Can breed hamsters with racing mice
Can you feed vegan pets?
Some pets, including rabbits and guinea pigs, are naturally vegan. Hamsters and gerbils, while omnivorous, can also thrive on a vegan diet where the protein content is supplied by plants and vegetables. Others, including dogs, are omnivores or carnivores, such as cats, who cannot easily be fed a meat-free diet.
All animals must meet their nutritional needs. But that doesn't mean you can't have a vegan dog. Vegan cats, on the other hand, are much more problematic.
Can my dog be given a vegan diet?
If you were facing an animal for the first time and needed to make an accurate assessment of its eating habits, one look at its teeth would provide you with many clues. A dog's dentition, like a bear's, announces loudly and clearly that this animal is an omnivore - that is, one that eats both meat and vegetables. Thinking of your dog as a domesticated wolf will give you a good idea of its natural diet.
But as the panda proves, a supposed carnivore can sometimes get along quite well with a vegan diet. The panda's teeth are similar to those of any other bear - long canines for meat-eating and molars for chopping up plants. And yet pandas do not eat anything other than bamboo. So if a bear can be vegan, does that mean you can have a vegan dog too?
Answer is yes - but it's a yes with a lot of the fine print! A dog needs a diet that contains fats and proteins that would be found in meat. It is dangerous to ignore this basic need and just feed your pet what you want. For dogs with sensitive stomachs, a low-fat, high-fiber diet can lead to potentially life-threatening problems. Meatless diets should never be introduced without consulting a professional canine nutritionist.
The collagen, elastin and keratin contained in meat cannot easily be replaced by vegetable equivalents. Your dog will also need the “long chain” omega-3 fats found in animal products such as eggs, fish, and some meats. Vegan omega-3 fats are not the same as those obtained from animals.
All of this is usually a headache for vegan dog owners. However, there are products that are claimed to provide a dog with a healthy, meatless life. Before you take this step, it is important to obtain professional, scientific advice. A compromise is usually the best choice here - a vegan diet supplemented with some animal-derived essentials. Crickets, for example, can provide many of the amino acids and keratin that a vegan diet lacks, and they're 65% protein.
Can I feed my cat vegan?
With cats, a compromise is even more important. They are some of the real carnivores in the world and get all their food needs from other animals.
The biggest challenge in reducing the amount of meat in a cat's diet is that, unlike many mammals (including dogs), cats cannot make certain proteins on their own. You need to absorb these from the meat and fish in your diet. Amino acids are another problem - cats who do not get enough of the animal-derived amino acid taurine usually have some type of heart problem.
Fortified vegan cat food cannot be recommended with a clear conscience either. Turn the situation on its head and try to imagine switching a rabbit to a meat-only diet and you understand the challenge - and ethical concerns - involved.
Some laboratory-bred “meat” products are already being developed for vegan and vegetarian cat owners, but whether these will hit the market anytime soon - and stay there - is difficult to predict.
For many vegan pet owners, feeding the animals they share their living space with is a huge ethical issue. But ethics also include the needs of the animal, and in cats this is a problem that is almost insoluble. If you are able to reduce but not eliminate the meat in your cat's diet, this is a far safer alternative.
The 10 best pets for vegan households
There are of course many other pets who do not eat meat or who eat some meat but still get along well with a meat-free diet. Here are our ten favorites:
1. Rabbit. There are no problems here - rabbits are happy vegans, with a diet based on hay and vegetables. One could argue that the soft pellets they eject and then eat are some sort of animal product, but they are just half-digested vegetation.
2. guinea pigs. Like rabbits, these wonderful little animals thrive on a 100% vegan diet.
3. Hamsters. Since most hamster owners feed their animals commercial hamster food, they may not know exactly what the ingredients in this food are. However, vegetarian and vegan hamster food is also available.
4. Gerbils. Like hamsters, gerbils are omnivores and get along well with a vegan diet. They tend to have sensitive stomachs, so feeding them a high-quality pellet mix is important. Too much fresh food can cause problems
5. Mice. Although they will eat pretty much anything in the wild, mice can also live and thrive vegan; however, it is best to use a feed mix specially prepared for them. This ensures that they are not lacking any of the vitamins and minerals they need.
6. rats. They're the omnivores among rodents, but as long as you feed them a vegan mix that has been fortified with all of the nutrients they need, they will thrive. In fact, rats that eat too much animal fat tend to gain weight and die prematurely.
7. Chickens. When you watch a free range chicken, you quickly realize that it will eat everything - grass, bugs, worms, and everything in your vegetable patch if you are not careful! Most chicken feed mimics this mix of plant and animal ingredients. It is possible to buy vegan chicken feed, however, and there is evidence to suggest that chickens can do well with it. However, they will likely produce fewer eggs, and you won't be able to stop them from scratching for worms and bugs, no matter how vegan the laying pellets are!
8. Budgies and parrots. For vegans there are no obstacles with budgies and parrots, unless the birds are to be used for breeding. Egg hatching female birds need a boost of protein, which is usually provided via egg-based food or cooked meat. But there are also vegan alternatives.
9. Finches. Many species of finches enjoy beetles and mealworms as treats, but these are not an integral part of an adult finch's diet. These birds feed on a mixture of seeds and fresh vegetables.
10. Something for reptile fans. When you think of snakes and lizards, you likely have a picture of dead mice or crickets in mind. However, there are some commonly kept pet reptiles that are 100% vegan, with the green iguana being the most popular. Proper proportion of vegetables is very important for the health of the animal, but meat is certainly something that you shouldn't have to worry about.
There's no shortage of choice when it comes to vegan pets. However, keeping a vegan cat or dog is a much more difficult endeavor. And with all animals, a balanced diet that meets the animal's nutritional needs should be your ultimate goal.
This entry was posted in feed
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