LOOKING for: feeding pets

sally-miFebruary 2, 2001

i have stopped eating meat as of a week ago. haven't been much of a meat eater in the last few years, i have just decided that i don't want to eat animals anymore. i was wondering what do you feed your pets? i have cats, dogs, a goat, chickens(for eggs only), and a duck. thanks, sally.

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Dogs are omnivores(like us) & may do fine on a veggie diet, but cats are carnivores & won't.Goats are herbivores, but chickens & ducks are not - if they're living outdoors, they're gonna eat insects.

Try this site for more info...

Here is a link that might be useful: Vegsource - animals

    Bookmark   February 3, 2001 at 10:50PM
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JaniceP MA

While I'm certainly not an expert on canine or feline nutrition, I have studied this subject because I decided I wanted to make the food that I feed my dogs and I needed to know as much as possible to make sure that they got the nutrition they need.
Dogs and cats CAN (and do) eat grains and vegetables, but they are primarily carnivores - grains and veggies are a 'side dish' that they don't metabolize very well. Their bodies are designed to assimilate and metabolize meat.
Their teeth are designed for processing and digesting meat carcasses (I won't get into detail here..) They have very short intestines - food moves through their digestives systems within an hour. This is why they are not as susceptible to salmonella, parasites, or e-coli from tainted meat as humans are (humans have very long digestive tracks which allow food to 'linger' for 24 hours or more, thus allowing more time for parasites to get into their bloodstreams).
Dogs/cats cannot digest vegetables and grains unless they are finely pureed - the cell structure of of these items is tough and there is just not enough time in the intestines for nutrient absorption. Therefore, to put your dogs and cats on a strictly vegetarian diet could effectively starve them. Vegetables and grains cannot provide the fatty acids, proteins, and enzymes that their bodies need to thrive.
While humans can thrive quite well on a vegetarian diet, I would suggest that you not force your pets to follow suit without a great deal of research into their dietary needs.
Best of luck in your research!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2001 at 6:56PM
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From my understanding, there are vegetarian dogs and dogs that love to snack on veggies BUT, cats must have meat.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2001 at 2:52PM
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Just browsing and I had to reply!If you REALLY like your goat, chicken and duck, I would recommend just buying commercial dog /cat food. They are designed to eat meat and even though they may take to eating vegetables, keep your vegetarian animals seperate..TRUST ME on this one. They will 'turn' on them in order to eat. I was stupid and thought since my animals were eating veggies and grains they were ok. Come home one day and my yard was filled with vegetarians under and in the mouths of the carnivores.(All my dogs and cats were kicked off the property VERY shortly after that.)Carnivorous animals don't fit my lifestyle so I only have herbavores,it is MUCH nicer in my opinion.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2001 at 8:19AM
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What goes into pet food is pretty appalling from a human consumption standpoint. However, cats need taurine (an amino acid) that's only obtainable from meat. Dogs and people manufacture it themselves but cats don't. Even the hard-core vegans I know feed their cats meat. There is a pet supplement that contains taurine but it's stil not advisable to feed them 100% vegetarian food. They simply will suffer.

I'm a vegetarian. Many animals are not. It's their nature to eat meat. Some of those animals are my pets. I can chose whether I would rather give a home and love to those animals, and accept them for what they are, or I can chose to not have them. I love my cats and can't see not having them just because they're carnivores, but that's my choice. No, I don't let them lose to hunt and kill, and I'm careful about what I feed them, but I accept that my cats need meat.

I also love wild birds, and have watched a hawk catch and kill and eat another bird. It's what they do to survive, and it doesn't disgust me. It's part of their world. I love nature, & I can accept their way.

There's a huge difference between what animals do in the wild and what people do to obtain meat, and I can't accept how we treat animals to get meat, so I don't eat it. I think it's important to remember that it's very difficult not to do harm in the world, no matter what your choices are. Even as a vegetarian, and trying to organically raise as much of my own food as possible, my choices still cause damage. Any non-organic food or natural fiber in clothing is the result of a crop that was sprayed with pesticides that caused the death of thousands of insects - harmful AND beneficial ones - and ferilizers in soil that contribute to the "death" of that soil. It's not a simple path to follow and there are no answers that cause no harm. My path is to cause as little deliberate suffering as possible, and I've given up things I like and enjoy to that end, but nothing is simple. It's hard to decide exactly where to draw the line, I've really struggled with a lot of these issues, and I'll be the first to agree that my choices aren't all 100% suffering-less - but no one's are.

When making decisions about what to eat/not eat, what to support, think through your reasons for doing this carefully. That will help guide you in how to make some difficult choices.

People become vegetarians/vegans for a lot of reasons, but one of those is political, and to that end there is a lot of information floating around about animals and animals products that comes in the form of propaganda - to bolster a cause, without always being completely truthful. Sometimes it's written with just enough factual information to ring true, but there are sometimes big gaps in the information, and a lot of what you might hear simply isn't true in all cases.

I'm not bashing anyone's choices or stance, simply trying to point out that in this "information age" there's a lot of...

    Bookmark   April 26, 2001 at 10:35AM
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Angel is absolutely correct about the taurine for cats. It is essential for both eye and heart health. Cats are what is termed obligate carnivores. They must have meat as a part of their diet. Also, if you were to feed dog food to your cat, it would have a similar detrimental effect.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2001 at 11:02AM
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Anybody here give their cats RAW meat - chicken and fish - from the supermarket? I heard this is good for them.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2001 at 11:41AM
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My cats get cat food (Prescription Diet from my vet). The dogs get dog food (Purina). I am vegetarian by my own choice and I don't try to push it on others (including my pets). I also heard cats can not survive without meat. I've never heard if raw meat is or is not good for animals. My husband hunts and the dogs do get some raw meat when he is processing the animal he killed. I haven't noticed it having any effect on them.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2001 at 6:56PM
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Raw chicken (the wings are best) and meat is OK for both cats and dogs. Both MUST have meat in their diet. Vets recommend the raw chicken wings as beneficial to the teeth, as are of course raw meaty bones. If you think about it, have you ever noticed a dog or a cat cooking their dinner?? They just haven't evolved that far yet. And my idea of Hell is to be confined in a closed room with a large group of vegetarians - animal or human - the emission of gas is incredible! Humans aren't designed for a diet without meat, either, though we can survive without it. Which is not the same as LIVING, is it? But... each to his/her own!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2001 at 7:54AM
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I don't think it's right to impose our "values" on animals. In my book, that's as cruel as many of the inhumane actions animal rights groups are looking to eradicate! Dogs and cats are carnivors -- they would not have survived otherwise. To impose our limitations on them because of human moral choices is, in my opinion wrong. I'ts another form of oppression. We have domesticated dogs and that has done enough harm to the species. If we try to turn canines into vegetarians, then we'll have totally mutated them and turned them into something they were not meant to be. If your feelings are so strong that you can not abide feeding meat to your carnivor companions, then you ought not to keep those animals who eat meat. I would suggest you read the book "Give the dog a Bone" by Dr. Ian Billinghurst, DMV. Our dogs and cats love us unconditionally -- regardless of what we eat. They deserve the same respect in return..

    Bookmark   August 31, 2001 at 4:11PM
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"Our dogs and cats love us unconditionally -- regardless of what we eat. They deserve the same respect in return." BRAVO, Alex! Angel and Janice are totally correct as well. If you still don't believe everyone, please go to your local veterinarian and talk with him or her.

Or better yet, contact the U.C. Davis Veterinary Hospital in Davis, California. They are a veterinary teaching hospital that I have had dealings with in the past and are a wonderful group of KNOWLEDGEABLE and CARING individuals who have dedicated their lives to caring for animals and their welfare. In 1997, they were rated the NUMBER ONE Veterinary Teaching Hospital in the WORLD, not just the U.S. They can give you the most up-to-date and unbiased opinion on what is good for your pets because that is what they are all about. Please don't let your pets suffer nutritionally just because you no longer care to eat meat. They deserve better than that.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2001 at 7:07PM
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If humans were "designed" to eat meat, wouldn't we have sharper teeth to tear flesh like cats and dogs and true carnivores? We wouldn't need knives then, would we?
Our teeth are designed to chew grains and veggies, and our digestive tract needs fiber to get things moving (not found in meat). Dogs' and cats' systems do not need low fat, high fiber foods like we do.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2001 at 1:47PM
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By the way, my veterinarian recommends feeding your pets Science Diet as it is one of the best and most nutritionally balanced pet foods on the market. That is what I feed my cats and my dog. (Science Diet Feline and Science Diet Canine for large dogs). The doctors I dealt with at U.C. Davis also recommended Science Diet as their first choice for pet food. I believe IAMS is also a good pet food, but I feed mine Science Diet. I hope you choose to do the same.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2001 at 2:05PM
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I have been a vegetarian for almost 3 years now and I have wrestled with this topic the entire time. I have two cats whom I adore. They are both 5 years old. I agree with a previous poster -- I don't want to impose my vegetarianism on my cats. I don't impose it on my husband, why should I do it with the cats? Besides, I can tell when my diet is not working for me, but my cats aren't able to tell me, "hey, I'm feeling sluggish and yukky -- how about a hunk of meat?" Sometimes you know just what your body needs, like when you are craving something like strawberries (vitamin C) or pasta (carbohydrates), but a cat can crave and crave, but will only get what we give him. Soooooo, I have continued to feed the cats what their vet recommends -- Science Diet. Oh, and a side note, we have discovered that our cat Pierre loves black beans. Any time he hears a can opening he charges through the house hoping it will be black beans! He's so funny! Our other cat Lola's junk food of choice is still tuna. I guess Pierre takes after me and Lola takes after my husband. :-)

    Bookmark   October 31, 2001 at 10:06AM
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Dogs and cats have teeth for ripping and chewing meat, short digestive systems for dealing with bacteria in raw food, and guts which completely break down raw bones. Mine get RAW bones and meat, plus vegetables & a few other things. I haven't fed commercial popular kibble (ick, gross. Unless you want your pets eating shelter carcasses, road kill, rancid restaurant grease,etc, don't even think of feeding Iams, SD, etc) in almost two years and my dogs are amazingly healthy. The cats eat kibble & cat food made from "human" grade meat. Here's a link.


Here is a link that might be useful: BARF

    Bookmark   November 16, 2001 at 6:06AM
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Janet, I don't know if you heard, but UC Davis just lost their vet school certification. Seems they were a bit out of date in equipment/facilites. My boss graduated from there years ago, and now we all tease him about him not going to "a real vet school." I'm sure they will get their certification back soon, though- they are/were an excellent school.

I can't have cats due to husband's allergies, but they are Carnivores with a Capital C. They simply cannot process non-meat. Dogs can process grains, as long as it is in the stomach of the animal they are eating. It has to be crushed up otherwise. And they need meat as well. BARF is the most natural diet for both dogs and cats. My dogs get a combo of BARF and Nutro because of DH's sudden job loss- we can't afford a lot of meat right now.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2001 at 9:48PM
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Yep, mine get raw meat...no bones, ground turkey, chicken a little beef...no pork....small amount of veggies...no rice ground very fine in a Vita mix machine...at the same time dry food is available to those who want it..
Recipes from the book "Reigning Cats & Dogs"
They must have meat...

    Bookmark   January 11, 2002 at 11:50PM
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Dear Sally,
For your dog you could try Nature's Recipe Allergy Formula/Vegetarian (be careful not to get the "/Venison"--it's usually right next to the vegetarian formula on the shelf). This dogfood is vegan. My dog has been vegan for 7 years. He's 15 now and in perfect health (not even arthritic!). My parents' 4-yr old dog is also on this food, and she's so healthy she could pull a truck.
Science Diet also had a vegetarian formula (contained eggs) but I haven't seen it in Petsmart recently. All of the vets I've been to (we've moved a lot and every state made us get a new rabies shot!) approve of my dog's diet.

In all the research I have done, I have read that dogs are omnivorous and can be perfectly healthy with a balanced vegan diet, but cats cannot (for the taurine deficiency mentioned above). If the dogfood brands mentioned above are not available to you, you can make your own, but do your research beforehand--a reputable organization like Vegetarian Resource Group (vrg.org) should be able to help you.

Regarding a few points mentioned above, my vegan dog has no blood-thirsty tendencies--he has even found fallen nestling birds and pointed them out to us so we could return them to their nests. Also, I've heard that flatulence is only a problem for new vegetarians, before their digestive tracts have adjusted to their new fare, and also that carnivores' flatulence contains sulphur, which is the source of odor. (Neither the humans nor the canines in my household are flatulent, but we don't eat a lot of brassicas!)

    Bookmark   January 19, 2002 at 8:12PM
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Dogs are carnivores. We feed them raw meat and raw bone. They are extremely healthy and digest the raw food very well.

Although dogs can eat plant products, we must remember that they are carnivores. Their digestive tract is much shorter than ours and, according to reports I've read, can't adequately digest plant materials unless they are "pulverized". (Much like the fiber that is extracted when using a juice extractor. I will give them some of this extracted fiber and they seem to digest it well.)

I don't think there is anything wrong with giving dogs or cats some plant matter or grains to eat, however, IMHO the main ingredient should be meat and bone.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2002 at 6:29AM
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