With National Vegetarian Week now in full flow celebrating all things vegetarian, some have asked the question, what about pets and a vegetarian diet?
Is it ethical to impose a vegetarian diet on your pet? And if so, is it healthy? The health issue much more straightforward for dogs than cats as they are omnivores whereas cats are absolute carnivores, and get all nutrition from meat.
However, a study carried out in 2006 found that the 34 vegetarian cats it examined were healthy. One of the biggest risks for cats is the risk of taurine deficiency, which can lead to blindness. Whilst another essential nutrient for cats found in meat is arachidonic. Both these nutrients can be bought as supplements.
Even animal rights organisations are unsure whereas others would favour the move. Many would recommend lowering your pets meat intake by changing their diet to half vegetarian, half meat.
Many pet owners will be up in arms about this issue. You may hear, ‘It’s not natural and it’s unfair to the dog or cat’. That being said, Pet food is not regulated in the same way human food is and permitted additives covers a multitude of sins including 4000 chemicals and artificial colours banned from human consumption.
If you do decide to give your cat or dog a vegetarian diet, do your homework first and consult a vet if you have any concerns about your pets health.
Whether you give your pets a vegetarian diet or not, make sure you cover your pets with E & L Insurance. E & L offer excellent, comprehensive and low cost pet insurance to cater for all your pet’s needs. Visit www.eandl.co.uk/pet for an online quote today.