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Should Your Pet Go on a Vegetarian Diet?

The risks of feeding vegan or vegetarian diets to your pet.

Vegetarian Pet Diets and Supplements

To make up for imbalances or deficiency in a pet’s diet, people who choose to feed dogs and cats vegetarian or vegan diets often turn to nutritional supplements.

“Experimentally, there are ways to get around it,” Heinze says, “but you’re adding a lot of chemically synthesized nutrients to replace what would normally be in an appropriate diet.”

Pet Food Ethics and Pet Selection

Pet care professionals who warn against vegetarian diets for dogs and cats empathize with pet owners’ concerns that lead to these decisions. But there are options other than species-inappropriate diets for dogs or cats.

“People do this to make themselves happy,” says Olson, who worked in psychotherapy before changing careers in the early 1990s. “It’s not about the animal. When people tell me they want to feed a vegan diet, I say, ‘Get a goat, get a rabbit.’”

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Reviewed on May 19, 2011

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