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Vegan Pets?

I was looking at site that sells all vegan products and one of the things I saw was vegan dog food and supplements for vegan cats. I thought this very odd. I am very cautious when it comes to my cats food he only eats organic foods that do not contain chicken meal bi- product. I am not sure that it is entirely healthy for cats in particular to be vegan since they are considered carnivores based on the meat/veg ratios that they require. Is anyone here raising vegan pets? I am just curious about any health repercussion, did you discuss it with your vet? and exactly what do you feed them?

Do a search on pet food and you'll find a ton of discussions we've had... and that there was no clear consensus.

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Here are a couple of the previous discussions: http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=17349.0
Here's one that I started last year during my beginning vegan days: http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=16301.0--this one also contains links to a couple other conversations.

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The short answer is: It depends on the pet.  If you want a vegan pet, don't select a cat... cats are obligate carnivores.  Dogs are a little more flexible, and other pet-type animals vary in their diets.  Happy researching!

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If you are looking for a vegan companion animal, I would suggest adopting a rabbit.
They thrive on a raw veggie diet. They are also really funny. Please research before hand of course.
http://img524.imageshack.us/img524/3548/img8894tv0.jpg
This is Czocha, she was found under a loading dock in a rabbit cage.
Little we could do at the time, except make her part of the family.
I've had her three years this summer, roughly two- three when found.

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hamsters are also good veggie pets!

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beware of hamsters....I woke up one morning as a child to clean out the hamster cage and found my sister's hamster eating mine!!!

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I am not really looking for a vegan pet because I am perfectly happy with my kitty. I was just wondering if it is actually feasable.

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beware of hamsters....I woke up one morning as a child to clean out the hamster cage and found my sister's hamster eating mine!!!

yep, seen them do that at pet stores too. ehhh... pet stores.

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I am always the sh*t disturber on this subject.  Cats are carnivores.  Some people suggest dogs can do well without meat.  Humans have long digestive tracks that let meat putrefy in  them for 3 to 5 days.  Dogs and cats have very short digestive tracks.  They eliminate meat much more quickly.  Since switching my dog to a raw diet May 20th, her health has improved and she has very small, very non smelling poop.  Her body retains what she needs and she eliminates what she doesn't which is next to nothing. 

My cats also all eat meat. 

Certain animals should eat what they are meant to eat.  If I offer my dog or cats meat and veggies, the meat goes first.

My hedgehog also could not be vegetarian or I would be killing her.  Same goes with the people with snakes.

Feeding an optimum diet for the species is what should be done.  I don't love buying meat, but I do because that is what is optimum for my pets. 

I am sure some cats and dogs do OK or even well on a veggie diet but it is not optimum for their species.  Just like some people can eat crap and live a long life.  Doesn't mean it is healthy for them or us.

Taurine is very important for cats.  They can get heart disease without it and several other ailments including death as I witnessed with my friends three cats (death).  Many holistic vets feel that synthetic taurine doesn't come close to the taurine they get from meat.

Being the sh*t disturber, I have always said, if you don't want to have a pet and feed it like it is meant to be fed, get a vegetarian pet.

Just IMHO.

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Years ago, we tried a couple of vegetarian kibbles with our retired racing hounds, and they didn't do well on it at alll--lots of very bad gas and loose stools.  So we feed a chicken and egg kibble, and the treats I make them are vegan (whole wheat flour, canned pumpkin, peanutbutter). 

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Its tough, I really believe cats are designed by nature to be more or less carnivores. Dogs on the other hand are scavengers. Both have particular protein needs; short digestive tracts and teeth structure that indicate ease of processing animal proteins (more so raw than processed). People ask how old my dogs are and how they are so well behaved. They are nurtured and offer them a decent processed kibble; http://www.orijen.ca along with a handful of raw meals a month.

They do quite well; healthy, beautiful, sound minded. At what cost would I force my ideals upon them? While I think some dogs could live off a vegan diet, I am not 100% confident its in the best interest of the animal. Having a companion animal live off supplements and a processed vegan kibble dosent sound right to me(??) A family dog eating local farm raised chicken, eggs and along with a plethora of veggies, fruit and some grains seems the optimal choice. Of course in my opinion.

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I've weighed in on the subject before, so not going to belabor my opinion yet again.

People who are vegans for ethical and animal cruelty reasons, and whom know that millions of animals suffer for pet food, should know there is an alternative to explore and make their own decision. 

Vegan cats can get their taurine from manmade sources the same way vegan humans get their B12. Modern science is interesting that way. People don't think twice that their pet foods  have supplements in them, why not add one more to a vegan mix?  Vegans are quick to point out "my cat needs taurine so I feed it meat", but don't think twice about downing a B12 supplement for themselves so they can be vegan.  I find this interesting. 
My dogs are happy healthy vegans and converted without difficulty.  I am not a cat person, but I do understand cats are natural carnivores.

There's a good, very short book "The Oblicate Carnivore" that offers another perspective...and one should read both the carnivores perspective and the vegans when getting opinions.  It's probably cheap used somewhere like Amazon or eBay.  http://www.vegancats.com/pages/1175/Books.htm

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Di, I agree with much of what you're saying. One of my good friends has a cat and is kind of conflicted about feeding him animal products, but she knows that her foremost responsibility is to the cat that's directly in her care. I feel the same way - although I know from experience that dogs can be very healthy & happy on vegetarian diets (I don't know much about vegan diets for dogs though.) Cats apparentyl should not even be eating any plant foods, since they're actual carnivores (vs dogs which are omnivores) so it makes me a little mad sometimes to see ads for cat food that stress grains and vegetables...good-for-humans doesn't equal good for other animals.

I also want to echo Eric - bunnies are rad animals to have around and are probably the most vegan pet one can have. :) If kept by a knowledgeable family, they can be trained similarly to dogs, and can be as clean (or cleaner!)  than cats. I have a 5 year old dwarf/lop mix that I adore. She is litter trained and knows a few "commands" and is very social. when I have people over for dinner or parties she's always right in the action. A few days ago she jumped in the toilet...so curious  ;D

http://photos-h.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v1457/176/55/120813142/n120813142_39792439_4228.jpg

anyway! my response to the original post would be that some dogs are fine with veg diets, I personally would keep a cat on as carnivorous a diet as possible if I ever got one. The animal's well being and health obviously need to be considered, & for me should be the priority, although it would be lovely to be able to feed any pet a vegan diet and not worry about them.

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