Vegetables In Your Dogs Diet

Many people who choose a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle for themselves would want to feed their Chihuahuas the same diet.  Rabbits, birds and goats eat vegetables all the time and they aren’t unhealthy you could tell yourself.  Can a Chihuahua that is classed as a carnivore lead an optimum life eating fruits, vegetables and grains?

Dogs can certainly consume a vegetarian diet with no apparent ill effects.  Excluding eggs offer excellent amino acid profiles for a Chihuahuas needs.

The massive text Small Animal Clinical Nutrition notes that, “Pet owners who want to feed a vegetarian food to their dog may assume they must prepare the food at home.  Commercially prepared vegetarian foods exist for dogs and can be well balanced using egg and milk products.  Vegan foods (no animal products) should be carefully checked because they may be deficient in arginine, lysine, methionine, taurine, iron, tryptophan, calcium, zinc, vitamin A and some B vitamins as well.

Pet -food manufacturers for small breed dogs offer vegetarian diets.  Many were initially formulated t help dogs with food allergies, liver disease.  Many had no research to back up their specific health claims.

Vegetarian diets tend to make urine more alkaline.  Chihuahuas generally have somewhat acidic urine and a change to vegetarianism will usually raise pH to alkaline levels.  While changing the dog to a vegetarian diet, you need to have your veterinarian monitor urinary pH.  Have a sample analyzed monthly for the first several months, then continue to check two to four  times a year.  Alkaline urine can encourage formation of struvite stones, which can cause urinary obstructions, a potentially life threatening condition.

Magnesium in the diet can be minimized (magnesium being the major source of struvite).  The urine can be acidified with the addition of such foods as peas, oats, lentils, cranberries, brown rice, and many nuts (excluding Almonds, which can kill you Chihuahua).  If that is not sufficient, sodium bisulfate or methionine may be necessary.  Consult closely with your veterinarian, as methionine presents problems of its own.

Vegetarian diets do not offer the same health benefits to Chihuahuas that they do with humans.  Dogs don’t tend to suffer from high cholesterol and coronary artery disease unless they are very over weight, because we have fed them fatty human food, which we shouldn’t be eating.

A vegetarian diet is not a hypoallergenic diet.  Vegetarian diets are offered as allergy solutions for the same reason lamb and rice was once the most recommended allergy diet, dogs haven’t previously consumed the ingredients.

Chihuahuas’ requirements for protein and calcium far exceed human requirements, and these nutrients are amino acid profiles of meat proteins also fit the dog’s essential needs better than the profiles of plant proteins.  Dogs unlike herbivores, require a dietary source of vitamin B12, again found more in meats then in plants.  All this makes formulating a vegetarian and especially a vegan, diet for dogs extremely tricky.

Yes, dogs need to have a range of fruits and vegetables in their diet to have a complete diet and all my dogs love their carrots, peas, raspberries and beans.  Vegetarianism is not right for every dog.  Puppies in particular should receive meat in their diet.  Pregnant or lactating females must have a high – performance dog food with ha high protein level in it.

It is best for your dog to have range of foods, meat, vegetables, fruits, and some grains.  Flax seed is a wonderful grain that will make your dog shed less and have a shiner coat.

In the end it is up to you what healthy diet your dog is on.  Remember if you can’t pronounce it or don’t know what it is don’t feed it to your dog.  A Chihuahua fed a proper diet will live years longer then one that is fed anything and everything.