Vegan and vegetarian dogs are on the rise in New Zealand as more pet parents turn to meat-free food as the sustainability of meat continues to draw concern, local news source Stuff reports.
While conventional dog foods make use of parts of animals – often byproducts like tissues and organs – there are options for pet parents who opt to feed their companion a meat-free diet.
“For an increasing number – small – but an increasing number of pet owners, they are realising that they want to be vegetarian or even vegan,” animal nutrition expert Nick Cave of Massey University explained. “And on that basis they want their pets to be vegetarian or vegan.
“It is increasingly the case that our pet food industry – which is essentially a waste disposal stream – is increasingly competing for the very same ingredients that people consume,” Cave continued. “It is my very strong belief that not only can we, but we should, and probably will need to in the very near future, start feeding an awful lot of alternative protein sources to our beloved pets.”
Can Dogs Be Vegan?
According to multiple expert sources, canines are obligate omnivores, meaning it is possible for them to obtain the necessary nutrition on a plant-based diet. However, Cave believes that current options could be made better. As long as the dog is able to obtain the right balance of nutrients from their food, they can live a healthy life.
“There is certainly a lot more interest for people concerned about pollution, the environment,” said Jerel Kwek, CEO of Addiction Foods, a supplier of vegetarian dog food. “We have proven over the years that it works, through clinical trials and case studies around the world.”
Other makers of vegan dog food include Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Pet Food, Halo, V-Dog, and Evolution. Biotech startup Wild Earth aims to make protein-rich plant-based dog food using koji, a type of fungi used to make products like soy sauce and sake.
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