Vegetarian with a dog- best dog food? - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-23-2007, 07:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just parused this thread:

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...ght=vegetarian

I am a bit torn- I realize dogs thrive with a meat based diet. I actually came here to find out which sort of dog food I should be feeding my puppy (as animal friendly as possible). It seems that most folks here think a raw diet is best. I am not *trying* to be selfish, but I really don't see myself handling meat every day.

So basically, my question is, what is the best bagged type food available for a dog (as far as animal rights and my puppy's health are concerned)?
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Old 02-23-2007, 07:46 PM
 
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You will be handling meat everyday - kibble does have meat in it (sub-par meat, diseased meat, cancerous tissue, euthanized shelter animals, etc...). As far as animal rights go, regardless of what we eat it is our responsibility to feed an animal in our care a species appropriate diet, it is your dog's right to be fed a carnivore diet since he is a carnivore - he doesn't have a choice.

I know that this can be a tough issue for vegetarians/vegans however, I have met quite a few that put their beliefs aside to feed their animals appropriately.

I would suggest joining the Yahoo group: rawfeeding
There are quite a few vegetarians on there that can help you and probably guide you more specifically since they share your core beliefs.

Good Luck!
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Old 02-23-2007, 07:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I had a feeling that was going to be the arguement...shoot....

I can try and get dp to do it I suppose. I would love any other info anyone could give though.

Is there really no such thing as a humane kibble?
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Old 02-23-2007, 07:56 PM
 
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Humane for the meat, your dog, you? Humane for your dog is feeding him raw meat just as nature intended - for him.

Human for the meat and probably you would be buying people grade food for your dog and if you can afford it/have the sources organic and patured meats (for me I can't afford organic and in southern California there are no meat farmers that I can find!).

Some of the things I feed my dog I find revolting but it's not about me so I have to figure out ways to do it!! I feed on a towel and that towel can be thrown in the washer very easily. If you can feed outside even better! I kind of blur my eyes when I offer certain things and when I pick them back up!! Once your dog is an old pro and can self-regulate you can get into a gorge/fast mode which means eating BIG meals and fasting for several days. For example: feed a 50 pound dog a whole 4 pound chicken then 4 or so days later feed again. This prevents you from having to pick up the leftovers and putting them in the fridge. I don't put my fruits and veggies in fridge drawers, I use them for the left overs.

You can do it and your dog is trusting you to make the right choice and he will be soooo happy! You won't need to bathe him (my dog hasn't had a bath in over a year) and a lot of shampoos/conditioners are made with animal products or by-products. You won't need to buy those disgusting "rawhides" (bad for dogs anyway) because they satisfy their need for chewing with their meals. There are lots of benefits!

You Can Do It!!
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Old 02-23-2007, 08:07 PM
 
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There are other ways to do it, however. Not all kibble is full of diseased meat.

I would look into some of the holistic pet care lines, such as Flint River Ranch. If you need to go a bit cheaper, there are other lines, such as Nutro Ultra. Just read the ingredients list. If you feel better about it, you might consider a fish-based food.
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Old 02-23-2007, 08:19 PM
 
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No kibble is full of diseased meat. The board overseeing the manufacture of pet food allows 4D meat; euthanized animals and any drugs that happen to have been injected/injested; excised tissue; grains unfit for human consumption (and of course grains, vegetables and fruit aren't really fit for carnivore consumption either!) - basically cooked waste (meaning rotten, not fit for humans) product from the human food chain!

Any vegetarian that I have met is reasonable and when it comes to feeding animals understand that the animal has basic needs and it is up to the humans to make the biologically appropriate choice for the animal - the animal is at their mercy.

I would think that vegetarians would want to be able to have at least some control over the meat purchsed and that is easily accomplished by choosing meat and feeding it. If fish is less offensive, by all means feed it as a dog would eat it - whole and raw.
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Old 02-23-2007, 11:10 PM
 
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\We eat a plant-based, whole-food diet (no meat, dairy, eggs, but don't worry so much about honey or leather, etc), mainly because we believe that to be the healthiest way for humans to eat. We will feed our puppy-to-be raw meat because we believe that is the healthiest way for dogs--carnivores--to eat. We've only been eating meatless/dairyless/eggless for 2 months, and ate meat before, so I'm somewhat used to handling dead animals. I might have to grit my teeth to deal with organs and tripe, but I think it's worth it to have an extremely healthy dog.

You could partially feed something like Innova Evo--canned food without grains- to minimize the amount of meat you have to handle in the beginning, and then gradually build up to all raw as you get more accustomed to it.

Good luck to you!

Heather, Mama to DS(10) DD(7.5),DD(6)
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Old 02-23-2007, 11:41 PM
 
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I am having a bit of an ethical dillema there too. I'm not veg*n, but I am quite opposed to factory farming, etc.
But on the other hand, I want to do the best I can for my dogs. And...we're broke. lol. So that's another problem.

I'd suggest, if you don't want to raw feed, to look up natural dog foods, and see what you can find that uses organic meat. Some do, I'm pretty sure. I'd think that would be a good place to start.
or you might be able to find a premixed raw that uses only organic meats, a little more easily. But then you'd have to feed it...lol

I totally understand how feeding raw would be hard for an ethical veg*n. Definitely. Some of it's even gross to me, and I eat meat (pastured, free range most of the time).

Becky, partner to Teague, SAHM to Keagan (7yo), Jonah (2yo)
 

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Old 02-24-2007, 12:24 AM
 
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I think my question would be how humane you need to get. Believe it or not, the low-quality kibbles are not any less humane than the high-quality ones--they come from the same sources in terms of feed lots and chicken farms. The healthy chickens go on to be people food and go into Flint River Ranch, etc., and the sick chickens and the offal/feet/feathers/heads from the healthy chickens go to the rendering plant and into Ol' Roy or whatever.

So if you're looking to get away from the factory farm/feedlot issue, you'll pretty much have to go raw and you'll have to get acquainted with a local slaughterhouse or raw food co-op that sells meat from grass-fed or smallholder animals. That's the only way to be sure that the meat you're getting is from non-feedlotted animals who have been allowed to walk free and so on. Unfortunately, unless you're willing to get very close to the "source"--I've sat and waited while a cow was butchered so I could take the stomach, for example--that's very expensive.

One other idea is to go for protein sources that are not raised inhumanely--Solid Gold Wolfking, for example, is made from bison and salmon. I'm pretty sure that bison is primarily grass-fed, since it's for the health/gourmet market, and salmon can be farmed but the fish are generally kept well.
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Old 02-24-2007, 01:40 AM
 
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Check Out this website . My raw feeding co-op orders from this farm. It's a small family pasture based farm, that only raises animals for raw feeding. The farmer has a section on the website where she talks about how she raises her animals and how she deals with slaughtering them. Since I owned rabbits for many years before owning my dog, it was important to me that her rabbits were raised with kindness in a natural social enviroment. I still could never feed one, just as a matter of personal preference, but I felt better about ordering from this farm. Also if you have a discomfort with "parts" you can get ground mixes with bone and organs to make the base of a diet. In wich case it's not much different than feeding a canned food. But definatly the only way to realy control the quality of life your pets food had is to know the individual farms. Afterall that's what I have to do with my own food, until organic certification stops having so many loopholes.
Also look into getting scraps from deer processors. I got tons of inexpensive ground venison for my dog. He loves it, it's super healthy, and is all scraps that hunters don't want. And in a lot of places there are severe deer overpopulation problems, so hunting is benificial in keeping down deer starvation and car accidents from deer running into roads.
Feeding a packaged food might save you some grossness, but as an ethical omni I prefer to be more concious of the sacrifice involved in feeding both my self and my dog. For me it's really important to be able to go out to my organic farm and see the beautiful animals and then purchase my meat not in ignorance of what I am eating, but in gratitude and awareness of my place in nature. Mostof the ill's off the industrial meat industry are a direct result of all those packages of boneless skinless chicken breasts that look nothing like an animal any longer. And while my dog eats much more meat than me, he makes up for all my civilized wastefulness. What to do with that chicken back, or organs? What about the defrosted meat I forgot to cook, that I'm a little nervous about? My dog is willing and eager to put it all to good use.
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Old 02-24-2007, 11:28 AM
 
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There are many people on another board I frequent who have all good things to say about Honest Kitchen I have no personal experience with it, though.
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Old 02-24-2007, 12:18 PM
 
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I've been a vegatarian for 16 years. Is it an ethical consideration or the yuck factor of meat.

I normally feed Innova, I've just yesterday switched to Innova EVO. Now I will handle meat, dh and the kids are vegetatian, but I still think it's gross.

The EVO has no grains and maybe I'm just getting old,and no longer quite as idealist but I thought "real" meat and no grain was better for them than "chicken by product".

Mom to ds 9 dd 7 : and dd 3/08 : if I can I go to
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Old 02-25-2007, 01:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by peridot83 View Post
Check Out this website

Oh my. That about made me lose my lunch...I don't know if I can do this.

I guess these are my own problems. This is making me stare in the face the fact that some animals do indeed eat other animals. I'm a vegetarian for health factors, but also because I think it's ethically wrong to eat meat. Perhaps it's the way we farm animals. I've gotten to the point now where I associate meat with death and it makes me grossed out and sad to see it. Eep.
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Old 02-25-2007, 01:47 AM
 
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Did you look at Hare Today's "About Us" page? Those rabbits are HAPPY--raised in colonies, free to roam around nice-sized stalls, treated very well. She butchers humanely too; no violence. It IS death, but it is also giving your dog what it needs to thrive.
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Old 02-26-2007, 01:01 PM
 
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She butchers humanely too
This is the biggest oxymoron ever. Taking someone else's life without their consent or severe illness is NEVER humane.


There are opinions and practices that differ from a few 'Pet Experts'. I have 2 healthy and happy vegan cats and one healthy and happy vegan dog. If fact, the cats' health has actually improved since they've been vegan. The dog's has improved too, but I'm sure that has more to do with being rescued and getting medical care and fed at all. I strongly feel that we ought to support what works best for each individual family and not tout was works best for ours as the be-all-end-all for everyone. There are many practices regarding pets that others here do that I am very directly opposed to, but I am not part of those families and all I can say is what works and doesn't work for MY family.
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Old 02-26-2007, 02:29 PM
 
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This is the biggest oxymoron ever. Taking someone else's life without their consent or severe illness is NEVER humane.
I am guessing that if you don't approve humans taking the life of rabbits or other prey animals to feed companion carnivores like dogs and cats, you really don't approve of rabbits being allowed to live in the wild. You can just go a couple posts over to see what cats think is a humane way to kill thier prey. So yes if I was a rabbit who didn't have the good fortune of being a house rabbit, I would much prefer to have a safe and happy existence followed by a quick death rather than be terrified and torn apart. As sad as it is, the only rabbits that die of old age are pets. They are predated by just about everything from house cats, to owls and coyotes. There is a reason a single pair can produce up to 300 offspring in a single year.
You're right, your pets eating a vegan diet and having a home with lots of love is a lot better than them being starved and abused. But I can't condone denying carnivorous pets the foods that thier entire biology and psychology need and crave, inorder to preserve thier owners sense of moral absolutes and identity. Plastic chew toys and vegan kibble may make you happy, but it's a sorry replacement for a real slab of ribs in your dogs eyes.
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Old 02-26-2007, 02:44 PM
 
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But I can't condone denying carnivorous pets the foods that thier entire biology and psychology need and crave, inorder to preserve thier owners sense of moral absolutes and identity. Plastic chew toys and vegan kibble may make you happy, but it's a sorry replacement for a real slab of ribs in your dogs eyes.
Good thing that my family doesn't rely on your approval for it's happiness. I do not own these animals. The cats have been offered raw meat (fish, chicken) before we found a good vegan food and one refused it while the other threw it up within minutes. My kitties are fussy, so if they like the food, that's good enough for me. Honestly, I can't really make a statement for the dog's taste preference because she doesn't actually have a preference for anything. She'll eat cat poo, packing peanuts, toilet paper, kibble, rice, probably meat (although she too threw up when someone gave her eggs) or anything else without discrimination.
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Old 02-26-2007, 03:27 PM
 
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Dogs are amazing, aren't they? They'll survive on (literally) poop. However, that doesn't mean that we don't have a responsibility to feed them the best possible food for their bodies.

It's really short-sighted to call a vegan kibble "cruelty-free" or "death-free"--all grains, and soy is a major "offender," are grown with fertilizers, and most on farms where there's a lot of butchering going on (so you're giving money to people who butcher). If you choose chemically fertilized grains and soy, you're dealing with inhumane working practices, child labor, unhealthy working conditions, and the encouragement of a culture of chemical and pesticide dependence.

Organic fertilizers are derived from blood from butchered animals, from the manure of factory-farmed and then butchered animals, and meat and bone meal directly from animal sources. Fish-based fertilizers are from scales and guts of fish.

You can't set yourself up on any sort of a "I don't use things that kill or exploit animals" high horse unless you are growing the food yourself. Using Hare Today, which feeds their animals grass hay (from Canada, grown without pesticides or fertilizer) and compressed timothy hay pellets, and then euthanizes the animals with carbon dioxide, is a LOT closer to cruelty-free than a vegan kibble, once you actually follow the food production chain. And it's much better for the dog.
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Old 02-26-2007, 03:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a thought...

Humans can live on both an omnivore or a vegetarian diet. I think what matters is that you get the nutrients you need to live (and so it doesn't matter so much what you are actually eating).

So if I fed my dog a vegetarian diet, and she got all of the nutrients that she needs to be healthy, why would that not be ok?

Yes, sometimes dogs will eat raw meat, but I've seen people eat raw meat too and that doesn't mean I agree with it or that it is the ONLY way to survive and be healthy.

I hope I'm not coming off b*tchy, I'm just honestly curious about this.
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Old 02-26-2007, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This basically sums up how I feel:


Quote:
Second, since it is unlikely that an animal possesses the ability to think, "Gee, I really shouldn't chase that cat because it isn't nice," a dog should not be held to an ethical standard. Therefore, it is not wrong for dogs to eat meat.
But, is it right for humans to participate in the killing of other animals by feeding meat to their canine companions? To answer this question, we need only consider two issues: 1) Does raising and killing animals for food inflict suffering on others? and 2) Must we kill animals to feed our companion animals? If an activity is both cruel and unnecessary, then it is wrong.
Taken from here:

http://www.vegetariandogs.com/

I don't think it's wrong that a dog would eat meat on it's own, but as my companion it seems that it is wrong for me to give my dog meat when I believe that it is wrong. Seems like I'd be undermining my morals.


And I realize that many things we buy are the biproducts of murder, but I think you should do everything you can to avoid supporting that sort of thing.

I unfortunately can't grow ALL of my crops (that's just not practical these days), but I will do everything I can to perhaps grow what I can and avoid supporting the things I don't believe it.

It's just hard to have any morals these days!
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Old 02-26-2007, 04:15 PM
 
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Again, I want to compare the ways of feeding:

Rabbit from Hare Today:

Rabbits are born and raised in small colonies. They are under cover, but given lots of fresh air. They are prevented from experiencing stress. They are fed the following: grass hay from Canada, grown naturally in fields without fertilizer or pesticides, bought directly from the farmer. Compressed Timothy pellets from Timothy hay fields. Timothy may require some nitrogen application, but if you intercrop it with alfalfa you can eliminate most of that. It's not a crop that requires a lot of intensive management.

The lamb tripe and lung I get from the slaughterhouse: Lambs are grass and pasture raised, with the same Canadian hay supplementation.

Organic soybean meal: Soy is an intensively managed crop. Organic soy requires extensive fertilization; you must either use manure or fish emulsion or feathermeal. Feathermeal comes from factory-farmed chicken processing. Fish emulsion comes from commercial fishing. Manure comes from feedlots preparing cows for slaughter. Soy meal itself is produced in huge factories, so you've got the labor issue as well.

If you don't get organic soy--and I don't think many vegan foods are organic as well--you're opening up a whole new world. Soy meal is sourced from all around the globe, depending totally on where it is cheapest. The soy market is totally tied up with the farming/animal industry, with prices pressured by how many animals are going to be consumed per year and whether it's going to be cheaper to feed them wheat. Global production issues impact child labor, civil rights, women's rights, and so on.

SO--it seems pretty self-evident that you can't get away from the death of animals (and in other countries, people) by moving to a plant-based food. So now let's look at whether it's necessary.

Dogs have carnivorous teeth; they cannot crush plant fibers to extract any nutrition. All plants must be cooked or ground (in kibble, it's both) to make them at all digestible. By cooking and grinding, enzymes are lost and the food protein is much less accessible. Dogs have a short digestive system and a smooth colon. Food passes through quickly. Plant material cannot be digested quickly--it needs to sit and slowly be absorbed. So the dog's digestive system is not suited to extract nutrition from plants. Unlike herbivores or omnivores, dogs do not produce amylase in their mouths. All amylase must come from their pancreas--this places a lot of stress on the pancreas. Dogs do not produce cellulase at ALL, which means that they cannot break down the cell walls of plants. They get no nutrition from unground grains, from whole or even ground vegetables (the vegetables must be juiced or pulped for the dog to access any of it).

All of this indicates that dogs are designed to eat meat, their bodies work best when they eat meat, and forcing them to digest plant sources is contrary to the way their bodies want to work. So I would say that yes, it is necessary. Not for them to survive, but for them to thrive, yes.
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Old 02-26-2007, 05:34 PM
 
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It's ironic to me that the argument is being made that feeding a dog or cat what nature intended (raw meat, bones & organs) is cruel but feeding a dog or cat food that they cannot digest and thrive on isn't cruel?!!

I think its cruel to withhold food that I know will keep my animal healthy and out of the vets office for:

dental cleaning
dental disease
heart disease as a result of poor dental care
parasite overload
anal gland expression
itchy scratchy skin/coat
allergies
disgestive issues

With my first dog I fed her kibble and she didn't go to the vet for any of the above either. At the time I didn't know about feeding her any differently and I couldn't afford to get her teeth cleaned. However, now I KNOW better so I am morally and ethically bound to do better. I don't have to worry about my checking account balance to deal with the above because my dog's diet takes care of those issues.

I abhor factory farming and big corporate business. The goat/lamb in my area is imported from Australia and is pasture fed. I don't like that it has to travel from Australia and that transportation is contributing to global warming. I like it more than buying meats from Tyson though. My dog doesn't care one way or the other though!! I have to understand that my dog and fosters rely on me to eat properly and thrive; I have to understand that I have to do what I can to lessen the impact on the environment, not support business practices that I don't support but I cannot morally or ethically interfere with what nature intended - carnivores eat meat.
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Old 02-26-2007, 06:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's ironic to me that the argument is being made that feeding a dog or cat what nature intended (raw meat, bones & organs) is cruel but feeding a dog or cat food that they cannot digest and thrive on isn't cruel?!!

I think its cruel to withhold food that I know will keep my animal healthy and out of the vets office for:

dental cleaning
dental disease
heart disease as a result of poor dental care
parasite overload
anal gland expression
itchy scratchy skin/coat
allergies
disgestive issues

With my first dog I fed her kibble and she didn't go to the vet for any of the above either. At the time I didn't know about feeding her any differently and I couldn't afford to get her teeth cleaned. However, now I KNOW better so I am morally and ethically bound to do better. I don't have to worry about my checking account balance to deal with the above because my dog's diet takes care of those issues.

I abhor factory farming and big corporate business. The goat/lamb in my area is imported from Australia and is pasture fed. I don't like that it has to travel from Australia and that transportation is contributing to global warming. I like it more than buying meats from Tyson though. My dog doesn't care one way or the other though!! I have to understand that my dog and fosters rely on me to eat properly and thrive; I have to understand that I have to do what I can to lessen the impact on the environment, not support business practices that I don't support but I cannot morally or ethically interfere with what nature intended - carnivores eat meat.

Wow. Calling me cruel certainly isn't going to change my mind.
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Old 02-26-2007, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm starting to think I've put this post in the wrong spot. I am curious as to what other vegetarians do in the face of this dilemma. I think it's probably different for people that think it's morally ok to eat meat. Sorry to be mean, but I'm in a horrible mood today.
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Old 02-26-2007, 07:03 PM
 
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I never called you or anyone cruel. What I said was:

"I think it's cruel to withhold food that I know that..." (sorry don't know how to quote!!).

Anyway, I hope that you can see that I wrote "I" twice and NEVER typed "you"!

I am sorry that you are in a bad mood today.

Dogs in WWII Europe lived off of poop (theirs and others) because people were worried about their own basic survival - that doesn't mean we should continue to feed them this way. They can live but not live well and thrive.

It's kind of like saying that formula feeding is just the same as breast feeding. It's not. It's foolish to try to pretend that it is. Feeding vegetarian, kibble or raw to our animals are not the same and it is foolish to try to pretend that they are.

Your original post was asking what is BEST to feed your puppy and how other vegetarins deal with it. I suggested joinging a rawfeeding Yahoo group because I know that there are a lot of vegetarians on that board that can help you. Regardless of how I feel about eating meat, nothing changes the fact that dogs are carnivores and the BEST way to feed them is raw meat.
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Old 02-26-2007, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am sorry that you are in a bad mood today.
Me too! I'm sorry, please forgive me. I read my post again and realized what a b*tch I am
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Old 02-26-2007, 07:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Eli's_mommy View Post
I'm starting to think I've put this post in the wrong spot. I am curious as to what other vegetarians do in the face of this dilemma. I think it's probably different for people that think it's morally ok to eat meat. Sorry to be mean, but I'm in a horrible mood today.
I think you're looking for a lot of people to say that it's OK to feed dogs in some vegan way, and you're disappointed because we don't.

Seriously, it's not that we don't consider the ethical dilemma. It's because we DO consider the dilemma that we feed this way. I strongly believe that if you're not going to care for an animal in a way that is as close to ideal as possible for that animal, you shouldn't own it. So I won't put a water buffalo in my basement, as much as I might love it, and I won't feed my wolves (because that's what dogs are) a grain- or soy-based diet. You brought a climax predator into your home, so you have to feed it like one.

If I was unable to feed any animal any kind of meat or food that involves meat, I would not own a carnivore. I'd stick to rabbits or other herbivores.
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Old 02-27-2007, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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But that's the thing- dogs aren't carnivores. They're omnivores.
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Old 02-27-2007, 12:37 PM
 
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I am thinking more and more about switching to raw myself, or at least going partially raw, but I think the actual question here is kind of being ignored. I mean, the fact is that most dogs do not get fed raw, and that dogs are not wolves. They've evolved from wolves, but I think making a one-to-one comparison is foolish. My dogs sit around the house all day. They are VERY low energy. Do they really need the high protein diet you're prescribing? Maybe, I'm not sure, but they certainly don't act like wolves.

Anyway, as far as vegetarianism goes, but choice would be to feed whatever food you can afford/get your hands on that is as close to the source as possible. While I completely agree that it is unfair to own a pet that naturally eats meat and project your morals about meat eating on to that pet, I do think there are ways to make it less morally problematic for you to feed your animal meat, be it in kibble or raw. Organic products are one of those things, as is the idea of feeding the dog off butcher scraps, etc. (things that would otherwise be thrown away and wasted). I don't know what will work in your exact situation, but thinking about in terms of how to feed the dog adequately with as little environmental harm and waste of life as possible might be a good start.
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Old 02-27-2007, 12:51 PM
 
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Can I jump in? What makes a canine or feline omnivorous? I would guess what ever is in the stomach contents of the animal it's eating. You don't see dogs and cats outside eating plants for the heck of it. They only eat them if they have an issue going on.
I have to agree with pp's about how canines and yes felines should eat a meat based diet. That's what thier wild counterparts do and just because we domesticated them, I don't think it means we should start trying to change how they are made up to suit our beliefs regarding diet. Myabe there are some out there than are fine on an absolutely no meat/poultry diet, but wouldn't we hear more about it as pet owners or something? I think maybe solid gold has some veggie mixes for dogs? But they're expensive.
I give our girls natural way lamb or salmon since they are an artic breed and do well on the fish. For us it's also a breed thing-the arctic dogs where brought up on fish and do the best on it, so I'm not going to try to change what works for them.
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