A vegetarian diet for dogs is safe - but what you don't know may kill him.

Vegetarian Diet for Dogs

A vegetarian diet for dogs and even for cats is becoming more popular. More people are choosing a non-meat diet for themselves and for their animals, as well.

Most Americans believe that their dogs need meat for sufficient protein. However, dogs are omnivores. My dog, Jack, loves his vegetables and gets abundant amino acids in his vegetarian diet to meet the recommended protein requirements for his health. I've just transitioned him to a vegetable-grain based diet because I want him around for many years. His commercial dog food also supplies plenty of his other required nutrients and contains no preservatives.

For special treats, Jack gets snacks of whatever fruit or vegetables I'm eating. He loves bite size pieces of carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, apple, or pear, but not celery or lettuce. Pieces of a slice of whole wheat bread are another favorite for him.

Warning! This is a true story. Please don't do this to your dog! A fatty food can kill!

We have to be careful with Jack's diet. Years ago, he almost died from eating vegetables sauteed in butter. A few hours after eating them, he vomited a couple of times and then the third time there was pink frothy substance mixed in. It was blood. I called the vet who told me to rush Jack to a 24 hour emergency clinic an hour's drive away.

When we arrived, the vet asked for symptoms and as I described them, my wonderful Jack, hurled about two cups of pink frothy emesis at her feet. She was suitably impressed and immediately began treatment for hemorrhagic pancreatitis. (The pancreas is an accessory organ for digestion generally known for insulin production...and far too often, cancer in humans.) Jack's pancreas was inflamed and bleeding and he was very sick. The vet warned me he might die and if he lived he was vulnerable to reccurance.

The other thing the vet told me was that every year during the holidays, veterinarians see "lots of dogs" who were fed high fat treats from the holiday table. Most often she mentioned ham scraps/fat was the culprit although other high fat foods contributed. Please use caution if you do feed your dog or puppy from your table.

(In contrast to Jack, the sweet dog of my childhood family, Taffy, ate everything with no difficulty. She was a mutt and served as our best animal friend, as well as the four legged garbage disposal for my Great Depression era mother who wasted nothing.)

Jack has been on a low fat diet for years with no more fatty occurrances. Now he's enjoying his own vegetarian diet for dogs. He's about 13 years old and going strong. Please keep looking. I'm going to get his picture on the top of this page.

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