Veterinary nurse reveals why she is switching her dog to a vegan diet
Long before we domesticated them and forced them to wear sweaters for our sadistic amusement, dogs were noble and deadly hunters. You only have to look at wolves, their closest living relatives, to see how brutal and savage dogs could be, but there are some things your pup's carried over from those generations.
He walks in a circle before going to sleep, he marks his territory by peeing on seemingly everything, and most commonly, he chows down on meat. Although they'll eat anything you give them, dogs are naturally carnivores, aren't they? So can you really wean a dog off meat, and have him live a long and fulfilling life?
One veterinary nurse out in Australia says the answer to that question is an emphatic yes. Sarah Dallera hails from Sydney in the land Down Under, and she's adopted an entirely plant-based diet since the year 2014. More importantly, she's decided to introduce her dog Brioche to the diet.
Whereas before, Brioche - a German Shepherd-husky hybrid - dined on cuts of meat and doggy treats galore, he now eats a much more sophisticated diet of sweet potato, lentils, chickpeas, broccoli, zucchini and more.
"In [Brioche's] dog food there is a lot of quinoa, there's broccoli, a lot of types of fruit, and she has some hemp seeds which are really full of protein," explains the 36-year-old, who's worked as a veterinary nurse for over a decade, but had no idea that dogs could live on a vegan diet.
After seeing how the meat industry treats animals, Sarah didn't want to be a part of the problem any longer, and she wanted to see Brioche follow suit.
For the most part, dogs (and many other animals) are okay on a completely plant-based diet, but the challenge, much like with people, is getting enough protein in their diets. Without enough calcium, protein or Vitamin D, Brioche runs the risk of jeopardising his health with kidney problems, but Sarah does her best for her pup.
As more and more people adopt a plant-based diet, plant-based pet diets are becoming more and more popular, and Dr Michael Fox, a veterinarian as well as former president of the US Humane Society, says that such a diet is viable, but urged caution before we throw out all of the meat-based doggy treats.
"Dogs have evolved to a degree, but they've been with us 45,000 years as camp followers, scavengers, village dogs in the third-world countries and they'll eat just about anything. But then again, we don't have the real science to back up whether it's safe enough, so, for dogs' sake, we need to adopt the cautionary principle."
So, there you have it. While your dog is probably going to go for the sausage links instead of the soybean curd, with enough love, care and patience, you can help your furry friend adopt a vegan diet that'll give him everything he needs, and help the planet and its meat consumption in the process.