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Hello Lenka and congrats on being a vegetarian. The post is now almost a year old but still of interest. Would love to have your feedback on this.
Excellent question because if one is vegetarian / vegan for ethical reasons : against the objectification of animals, compassion, etc. then keeping a carnivorous pet means still participating in the meat industry and exploitation of sentient beings and animal genocide for the personal pleasure of keeping a pet companion.
Besides the risk of participating voluntarily or not to the horrific conditions of breeding business and yet more objectification.
Now, dogs and cats which are now domestic animals have evolved from their wild cousins due to domestication.
One of the changes being in the diet.
Clearly wild felines don't eat the same as domestic feline. Wolves (ancestors of dogs) and domestic dogs also do not eat the same as wild undomesticated species from wolf/canine family.
For instance, it is proved how domestication has changed ear shapes from erected to droopy.
Domestication means changes. Maybe diet is one of these changes. So I would not feel bad about feeding my pet a vegetarian or vegan diet adapted to its needs.
I have no pets as of today but intend to rescue some from shelters when I have a larger accomodation. So I thought about it. Many testimonies on the net of pet owners which are exactly the same as for humans : amazed veterinaries that the pet is doing extremly well on vegan diet and even not displaying ailments typical to a specific breed or aging pet.
Done some research on the net and there are dog owners who did some good research in collaboration with their vets to find veg diet appropriate for dogs comfort (gastro intestinal tract, etc.), nutrients, etc.
Seems they found the right way, the dogs are doing fine and are in better health for some of them than the average dog fed the average diet of pet food.
As usual it's a question of balance and being able to listen to your pet companion.
I would not try to force a vegan diet on any animal that naturally hunts prey to survive. It is ridiculous. Nature has set the precedent for their diets already. Just because you domesticate an animal doesn't mean you have the right to force you ideas and preferences on them. They depend on us to feed them and to make the correct choices for them. You will do more harm than good if you do not feed your dogs and cats a good high protein pet food.. That doesn't mean that you cannot supplement it with veggies (SAFE veggies) They cannot eat nor should they eat many fruits and vegetables. Please do your research before feeding people food to animals.
Dogs and cats are natural meat eaters and it is an important part of their diet. Also, I don't believe you should push views onto anybody - human or otherwise. Animals are not property and you cannot push your lifestyle upon them and control them as though they are. I have heard there is veggie dog food you can get that is good for dogs and some actually like it, but whether they would chose it for themselves over their natural diet is doubtful.
I do not believe in forcing human choices upon carnivore animals and I would never force any meat eating animals to go vegetarian. Unless for some reason they actually didn't like meat and wanted to be veggie themselves after trying the food.
Cats are a completely different story to dogs as well and it can be seriously dangerous depriving them of meat. I worked at a vets and we had vegans who tried to deprive their cats of their natural food to make them veggies, and almost killed them (and they actually got the cats given back to them with no consequences, which I was horrified about.) It is definitely not safe for cats to be vegetarian at all. If you want a vegetarian animal, go for something like a rabbit or a guinea pig.