Can Cats and Dogs Eat a Plant-Based Diet?

Can Cats and Dogs Eat a Plant-Based Diet?

Published in nutritionstudies.org March 10, 2020

You are at the grocery store, hanging out in the produce section like every good plant-based human, loading up on leaves, roots, stems, and tubers when you remember you need food for your fur baby back home.

Navigating the pet aisle, you take in the ingredients in many varieties of canine and feline food: chicken, lamb, beef, tuna, salmon. And it hits you: How can you buy animal products for your pets if you won’t buy them for yourself?

Whether you are plant-based for health, environmental, or animal protection reasons, if you are a pet owner, you need to consider what is best for your dog or cat.

Can My Dog Eat Plant-Based Food?

Dogs evolved from wolves that consume a diet primarily of animal flesh, but evolution has provided dogs with two distinct DNA differences from wolves:

  • Genes controlling behavior have evolved to make dogs the cuddly companions we love.
  • Dogs have the ability to digest starch (carbohydrates) from plants. In fact, evidence shows dogs evolved from wolves in part by consuming plant foods.

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