Veterinarian and vegan pet food expert Dr. Armaiti May spoke at the World Vegan Summit and Expo to address common questions regarding plant-based diets for dogs and cats. "What we feed our companion animals is an ethical dilemma," she says, referring to the inconsistency between loving some animals and consuming others. Luckily, as she discusses in her talk, healthy, cruelty-free options are available for our pets.
Dr. May was raised vegetarian and went vegan in college after reading Diet for New America. Her values helped shape her career as a veterinarian. She believes that if a healthful vegan diet can be provided, it should be.
"Dogs are biologically omnivorous but can thrive on a balanced plant-based diet, " she says. "Animals do have requirements for nutrients, but not necessarily ingredients." She recommends choosing an AAFCO-approved food to ensure that nutrient guidelines are met.
The health benefits of a vegan diet are tremendous. Dr. May points out that meat products like chicken and beef are common allergens, causing a host of skin issues in dogs. Not to mention that the "meat" found in commercial pet foods contains byproducts like diseased animal parts, beaks, and bones -- all junk deemed unfit for human consumption -- and even euthanized dogs and cats. Not surprisingly, recalls are common in these foods. Bacterial contamination is also a concern, as are degenerative diseases like cancer and arthritis.
Dr. May also touches on some of the common myths regarding plant-based pet food.
Well...maybe it is. But so is having pets in the first place, bringing them into your home, and providing them with veterinary attention like surgeries, vaccines, and medication. Dogs and cats may hunt in the wild, but they aren't exactly taking down a cow or a tuna. The point is, we as a society reevaluate our way of living given the current circumstances, and "natural" is a subjective term. "We have to look at the whole picture," Dr. May says. "What are we doing to this planet? How much water does it take to produce meat? It's astronomical. We don't want to have to continue to support this practice that involves taking the lives of animals, who are sentient beings, to feed our own animals."
"This is absurd," Dr. May counters. "What's cruel is what is happening to factory farmed animals." Given that billions of animals are raised, confined, and slaughtered each year for our consumption, providing our pets with a balanced plant-based diet is a win-win.
Interested in learning more? Dr. May provides veterinary house calls and phone consultations through her website, veganvet.net.
V-dog is a vegan owned and operated dog food company providing the healthiest plant-based kibble and treats for your dog. We work with a team of veterinarians, including Dr. May herself, to ensure that all the nutritional needs of your pup are met. Since 2005, v-dog has seen thousands of dogs of all shapes and sizes thrive on our plant-based diet.
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Source: Benevolent Vegan
Image credit: Cows with Hearts