Nowadays, more and more people are becoming vegetarians or vegans depending on the trend. Indeed, it is a choice and a respect of certain values. The vegan diet excludes all types of dairy products and foods of animal origin. These people eat cereals and legumes.
They think they are doing the right thing by giving the same diet to their dog or cat, but what is appropriate for a human being is not necessarily appropriate for animals. Of course, veganism does carry animal health risks.
Why is a meatless diet dangerous for dogs and cats?
Dogs and cats are carnivorous animals, so they can only eat meat. They need animal proteins in order to develop their muscles, because too many vegetable proteins cause them digestive problems, especially because of the starch. Indeed, their digestive tract is shorter than that of humans and their transit is much faster. On the other hand, the food is too rich in carbohydrates and not enough in lipids. Furthermore, the cat’s food must contain taurine or it will suffer from heart problems and blindness.
Pets on a vegetarian diet will inevitably suffer from deficiencies. Amino acids are more important in meat and calcium and phosphorus in fish. Nutrients must be rich in vitamin A and vitamin D3, so the small animal on a vegetarian diet soon becomes malnourished. Unsupplemented animals become lethargic and have problems with their intestines and even their pancreas. The food is not especially tasty and the pets usually lose weight. A meatless diet is therefore very dangerous for the health of dogs and cats.
What are the nutritional needs of a dog or cat?
Dogs are omnivores and cats are carnivores, but both are fed amino acids. However, they have different diets, as the dog is much more active than the feline. On the other hand, the latter must have food much richer in proteins, twice as much as the dog. Both have their own food bowls and there is no question of giving them the same food.
Moreover, a kitten does not have the same needs as an adult cat that has been sterilized and lives in an apartment. A senior cat should have a food rich in vitamins and minerals, necessary for the proper functioning of his body. In addition, all the minerals in the right doses protect his bones. Supplements do not have to be given systematically, if the nutrients are complete.
Approximately 30% of the proteins ingested by a cat are used to renew its coat. A deficiency will cause hair to become dull and brittle. He needs animal fat, but not too much, otherwise he becomes obese. However, omegas 3 and 6 provide the cat with energy. Arginine helps eliminate toxic waste, including ammonia produced by the body. By respecting their nutritional needs, you contribute to their well-being.
What are the benefits of a varied, complete and balanced diet?
By eating a balanced diet, pets have a stronger immune system and easier digestion. Dogs and cats have more vitality and shiny coats thanks to a varied diet. This applies to their oral hygiene as well as to their healthy weight. You can cook meat dishes with fresh vegetables, but homemade food takes time and knowledge about the right foods to avoid deficiencies.
If you buy industrial food, it’s important to choose high-quality ingredients. Kibbles include all the essential nutrients for his health according to his physiology, his age and his activity. However, they are not all the same, it is better to avoid the low-end ones and to turn to brands sold by the veterinarian who will direct you to grain-free kibbles. Moreover, dog food is developed in close collaboration between food experts and veterinarians.
Humans like to vary their food, so your cats and dogs will appreciate a tasty wet food that will awaken their taste buds and prevent them from getting bored. The latter is a good choice for a cat, as it drinks little and finds liquid. You can also offer him cat food that is not perishable and it is necessary to put a bowl of water right next to it. By monitoring his weight, you dose his ration at noon and evening while leaving him his kibbles available all day long, because a cat can eat up to 16 times a day. A dog needs two meat-based rations to ensure that his body develops in good conditions. The kibble dispenser will help you adjust the recommended rations.
In conclusion, for the health of your companion, it is necessary to provide him with food of animal origin. By approaching your veterinarian, you will get good advice for your pet, regardless of its breed, age and pathology. Often, the doctor will suggest kibble dispensing toys so that an indoor cat can eat while having fun and exercising. Finally, it is possible to combine dry and wet food to offer a healthy and complete bi-nutrition.