Vegan Animal Feed: Veterinarian Opinion
Recently, vegan animal feeds have become increasingly popular. However, do not rush to chase the fashion - this can damage the health of your pet.
For people, veganism is a personal choice, and it is good if it is conscious. No one offers animals a choice. And cats and dogs are predators, and should eat accordingly. After all, the digestive tract of herbivores and carnivores varies greatly. In order for cats and dogs to function normally, they need a sufficient amount of animal protein.
What is the difference between herbivores, omnivores and carnivores?
Herbivores (sheep, cows, etc.) have adapted to eating plants, which means they successfully digest carbohydrates and other substances of plant origin. These animals have a number of features:
- The digestive tract is long - it exceeds the length of the body by almost 10 times. They have a much longer and better developed intestines than carnivores.
- The molars are flat and rectangular. This makes it possible to perfectly grind and grind the plants. The mouth is relatively small, but the lower jaw moves to the sides, which is important when chewing plants.
- Saliva contains enzymes for the digestion of carbohydrates (amylase). And to ensure proper mixing with this enzyme, herbivores carefully chew food.
Omnivores (bears, pigs, people, etc.) are equally digested as meat,and plant foods. So, they can eat both. The anatomical features of omnivores are characterized by the following:
- The length of the digestive tract is average. This makes it possible to digest both animal and vegetable proteins.
- The teeth are divided into fairly sharp fangs and flat molars, which allows you to both tear and grind (chew) food.
- Saliva contains amylase - an enzyme for the digestion of carbohydrates, which means that it is possible to digest starch.
Carnivores(dogs, cats, etc.) are endowed with the following anatomical abilities:
- The digestive tract is simple and short, the environment is acidic. Proteins and fats of animal origin are easily and quickly digested, and hydrochloric acid, produced by the body, facilitates the breakdown of proteins and the destruction of bacteria found in rotten meat.
- Sharp fangs are designed to kill and break prey, and not to chew on plant fibers. The shape of molars (triangles with serrated edges) allows you to act like scissors or blades, making cutting even movements. The meat can be swallowed in large pieces, torn or chopped, but not chewed, such as cereals or other plants.
- Amylase is absent in saliva, and since it is necessary for the digestion of carbohydrates, the pancreas takes its function. Therefore, plant foods in the diet of carnivores increase the load on the pancreas.
Carnivores do not chew food and do not mix it with saliva.
Given all of the above, the conclusion is clear: both dogs and cats are designed to eat meat.
As a result of long centuries of life next to a man, dogs have acquired the ability to digest not only animal food, but also products of plant origin. However, the correct diet of the dog should consist of meat for 90%, and only for 10% of plant foods (vegetables, fruits, medicinal herbs, etc.) It doesn’t matter if we are dealing with a St. Bernard, Chihuahua or German Shepherd.
On the Internet, you can find articles on converting animals to vegan food. However, in each of them it is mentioned that the pet will not like the new food right away, but at the same time, calls to be more persistent are published. However, this is animal abuse. If you offer a dog or cat a piece of meat and vegetables, they will choose meat - this is laid down at the level of genetics and instincts.
The use of vegan feeds is possible only as a special diet and exclusively as directed by a veterinarian.