Do you look excited? It is! “Wrote Sfveganyogi.” data-reactid = “33”> “Tonight, on Maggie’s menu is mashed sweet potatoes (also known as sweet potato or sweet potato), mashed brown rice, organic sprouted tofu, chia seeds, and digestive enzymes. Do you look excited? It is! “Sfveganyogi wrote.
Actually, Maggie was most likely much less excited about her food than the large number of users who responded to the post.
Many of them were outraged that the owner of a dog decided to feed their pet with mashed tubers and tofu instead of the meat-based foods, which dogs generally eat with such relish.
And the vegan blogger, author of the controversial post, finally decided to abandon her account.
The carbon footprint left by pet food is considerable. It is estimated that in 2017 the carbon emitted by the meat consumed by the animals threw the equivalent of around 64 million tons of CO2 per year into the air, which is the same as driving 13 million cars during the same period.
As the pet population increases, pet ownership is on the rise in countries like China, for example, and owners are turning to foods intended for both human aesthetics and animal nutrition, so it is likely that footprint keep growing.
This has led many to ask the following question: Can our cats and dogs stop eating meat and become completely vegan?
Aside from the debate over nutrition facts, the personal opinions of a pet owner may face specific legislation designed to protect the welfare of the creatures.
the owner has an obligation to feed the animal with a proper diet, “explains Daniella Dos Santos, president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA).” data-reactid = “88”> “In the UK, under the Animal Welfare Act, the owner has an obligation to feed the animal with a proper diet, “explains Daniella Dos Santos, president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA).
“If you don’t want to consume any animal protein because of your personal belief system, that’s fine, but that diet is not designed to meet your pet’s wellness standards.”
“Cats are obligate carnivores. They need certain amounts of amino acids to be healthy and the lack of these can cause health problems,” adds Dos Santos.
much less a vegan“.” data-reactid = “97”> “For that reason, I would not recommend a vegetarian diet, and much less a vegan“
Cats are a particular challenge because they cannot produce certain proteins, such as taurine, on their own.
Instead, they have to absorb it from their food, and beef, chicken, and fish are particularly rich sources of protein.
Cats without enough taurine are at risk of developing a life-threatening disorder called dilated cardiomyopathy, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
Cats don’t grow healthy on a vegan diet
Cats need essential nutrients that only meat can provide.
In cats with dilated cardiomyopathy, the heart muscle becomes very thin and weak, preventing them from pumping blood and supplying oxygen to the body.
Cats need a particularly high protein diet, which is more difficult to find with a vegan diet. In fact, it could even cause them trouble processing carbohydrates. “It does not allow them to digest plant material well, and they need essential nutrients that only meat can provide,” says the association.
All that has not stopped some companies from creating vegan cat food.
But the general consensus of all but a handful of vets is that cats are unlikely to grow up healthy on a meatless diet.
Much easier to be wrong than to do it right
This meal was not always meat.
In the wild, wolves obviously eat meat, but they are also known to eat eggs, berries, and even grass, if they lack vitamins.
Dogs may have adapted to a diet with less meat and more plant starch. Crucially, they have amylase genes, this means they can digest the starch from plants, an adaptation that may have evolved as they ate the debris left behind by humans in prehistoric fires.
easier to make mistakes than to do it right“It would have to be done under the supervision of a veterinary nutritionist.” data-reactid = “157”> “It is theoretically possible to feed a dog a vegetarian diet, but it is a lot easier to make mistakes than to do it right“It would have to be done under the supervision of a veterinary nutritionist.”
But certainly there are also companies joining the challenge of meatless dog food.
food of the future“like Memphis Meats and Gelzen.” data-reactid = “159”> Wild Earth is one of them. Its creator, Ryan Bethencourt, is a scientist who had previously been heavily involved in new signatures of “food of the future“like Memphis Meats and Gelzen.
Wild Earth dog food includes mushrooms like koji, which gives it a meaty flavor.
More dogs than children
Bethencourt was inspired to create a food free of animal products in part due to a series of recalls, some of them due to the high levels of pollutants they produced in the United States.
“In 2018, 100 million units of pet food were recalled, in part because some had very high levels of a euthanasia drug, pentobarbital.”
“In San Francisco, there are believed to be more dogs than children,” says Bethencourt, who lives in California, USA.
The carbon footprint left by the pet food industry is growing.
At first, Bethencourt tried to get other people’s attention to act accordingly, but failed. “If you can’t find someone who does, you end up realizing that maybe you have to be that person,” he says.
He and his partner, Ron Shigeta, officially launched Wild Earth in March 2018. This entrepreneur says he always intended for food to become a complete diet rather than a supplement. “The first criticism of plant-based diets is that they are low in protein, so we wanted to make sure it was a protein-rich food.”
“A great ingredient is yeast. When you look at the biomass, yeast is about 40% protein, and a good steak is about 30%,” he says. Then it contains other mushrooms, specifically the koji, which is one that grows on wheat.
Bethencourt says that fungal cells “are much more related to animal cells than to plants.” The other benefit of mushrooms is that they can add a umami flavor with a hint of meat, which dogs enjoy.
Include insects in the diet?
Chippin’s Haley Russell says crickets contain the 10 essential amino acids that dogs need.
Haley Russell and Laura Colagrande are the creators of a pet food company called Chippin.
These small animals are a food resource worth turning to. Already millions of people, mainly in East Asia, eat crickets as part of their daily diet.
Crickets have up to 65% protein by weight, and are also rich in unsaturated fats, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Beef cattle need 8 grams of feed to produce one protein, while crickets only need two grams of feed to create one gram of this macronutrient. Similarly, crickets spend much less water, a resource that worries farmers in many regions of the world.
“Dogs love the taste of crickets”
Crickets are a good alternative source of protein, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.
“They provide the 10 essential amino acids your dog needs – they are the 10 building blocks without which your dog cannot thrive,” says Russell.
“And dogs love the taste of crickets. We wanted to create a food that was healthy and delicious but also nutritious. (From the beginning) it was about finding ingredients that meet the health and flavor requirements, but also they contained something that would help with sustainability. “
“Insects can help with the challenges of cat food diets because they are complete proteins. But we are focused on dogs for now,” he adds.
Although one is vegan and the other uses cricket protein, Chippin and Wild Earth have one thing in common: Both Bethencourt and Russell have tested their products.
I eat it all the timeBethencourt says. “I don’t think people should sell dog food unless they eat it themselves.” data-reactid = “270”> “I eat it all the timeBethencourt says. “I don’t think people should sell dog food unless they eat it themselves.”
“I challenged Nestlé and Mars executives to try their own dog food and none of them have accepted it yet!”