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 I am Vegan and transitioning to raw. But, I have 4 dogs that I have committed to share their life with until they die. Two of them I have rescued/re-homed. They eat meat I don't. I don't eat meat for all the same reasons you don't eat meat. What are your thoughts on this? Do I find a way to get them Vegan? Am I a hypocrite? 

My dogs are athletic and compete in agility competitions and run with me when I train for marathons etc.... so they need good food.

Thanks for any help with this. 

Gary

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Hi Gary,

 

I am in a similar situation to you and have thought about this long and hard. What is has boiled down to is the following on pets in general (some of it may not apply to you as you already have a dog) but here goes...

  1. Never buy a pet - do not promote the pet industry in any way shape of form - on some levels it is crueler than the meat industry. If you MUST get an animal get a RESCUE and make sure YOU can look after it for the rest of your life.
  2. DO NOT BUY KIBBLE - If you choose to feed your dog a vegan diet - DO NOT BUY KIBBLE/DRY FOOD (vegan or non vegan). This is the most dehydrating, synthetic food that you could possibly feed your dog. Try to feed it as much FRESH food as possible that you have cooked or prepared raw as you can. If you are interested in vegan pet foods in the UK try www.veggiepets.co.uk
  3. Smallest Impact on meat industry possible - If you decide to feed your dogs meat (the diet it was designed to eat) then here are my tips... (NOTE TO ALL ETHICAL VEGANS - I BY NO MEANS AGREE WITH KILLING ANIMALS OR THE MEAT INDUSTRY - the tips below are how to have the SMALLEST impact on the industry as possible if one decides to feed their dog meat)
  • Let your dog catch its own food - Dogs are born equipped with the ability to hunt for themselves. (claws, teeth, legs, instinct, smell etc) LET YOUR DOG CATCH ITS OWN FOOD. I know a guy who lets his dog go out and catch rabbits themselves. This is IMO the least cruel way and most natural way to let your dog eat the diet it was designed for. Failing this… (as you may not be near or know if it would be ok to let your dog off to catch rabbits.. or your dog may no longer possess the speed to catch its own food) then I suggest the following...
  • Road Kill - Feed your dog road kill - this would be at your discretion though... I have not been able to do this but I know my mum once fed a road kill rabbit to some wild cats she looks after… they ate the whole thing in seconds.
  • Buy Wild Meat - If you are going to buy meat - where possible buy WILD meat. I notice you are in the UK - so am I. I am aware of a company that sell raw wild rabbit specifically for dogs (mince or pieces) with all bones, fur, liver, kidney just like the dog itself would eat http://www.woldsway.co.uk/acatalog/Pet_Meat.html. The reason this is the next best option is because the animal has not been factory farmed, had the most natural life so far etc... The date of its execution was not planned the day it was born. The company I mention sources rabbits locally unlike some which source meat from China (includig tinned pet foods). Also whilst the meat industry and modern day agriculture still thrives these rabbits would have been seen as pests and culled. (This does by no means justify this from a vegan ethics perspective!!)

 

  • Reduced priced Meat -Failing this... another option I have is to go to the reduced section at your local supermarket. The less amount of money you can pay for the meat, the less profit the industry makes and the less you are demanding the industry to create and kill more. Most of the reductions in the shop are bound to be thrown out at the end of the day so if you can get a packet of meat for 99p rather than the £5 it was on sale for at the start, then you are impacting the supply and demand of the meat industry to a lesser extent. Remember a human best before date on food is not the same as dogs. Dogs’ stomach acid is 20 times stronger than that of a herbivore so they could still eat the meat a good few days after or alternatively freeze the meat.
  • Off Cuts from Butcher - Go to your local butcher and ask for the off cuts of meat that were going to be thrown out or bones. I have seen in Morrison’s pigs’ heart for 50p a packet. My dogs are not keen on this but yours may enjoy it. This again is going to have a smaller impact on the meat industry.
  • Buy the meat from a large animal for least suffering - When choosing which meat to buy if you buy some from a larger animal (say a cow as opposed to a chicken) then only ONE animal has had to suffer as opposed to feeding your dog 5 or 6 chicken thighs (3 animals would have been killed in that instance) so where possible the bigger the animal the lower the number of killings and the lower the suffering.

(Please note I do not agree or am advocating the meat industry in any way shape or form.)

 

Also Gary - there are plenty of discussions about this on 30bad.. type it into the search bar and see what others have to say.

SS

Aw....... I never expected such an amazing, thoughtful and helpful reply. Thank you so much for you thoughts and even more so for sitting and writing it all out for me in such a clear legibly way. 

It has really helped. There's so  much in your reply that I can use and trial with.

Brilliant. I hope you have an amazing day.

Well said.  Cats & dogs are carnivores whereas humans are frugivores. That us why my digs ear Raw meat 

Dogs (not sure about cats) are omnivores actually, so they eat what ever they can eat. I just did a blog post today about this topic - Vegan Pets, and although I was a little biased to dropping the meat, there is some compelling info that suggests dogs are much more healthy when Vegan, even over Vegetarian. I've included many great links with info on how/what to feed, for me it basically comes down to being educated and spending a little more time and money..

My 3 dogs are transitioning, they get eggs from my Organic Free range chickens, cooked pumpkin, brown rice, oil, finely chopped garden herbs like Comfrey, mint, Borage, some garlic around full moon when parasites are on the move etc. Occasionally they get chicken mince from the butcher, a town nearby is know as the Beef capital so it's cheap, but I hope to wean them off and substitute their diet with more live, veggie, tasty treats..

Where I live I'm surrounded by wilderness, our land is over 6500 acres so the dogs are always hunting rats, birds etc, they don't get much but they keep amused and fit doing it :)

One quick point: picking up road kill is illegal in some areas and could land you in jail.  Please check regulations! (In my state, it is considered poaching and has a hefty fine and jail time!)

This is interesting as they'll only pick it up to put it in pet food anyway more than likely! I wonder why it's against the law... I find this fascinating.

My dogs love all sorts. patato and veg and even some fruit.

I have a shepherd and 2 wolf/malamute/husky mixes.  They're all extremely active, they do eat kibble as a base food.  There is protein in it, and it's the best I could afford with the most veggie ingredients. Not many humans can mix the correct rations of nutrients for dogs which is why I'd say, find a food you trust, even a vegan commercial food and check the ingredients.  Do my dogs eat meat? Do canines eat meat in the wild? Yes. They have fangs, claws and that's how nature made them.  Forcing a veggie diet on a canine carries a lot of responsibility and commitment on part of the pet owner to get into the science of what the dogs need.  Just because owners go vegan, doesn't mean dogs, cats etc all need to be bashed into submission.  That's my only differing opinion w/ vegan views.  Friend of mine is a Naturopathic Veterinarian (she's vegan herself) but does feed her dogs free range type meats, bison, etc.  Processed grocery meat is crap, literally.  Chicken has arsenic in it, chicken feces are fed to cows in the beef industry thus - poison.   Vegan kibble is great because at least there's no diseased animal product in it.

As for feeding road kill NO!  Why?  Because you don't know if that animal was sick OR if someone put out poison, it ate the poison and now you're going to feed this to a dog.  This should be common sense but people don't get it.  Let it hunt?  May as well abandon a dog then. My barn cat does hunt in addition to what I feed him, he's eaten a few rats, however I fear always that the rat may have ingested poison.  Going to a butcher for meat is an option, but he'll probably have steroid laden mass production meat just like the grocers (maybe not in the UK but in America you need to be sure its free range).

Dogs can eat many veggies and grains.  Cooked grains: quinoa, oatmeal, lentils, beans, long grain brown rice. Potatoes must be cooked as they are not good for dogs raw (deadly nightshade plant family) sweet potatoes are really high in nutrients, carrots can be raw or cooked. If feeding celery, de-string it, the dog can choke on strings, best to leave it out.  They can have lettuce, spinach & other greens. Dogs should not eat onions and I've heard the same for garlic.  Fruits: NO avocado-poisonous, citrus is fine if they like it, apples no seeds, melon.  They can have pasta too.  Some people feed cooked eggs as a source of protein if they don't wish to use kibble or meat.  Dogs need oil in their diets, should not have a lot of added sodium, but can eat many vegan leftovers and often love them.  Some dogs never grow to like veggies, or they end up with bloat and diarrhea from them.  Transition gradually. If a dog drops weight, best to keep them on a diet that's more as nature intended. 

I know this is long, but I had a dog transition to vegan and he just wasn't getting what he needed from it.  My vets have all commented on how shiny the dogs' coats are and how vibrant my one 14 year old sickly rescue became when I started cooking for her and adding that to her meat & kibble.  With multiple dogs and time constraints (I have over a dozen rescues dogs, horses, cats, birds) that it can be really time consuming and pricey to make all their food.  Wanting to feed a dog vegan because our meat industry is so bad is understandable, but they're not vegan by nature. Period. Sorry hardcore vegans, I didn't design the dog.  I'm sure backlash will come from this comment but I speak from experience in feeding a partial vegan diet vs. all vegan.  My main concern is feeding roadkill. They put that crap in cheap commercial foods!  It can be the quickest way to accidentally poison your pet.  What if the animal has rabies? Many people refuse to vaccinate dogs so that's also a concern. Either feed less commercial food/meat along w/ home prepared veggies OR spend more to purchase wild meat.

I hope this helps!  And with that I'm off to feed my zoo :)

Hey, really appreciate you coments. thanks. 

I feed my dogs avocado almost every single day. We can't help it as they fall off the trees and the dogs eat them! They are NOT poisonous and I wish this rumor would be squashed. I have fed dozens of dogs avocados with no ill effects. Dogs are omnivorous as humans, so yes they CAN thrive on vegan foods! :)

I agree that roadkill is not the right thing to do. Too many variables there!

I am lucky that rabies does not exist here in Hawaii so that's something that we don't have to worry about. I think that you brought up some great points Trysta, I just don't agree about the dogs and vegan thing. But life would be BORING if we all agreed, yeah?! :)

Hi Gary,

I have had to wrestle with this as well.  I totally agree with SS, and he has listed some great points and ideas. 

I'll share my experience.  Up until two weeks ago, I had a cat, for the last two years.  The same here, I've been vegan for a few years, transitioning to raw a year after a got him.  I didn't really want to get a pet, but my daughter begged for a year, and I finally relented.  I felt somewhat okay about this because a) I didn't go to a pet store and buy this cat, he was a stray that a friend had taken in but couldn't keep because her husband was allergic.  She was putting food out for him during the summer, but when winter was coming and she couldn't bring him in the house, she started looking for a home for him.  and b) the relationship was more or less on his terms.  he came and went as he pleased, in exchange for free food, warm place to sleep and companionship, we got companionship.

Also, I felt somewhat okay about it because he was half wild, and caught half of his own food outside.  I supplemented with canned meat and fish I bought for him.  In terms of food, I totally agree with SS.  I've researched this too.  Do NOT feed a dog or cat kibble.  it is NOT good for them at all, and only exists to create profit for pet food companies.  It is mostly made with cheap plant protein, with is not what a dog needs.  canned meat is not good either, but better.  I tried for awhile, the thing mentioned about buying wild raw rabbits, but I just couldn't deal with having raw meat in the house.  It made me nervous (bacteria) and it grossed me out and the kids.  (on the other hand, getting attached to an animal, and being grossed out by dead ones, helped reinforces the kids vegan ideas.)  So I went back to canned food, which I was conflicted about.  It was not as good for him, and it supports the meat for human food industry.  All of it, premium or not, is made from the by-products of people food production.  I do not think it's a good idea to feed dogs vegan food.  I know that a few do it, but it is nowhere near their natural diet, and not at all good for their health.  One of the reasons that i eat fruit is that I believe in a species specific diet.  I don't have a problem with animals eating animals in the wild.  It's natural, and it's in balance.  what humans do on this planet now is SO FAR from balance.  and if we continue, we will destroy ourselves and our habitat.  Dogs do naturally eat more plant matter than cats, but the do need to eat animals for their health.  Cats are true carnivores, and should eat absolutely no grains (which dry cat food is mostly made of).

So anyways, even with all of that, as I have have progressed more and more in my life, I felt less and less about having a pet.  It's the "owning" part that bothers me.  I eat plants for my health, but also because I don't believe that animals are an inanimate commodity to be reckless used and exploited by humans.  Sure, I get how we got here as a civilization, but with today's technology, there is absolutely no reason to use animals for food, clothing, labor, transportation, testing products, producing products out of their parts, or anything else.  If there ever was a reason.  Although having a companion animal is caring, and not cruel, and that bond between us is beautiful, I can't help but feel that it is still exploiting an animal for our own needs and wants, and not what that animal would do with it's own life, if given a choice.  I don't want to be exploited, I don't want other people exploited, and I don't want to see animals exploited.  Plus we selectively breed, and create new animals.  It gets crazy.  I read once that all domestic dogs are descendants of wolves, and that they were selectively breed to perform specific tasks, and that that is why we have so many breeds today, instead of just one.

So, I had been thinking a lot about this lately, that I was bothered by the idea of having pets.  But what to do?  I already had a cat, that the kids and I love.  I'm not going to just kick him out?  Probably couldn't now if I wanted to, which I don't.  But then, ironically, two weeks ago he was hit by a car down the street from my house.  We were all very sad, and have much grief and loss around it.

So, although I really miss having him around, and I love animals, and my daughter is begging me again to get another cat, I am not going to have any pets anymore.

Wow, this got to be long.  I hope some of it helps.  I think maybe it helped me process.

Cheers!

Erik

Another great reply, thank you so much. 

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