The pros and cons of a vegetarian diet for dogs

Die Vor- und Nachteile einer vegetarischen Ernährung für Hunde - HenArt® | Nachhaltiges Tierfutter für Hund und Katze
According to Statista, almost 8 million of all Germans do not eat meat. That's 10 percent of the country's entire population who opt out of meat and fish, and in some cases, all animal by-products.

Some do this for health reasons. Others for ethical or religious reasons. However, there are pros and cons to going vegetarian or vegan - and so do the pets whose owners choose to eat it.

Benefits of a vegan or vegetarian diet for dogs

The good news for everyone who wants to feed their dog vegetarian or vegan? It is possible. And if your dog suffers from allergies, this could be the answer to part of his affliction, too.

After fleas, the most common cause of skin allergies in dogs is a food allergy - often to a meat protein such as beef, chicken or lamb. Eating a meat-free vegetarian or vegan diet could eliminate these problems—and other medical problems like liver disease and kidney stones. It also reduces the carbon footprint that is left behind. As long as you carefully monitor your furry friend's nutrient intake in consultation with their veterinarian and provide a balanced diet, a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle is a viable option. However...

Disadvantages of a vegetarian or vegan diet

A vegetarian or vegan diet has its pitfalls - and can even be dangerous.

Before changing your dog's diet, consult a veterinarian who is knowledgeable about special diets, and make sure your dog visits the vet more often to catch any problems early on.

It might seem harmless to share dietary habits with your dog (we're both omnivores, after all), but the reality is that humans and dogs are very different creatures with very different needs. If these are not met, the consequences can be harmful - or even fatal.

If you're planning on breeding your dog, a vegetarian or vegan diet is a no go - so plan ahead. If you decide to give your dog an alternative diet, make sure that you buy food whose nutrient content is recognized by the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL).
And of course, a well-intentioned vegetarian or vegan diet is useless if your dog doesn't eat it (or not in sufficient quantities) and suffers from a lack of essential nutrients - again, this requires careful monitoring and regular check-ups.

Store-bought vs. homemade dog food

You have the choice! Dog parents who have decided to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle for their furry friends should ensure that the food has all the necessary nutrients. This is exactly what is given with our vegetarian food .

And for those interested in a DIY approach? Vegan blogger Lindsay Nixon feeds her pugs a balanced bowl of beans or lentils with finely chopped raw veggies, pumpkin or squash, and brown rice. PETA offers a tasty peanut butter option with rice and quinoa, lentils, sweet potatoes, peanut butter, and supplements to fill in the gaps.


A vegetarian or vegan diet is possible but requires much more effort to ensure the dog is eating a healthy, balanced diet that will lead to a healthy and balanced life. The decision should not be taken lightly and should be well thought out and justified - but ultimately it is an option to consider together with the vet (and of course the dog).

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