ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Can My Pet Be a Vegetarian?

Updated on December 16, 2014
Maggie Bonham profile image

Maggie Bonham, or Margaret H. Bonham, is a multiple award-winning pet author and expert. She has written more than 20 books on pets.

You're a vegetarian or a vegan, and you're thinking that you'd like to share your lifestyle with your pet. If you have a pet that is a natural herbivore, such as a rabbit, goat, or horse, then this isn't a problem. But what about cats and dogs? Is this a good idea and is it safe? You may get many conflicting responses if you search for your answers on the internet. Here are five things to consider before taking the vegetarian step with your dog or cat.

1. Dogs and cats aren't naturally vegetarians. The wild counterpart to dogs, namely wolves, and cats, the African Wildcat, are carnivores. Wolves will kill and eat elk, deer, moose, and buffalo, but will also eat smaller prey. Sure, wolves eat some stomach contents of the ruminants they kill, but they receive most of their nutrition from animal sources. African Wildcats eat mice, rats, wild gerbils hares, insects, rabbits, lizards and birds. If you look at the teeth of your cat and dog, you'll find them adept at cutting and tearing flesh, not biting off grass or rooting for vegetables. Their stomachs and intestines are not designed to process large amounts of vegetable matter.

2. Dogs and cats need vitamins A and D from animal sources. Dogs and cats need vitamin D and vitamin A from animal sources, not plant sources. Vitamin D3 can only be found in animal products; cats can't process vitamin A from beta carotene and must get it from animal sources.

Vegetarian Pets

Do You Feed Your Pet a Vegetarian Diet?

See results

3. Cats need taurine from animal sources. While dogs can create taurine if fed the right percentage of amino acids, cats cannot and need taurine in their diets from meat. Taurine deficiency in cats can lead to blindness, reproductive problems, and heart problems.

4. Cats can't process niacin from tryptophan, thus leading to a niacin deficiency if not fed niacin from an animal source. Cats also require arachidonic acid, a fatty acid that is only found in animal products. Without arachidonic acid, cats will develop skin problems and reproductive problems.

5. Supplements come from animal products. If you're tempted to still feed vegetarian or vegan, you're using animal products anyway to supplement your pet's food. The synthesized versions must come from sources your pet can use, which means you're negating the reason why you're feeding vegetarian or vegan in the first place.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)