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Pet Food and Veg Ethics

I'm curious about those of you with dogs (and cats). How many people feed their pets vegan food? What has your experience been with it? And, if you choose to eat animal-free, but feed your own pets products containing meat, how do you deal with that from an ethical standpoint?

Curious to see what you guys have to say,

MA, proud mama to three dogs

That was *the* topic here a couple of years ago.  Our resident animal nutrition expert left and so we haven't talked about it much (or as much) as of late.

The general consensus from those days:
Dogs are omnivores and can do well on a vegan diet.
Cats are carnivores and do well on a meat diet.

We didn't get past dogs and cats to discuss other animals.

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I agree with the last post. I have cats. I buy them food that has meat in it, but I make sure it is not all meat and has a large quantity of vegetables as well. It is more about looking into the company from which you buy the food to see what kind of conditions the animals are raised in.

I think a very important point to this is to make sure all cats are spayed or nutered, to ensure that the population stays in control. We have an abundant amount of cats and most people can't afford to spend forty dollars a bag on good food, so they end up eating the cheap food that is probably produced on farms where the animals aren't treated so nicely.

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Good point.  It was also pretty much a consensus that cats don't do good on filler crap - which is most cat food.

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Yea they tend to fill with chicken fat, which is a by-product of the meat industry (cheap), corn and gluten. All of which ya wanna steer clear of!

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My three dogs are all rescues and are (of course) all fixed. I've been a vegetarian for 14 years and went totally vegan in my early 20s. I do, however, still feed my buddies dog food and chews and treats that contain animal products, but avoiding wheat and other allergens.

I guess I've been feeling conflicted about treating my own dogs with lots of love and care while knowing other animals are becoming their dinner. Weird and ethically skewed. I've been thinking a lot lately about transitioning them onto a veg diet. Sorry that I missed the previous topic, HH. I'm sure it would have been very enlightening.

MA

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I did a search for the past threads, but but I couldn't find them.  It comes up frequently enough (honey, too), but not at the same depth as a couple of years ago when Dave was here.

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wambamtam - what kind of cat food do you use?
I have been trying to decide on what cat food to feed my cats. I want it to be a healthy food for them, I know that cats are generally pickier eaters and one does have to be careful what to feed them to make sure they  get what they need.

To answer the orginal question - I do feed my cats food that does contain meat.

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Yes! I feed my chihuahuas vegan dog food... when i finish college in december i plan on making my own for them to eat (i bought a few books and vegedog supplement to get started)... i feed them Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Vegetarian Formula, they have it at petco and petsmart... Mason, one of my chihuahuas, had the dingy-est coat before and now its super soft... he has always loved the stuff... my other dog Bella didn't like it much at first but she's a little pig and quickly got used to it within a few days... the meat they put in dog food is the leftover meat that's unsafe for human consumption... so why would u want to feed that to ur dog?!?! dogs can be vegan and healthy too so go for it!

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Yeah, I've heard that kitties can't thrive on a veg. diet, so I feed mine kibbles and canned food.  I have to get what I can afford right now, so that kind of dominates the choices, but when we are financially better, they do like the organic-free range-grass fed stuff WAY better.

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My dogs are happy, healthy vegans!  We feed them Nature's Recipe Vegetarian Formula.  Gives em garlic breath - I love it!

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I feed my cats "Performatrin Ultra Slim Care: Salmon & Olive Oil"

And the ingredients are as follows.

Salmon
Salmon Meal
Whole Brown Rice
Oatmeal
Chicken Meal
Dried Egg Product
Pearled Barley
Herring Meal
Dried Potato Product
Brewers Dried Yeast
Dehydrated Vegetables (Carrot, Celery, Beet, Parsley, Lettuce, Watercress, Spinach)
Dried Whey Protein Concentrate
Green Peas
Alfalfa Meal
Olive Oil (stabilized with mixed tocopherols)
Chicken Cartilage (source of Chondroitin)
Whole Cranberries
Lentils
Sunflower Oil (stabilized with mixed tocopherols)
Canola Oil (stabilized with mixed tocopherols)
Fresh Whole Sweet Potato
Fresh Whole Carrots
Whole Blueberries
Kelp
Fresh Whole Apples
Whole Flaxseed
Sea Salt
DL-Methionine
Chicory Root Extract
L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C)
Green Tea Extract
L-Carnitine
Glucosamine Hydrochloride
Taurine
Lecithin
L-Leucine
Lactobacillus Acidophilus
Bacillus Subtilis
Bifidobacterium Thermophilum
Bifidobacterium Longum
Enterococcus Faecium
Spirulina
Vitamin E Supplement
Yucca Schidigera Extract
Choline Chloride
Zinc Amino-Acid Complex (source of Chelated Zinc)
Iron Amino-Acid Complex (source of Chelated Iron)
Rosemary
Manganese Amino-Acid Complex (source of Chelated Manganese)
Basil
Sage
Dandelion
Potassium Chloride
Copper Amino-Acid Complex (source of Chelated Copper)
Niacin
Vitamin B12 Supplement
Vitamin A Supplement
Calcium Pantothenate
Thiamine Hydrochloride
Riboflavin
Cobalt Amino-Acid Complex (source of Chelated Cobalt)
Vitamin D3 Supplement
Folic Acid
Biotin
Pyridoxine Hydrochloride
Potassium Iodine
Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (source of Vitamin K activity)
Sodium Selenite

Also. The Halo line of foods that are now owned by Ellen Degenerous are great for animals. They are all human grade.

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That is a freaking long list! Also, human grade sounds really funny.

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ethically how i deal with it is that I know cats do poorly on a veg diet, and it would bother me more to neglect their nutritional needs when they have been placed in my care than to purchase the items they need to survive.  I am also the sole source of food for quite a many strays in the neighborhood, and i do try to get them the higher quality more humane items when possible. I hate that i still have to buy, essentially, meat, but they are carnivores by nature.  If i had a dog it would be veg though =-)

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Thank you wambamtam!! :)

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You can actually feed cat's a vegan diet:

http://www.peta.org/factsheet/files/FactsheetDisplay.asp?ID=34

"The nutritional needs of dogs and cats can be met with a balanced vegan diet and certain supplements. James Peden, author of Vegetarian Cats & Dogs, developed Vegepet™ supplements to add to vegetarian and vegan recipes. They are nutritionally balanced and also come in special formulas for kittens, puppies, and lactating cats and dogs."

They have Vegepet for cats that will give them all the nutrition they need if u make their food.

There's also vegan cat food you can buy just checkout the link above and it tells u all about it!

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My short answer - I don't force my ethical decisions on anyone, including my companion animals.

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My dogs eat meat that we buy from the local butchers (the butchers raise what they slaughter).  Nothing is killed for their sake, we buy what would otherwise go to waste (what didn't sell, parts humans don't use and whole chickens that have bruises).  I have less ethical issues with that than importing a veggie dog food produced by a huge multinational corporation. 

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My short answer - I don't force my ethical decisions on anyone, including my companion animals.

so what u let them go pet food shopping for themselves? ur the person picking their food so YES u r forcing ur ethical decisions on them... it is ur choice what u feed them... FYI

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My dogs are happy, healthy vegans!  We feed them Nature's Recipe Vegetarian Formula.  Gives em garlic breath - I love it!

This, exactly. But, my dog catches and eats enough meat for her not to feel deprived, I'd say. My mom feeds their dog meat, but makes all his food, because we think he may have something like celiac. She gives him human food, basically.

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I seem to agree with most about cats...I feed mine food with meat in it.  I sort of feel that my choice to NOT eat animal products comes from a place of privilege...I can afford to choose, and my body thrives on the choices I make.  When I made the decision to care for a cat, I made the decision to feed her a diet that will keep her healthy, so that she will be my companion for a long time to come.  If I thought she would thrive without animal products, I would go that route...but her body is made differently than mine is.  I also make sure that she is getting lots of veggies...I feed her one called Spot's Stew...it has no by-product or wheat or corn (my little darling has a particularly sensitive tummy...lucky me).

As to the idea of a vegan cat diet, with lots of supplements...I guess if that is your thing, then go for it.  For me, I think the fact that you need to hyper supplement it, says that is not what is best for their bodies.  I supplement my diet with an occasional dose of B-12 (only because I don't eat a ton of nooch or processed foods), but otherwise I am healthier now then I was as a meat eater.  She would not be...

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