady from my parents church is trying to turn her dog into a Vegan. Is that even safe?
By toroandbruinmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun Oct 16, 2011 10:54 PM
Wikipedia says, "Though technically omnivorous, dogs exhibit a natural carnivorous bias...." And yes, that sounds about right. Wild canines in my area (coyotes, foxes) will eat just about anything they can find. That includes the french fries and bun as well as the bit of meat in a left-over MacDonalds meal in a park trash can.

Also, if you look at the ingredients in both wet and dry commercial dogfood you'll see plenty of things in addition to meat.

So if a very conscientious vegan feeds the family dog a well-balanced vegan meal they've designed for canines, it probably gets a better diet than its wild cousins.

But I do feel sorry for any dog not having a nice bone to settle with at night. I swear they dream about taking down a deer and eating it. It makes them so happy.
re: A lady from my parents church is trying to turn her dog into a Vegan. Is that even safe?
By Cadbury_Eatermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Oct 17, 2011 03:14 AM
Ehhh, it can be done but dogs digestive tracts have adopted evolutionary for a carniverous diet so I don't understand why you would turn them vegan.

I don't know much on the topic but both vegans I know have not turned their dogs vegan because they feel that dogs and their other animals need to eat meat.
re: A lady from my parents church is trying to turn her dog into a Vegan. Is that even safe?
By highlandrebelmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Mon Oct 17, 2011 12:28 PM
toroandbruin wrote:

Wikipedia says, "Though technically omnivorous, dogs exhibit a natural carnivorous bias...."



I think Wikipedia is wrong.
"Dogs have the internal anatomy and physiology of a carnivore"
(Feldhamer, G.A. 1999. Mammology: Adaptation, Diversity, and Ecology. McGraw-Hill. pg 260.).

Consuming foods other than meat does not make an animal an omnivore.
re: A lady from my parents church is trying to turn her dog into a Vegan. Is that even safe?
By panicmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Nov 03, 2011 09:40 AM
I'll provide you with what my friend (who is a vet for the Humane Society and has appeared on Animal Planet said...and I am paraphrasing)

A large majority of pet food has bad meat in it. Basically discarded meat from dying, diseased or disabled animals they can't serve to people. With that plus the byproducts in many dog foods a vegetarian diet would actually be healthier.
And I believe this statement is completely sensational (and not in the good sense of the word). If pets are eating diseased meat, why aren't they dropping dead? And I hate to break it to you, but "byproducts" are in a lot of human food too. Organs and hooves are most certainly not unfit for human consumption as many people assert. Gelatin is made from hooves, and delicious sausages are made with organ meat. As is pate. Marrow - which is a "byproduct" is also a delicacy. The whole concept of "byproducts" is western snobbery. And complaints against the slaughtering practices for pet food are the EXACT SAME COMPLAINTS they make against slaughtering practices for people. Not to mention the fact that predators in the wild OFTEN prey on diseased animals because they're easiest to catch. If you have a problem with meat, DO NOT GET A CARNIVORE AS A PET.

And as far as wikipedia saying dogs are omnivores, they're not. Dogs CAN survive on meat alone, which makes them carnivores. In addition, they are part of the scientific order "carnivora". They also have ZERO grinding teeth which are suitable for eating plant material. Many carnivores do eat an omnivorous diet. Carnivores that ONLY eat meat (like cats) are called obligate carnivores.
re: A lady from my parents church is trying to turn her dog into a Vegan. Is that even safe?
By hummingbird
On Thu Nov 03, 2011 09:56 AM
Have you ever been to an animal food factory and looked at what they put in mass produced pet foods?

I have and it's vile!

Yes, most of the stuff is rotten, the animals that die on farms are taken to the pet food plant to be processed, these would be the diseased ones the vet is talking about.

What do you think happens to all of the animals that die before they reach the slaughter houses? They end up in pet food and these plants are none too careful about how they store the carcasses before they're used.

The vet is right and there are no regulations governing what goes into pet food.

Not all diseases can be passed on through the food chain but any animal that dies of a disease can't be put into human food, if it's not used it's a loss. So it gets used in pet food.

It is heat treated though if that makes anyone feel any better.

highlandrebel is right, a good vegetarian dog food is probably better than any of the c@*p that is passed off as pet food on your supermarket shelves.
re: A lady from my parents church is trying to turn her dog into a Vegan. Is that even safe?
By panicmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:23 AM
FYI, I used to work for one of the largest meat purchasing companies in the world, so I'm not totally clueless. I'm going to go out on a limb here and bet you make those exact same arguments regarding slaughtering practices for all meat.

But do you really think dogs are meant to eat chicken breast? What do you think they've been eating for the past 15,000 years? Not prime meat and CERTAINLY not vegetables. They scavenged (on diseased and decaying meat) and ate human scraps. So I'm totally confused why anyone would think the rules for dog food should be the same as the rules for human food. And I'm sorry, but this attitude just seems snobby to me. Like my friend who feeds her dog nothing but tartare.

In any case, I HAVE seen plenty of long-term studies that indicate most commercial dog food produces healthy dogs who live long lives. There are TONS of studies on dog nutrition. Where are the studies that show vegetarian foods are just as good? Where are the studies that show "byproducts" are bad? DOGS ARE MEANT TO EAT "BYPRODUCTS"! Throughout history, they have always eaten bone, marrow and organs that we consider "byproducts". Does anyone have a SHRED of evidence to indicate that commercial dog foods are bad for dogs? Or are you pulling your opinion out of your butt?

Oh, and do NOT trust vets' opinions about nutrition. They have little training in this area, and it's usually outdated. PLUS, most vets get kickbacks from the pet food companies so they are definitely not impartial. Do your own research.

highlandrebel is right, a good vegetarian dog food is probably better than any of the c@*p that is passed off as pet food on your supermarket shelves.
I disagree 100%, and I'd venture to guess I know just as much about canine nutrition and the meat industry as you do.
re: A lady from my parents church is trying to turn her dog into a Vegan. Is that even safe?
By hummingbird
On Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:38 AM
Where did I mention by products or chicken breast in my post? I didn't and I don't try and feed my dogs steak either.

A natural diet for a dog is offal, if you want a natural diet for your dog go with green, unwashed tripe but that is difficult to get hold of now.

The production methods and the state of the ingredients is what I was talking about.

We don't all try to Disneyfy our animals.
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