In a country where most households are vegetarians, you expect to find a lot of pets who are also vegetarians. These pets are as healthy as their non-vegetarian counterparts. In fact, some of them are even healthier than dogs who eat meat. People choose to feed their pets vegetarian or non-vegetarian food according to their own customs and beliefs. Some vegetarian households choose to hire cooks who prepare non-vegetarian meals for their pets. Some other households cannot even think of buying anything which is not vegetarian, let alone bringing it into their house. And pets are not complaining! Whoever thinks that a vegetarian diet for pets is boring, is completely wrong.
Vegetarian diets for pets are becoming increasingly popular. Dogs with kidney and liver problems are often recommended a vegetarian diet by vets. Though it may be difficult for the dog to adapt to that initially, but the uneasiness goes away after a while. After all, the first thing which our pets need is love. Food is a close second.
Let us take a look at what some proud pet parents have to say about their vegetarian pets:
Divya Sundararajan, Mumbai
A proud parent of a rescued golden Labrador named Cassey and a cat named Kitty, here is what Divya had to say about working miracles with her dog with the help of a vegetarian diet.
“Dogs’ diets has to be balanced, which is possible only when it is according to the convenience of the pet parent. Firstly, processed dog food is bad for dogs, just like how constantly eating canned food and ready-to-eat mixes are bad for us. Secondly, for a person like me who has never eaten non – vegetarian food my entire life, I cannot buy meat or fish and cook it and feed it to my dog. So I buy meat and fish based cat food for my 1.5 year old cat and cook for my dog. I have never even given milk to my cat.
“My dog Cassie, who had a skin issue when we adopted him and didn’t have half his fur, recovered completely on a vegetarian diet. He now has a beautiful coat. We mix a wide variety of pulses and soak for 7-8 hours. We then pressure cook the mix with turmeric, ginger and vegetables. After cooling the mixture, we grind it and then give it to Cassey along with boiled oats, oils (coconut, olive and cooking oil, 1 tablespoon each) and flaxseed since my dog wouldn’t chew. He also likes all fruits and vegetables like carrot, cucumber, apples, bananas etc.We also give him almonds, cashewnuts and curd on a regular basis. No onions, garlic, salt, sugar, raisins and grapes for him”
The amazing transformation of Cassey as seen in the picture should make all vegetarian pet parents proud of their choice!
There are two ways of feeding a vegetarian diet to a dog. Firstly, since the time he or she starts eating food. Secondly since you rescue him/her and bring home. All nutritional needs of dogs can be completely met with a vegetarian diet along with some supplements like Vitamin D and amino acids. A Border Collie named Bramble created the world record as the longest living dog (27 years) and he was a complete vegetarian.
Sweta Shah Kasat, Jaipur
Here is what Sweta had to say about her dogs Rozy and Zorro and their vegetarian diets.
“My pet Zorro eats everything. Pakodas, khama dhoklas, puri, bhatura, oats, vermicelli, idli and since I am from Rajasthan he also loves bajra roti n baati. He also eats paneer, suji n rice kheer though I add very less sugar. Once we got “mirchi bada” (Chilli patty) parcelled to our home and he tore off the box and started eating it! Luckily we entered the kitchen in time n stopped him from eating further. My late pomerenian Rozy loved tomatoes n cucumbers. He ate everything and lived for 14 years. Doctors were amazed when we used to take him for his routine check-up”
According to what Sweta said, there is no dearth of vegetarian food items for dogs. Be it main course or dessert, there are some very tasty choices which your dog would love to eat. No dog in the world, whether vegetarian or non-vegetarian will let go of any food item which is tasty. And I am speaking from my own experience.
My own experience
I have two rescued Indian dogs at home (none of them are vegetarian) and one of them is absolutely in love with vegetables. Her name is Kutku and she is often caught by me or my mom stealing something from the kitchen. The stolen item is usually a tomato or a potato! The first time we caught her stealing food, we thought she must have grabbed some fish bones from the dustbin. Instead she had somehow managed to open the vegetable basket and had grabbed a big red tomato! Along with potatoes and tomatoes, she also loves cucumbers, carrots and guavas. There have been times when there has been no fish or meat at home and I have given her meals which included tomato and potato. And she had finished off every meal with glee! She also loves soya nuggets and paneer.
Nidhi Singh, Gurgaon
“I have had both vegetarian and non-vegetarian diet experiences with my pets. Mickey, who was a female Spitz lived for twelve years and loved raw fruits n veggies. Peas, tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, bananas, apples, coconut and chikoo were her big time favorites. She ate everything including eggs and chicken. However, my mother being a vegetarian, no non-vegetarian food was allowed at home including eggs. My pets happily ate what was cooked at home. A simple toddler’s rule works: “Gotta eat what’s being cooked n ignore the tantrums!”.
Also, there are few vegetables and fruits that you should NOT feed your pet like Onion, Garlic, Avacado, Chocolate, Raisins, Grapes, and Mushrooms.
At Heads Up For Tails, we offer a variety of Vegetarian treats for your dog. Is your dog a Vegetarian? Share your recipes with us!
About the Author:
Romita Dey is a blogger and ardent dog lover based in Kolkata. Tweet her @darklife