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From: Keith ( -
Subject: Re: I don't have the courage to use vegan dog food
Date: November 24, 2010 at 8:38 pm PST

In Reply to: I don't have the courage to use vegan dog food posted by sardi on November 19, 2010 at 3:54 am:

You can't do better than Jo's advice - see the link below.

There is no right or wrong answer to this. It is one of those ethical dilemmas that each vegan needs to judge for themselves. The only wrong answer is to insist that there is only one right answer.

We don't currently have a dog, but when we did, we fed her commercial meat-based dog food. Here is our reasoning...

Dogs are carnivores. While dogs are generally more flexible in their ability to digest different foods than cats are, they still evolved to obtain most of their nutrients from meat.

Genetically, dogs are highly variable. (Compare a chihuahua with an Irish wolfhound, for example) There is likely to be considerable variation among individual dogs in their ability to digest vegan foods. The variability likely spans the entire range, from dogs that can be healthy on a vegan diet to those that cannot tolerate plant-based foods.

The question was, how could we find out where our dog fit on that spectrum? And the answer is that we could not safely do the experiment. If our dog was one that would be harmed by a vegan diet, then trying to find out would have compromised her health.

The effects of malnutrition can be slow and insidious. While an animal may appear to be doing well on a vegan diet, what are the long-term effects? How could we know whether or not we were causing some horrible effect that would only show up years later?

For these reasons, we concluded that it would be wrong to risk our canine dependent's health just to satisfy our own squeamishness. Left to her own devices, she would have chosen to eat squirrels and gophers. As the suppliers of her food, we felt we had an obligation to provide her with the equivalent.

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