This seems to be a question on many pet owners’ minds these days, especially with the global tendency for humans to prefer a vegetarian diet.

The short answer is NO but let’s have a look why.

Herbivore, Omnivore or Carnivore:

Science is clear on this point and the dog’s anatomy and physiology clearly indicates that the species (dogs) are categorised as Carnivores.  There is no scientific evidence that shows or indicates that the dog is an Omnivore or Herbivore, there are only theories from mostly dog food manufacturers that want to justify their products for commercial gain without any evidence.

So, dogs are carnivores and therefore  should be fed a biologically appropriate diet for optimal health which is prey animals consisting of meat, organs and bone.

What will happen to dogs fed a Vegan or Vegetarian Diet:

There is no gentle way of saying this, simply put, they WILL DIE PREMATURELY due to a lack of nutrition needed for carnivores, this nutrition can only be gained fully from raw meat (Cooking meat destroys much needed nutrients including enzymes).  Imagine feeding an herbivore like horses, cows, rabbits etc. only meat, so why would anyone want to feed a carnivore only vegetarian meals.  My feeling is that any humans producing, selling or feeding vegan meals to their dogs should be arrested for animal cruelty as you are killing your dog.

Please I urge you, do not project your personal preference of diet onto your dog,  as their anatomy and physiology and nutritional needs is much different from that of humans.  We have quite a few vegan clients who buy meat from us for their dogs and I applaud them and any other people prepared to give a naturally appropriate raw diet to their dogs.

Here is a short story from Doctor. Martin Goldstein who owns one of the biggest Holistic Pet centres in the world and is renowned for his work all over the world.

Quoted out of his book The Nature of Animal Healing:

“Specifically, they need more protein and calcium than a vegetarian diet can provide- which is also to say more protein and calcium than humans need.  Because dogs and cats are carnivores.

If I’d had any doubts that pets should eat meat, they were dispelled some time ago by a visit from several vegans.  Vegetarians in the extreme, vegans will not touch any products connected in any way with living creatures.  So, no dairy products for them, not even yogurt; no soups or sauces made with chicken or beef bouillon; and no fish (or caviar!).  The vegans arrived at my clinic one day with their eight-and-a-half-year-old shepherd mix, names-guess-what-Vegan.  And of course, Vegan had been raised on a strict vegan diet.  Unfortunately, she was dying of mammary cancer.  I asked the vegans exactly what they were feeding Vegan, and to me it sounded great.  But in addition to her cancer, Vegan the dog was acting so aggressively-lunging at me with intent to kill, or at least bite-that the diet appeared to have damaged her emotional state as well as her physical being.  “Your diet sounds great,” I said, “but something’s wrong here, because if it was properly balanced for Vegan, I don’t think she’d be dying or trying to kill me.”

I tested Vegan’s blood for its immune protein content and was shocked by how high it was.  You might think, when a disease like cancer takes hold, that protein levels in the blood would drop, but that’s not the case.  The protein level goes up because the body’s immune system, working improperly, doesn’t efficiently use these immune proteins.  Since the body isn’t using protein as it should, the immune system begins to drain protein from the muscles instead.  Diseases like cancer and AIDS are typically “wasting diseases” because as the body saps the muscles of protein, the muscles waste away.  It helps, at least, to give the wasting-disease patient red meat, because it contains protein that the body can recognize and use, thus allaying the wasting process.

“If this dog doesn’t get some meat as soon as possible,” I told the vegans, “she will die.”

But the vegans wouldn’t permit that.  Their only concession was to allow injections of specifically isolated, naturally occurring immunological protein from healthy donor dogs.  Vegan wouldn’t actually be eating the protein, they rationalized, and another animal was not being killed to produce them.  They left as a group by car for Florida, and called me a day or two later from Virginia:  Vegan had gotten really weak.  “Come on, guys,” I pleaded with them.  “Give this dog some protein.”  At last, they bought her a can of red-meat dog food-and Vegan roused herself to attack it.  Still, the protein came too late.

Within another day, Vegan was dead.”


Veterinary books listed below classify dogs as carnivores.

Reference: Introduction to Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology

Author 1: Victoria Aspinall BVSc MRCVs (Principal, Abbeydale Veterinary Training, Gloucester, UK)

Author 2: Melanie O’Reilly BSc(Hons) Zoology PGCE VN (Lecturer, College of Animal Welfare, Potters Bar, London, UK)