The UK’s Animal Welfare Act has issued a warning and advised dog owners to check their pet’s diet is “suitable” for them and to “meet all of your dog’s nutritional needs”.
The organisation has explained plat-based diets are not suitable for all breeds and many dogs may find it difficult to digest.
Although the current legislation doesn’t specify what you can give to your dog, the British Veterinarian Association warned owners should be very careful when changing the kind of food their dog eats.
Daniella Dos Santos from the British Veterinarian Association commented on the matter.
“In the UK, under the Animal Welfare Act the owner has the obligation to feed the animal an appropriate diet.
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“If your personal belief system means you don’t want to eat any animal protein.
“That’s fine, but that diet is not designed to meet the welfare standards of your pet.
“It is theoretically possible to feed a dog a vegetarian diet,” she said.
“But it’s much easier to get it wrong than to get it right.
“You would have to do it under the supervision of a veterinary-trained nutritionist,” she explained.
When changing their diet, dogs can suffer if they don’t get the correct nutrition.
For that reason, the UK law has a provision in place to ensure owners don’t mess with their pets’ diets.
Owners are also required by law to ensure a suitable environment for their pet, make sure they exhibit normal behaviour and are protected from pain, injury and disease, under section nine of the act.
A recent study showed an increasing number of people are putting their pets on a vegetarian diet.
Many dog breeds struggle to eat vegetarian food as high-fibre foods can be difficult for pets to digest.
Vegetarian or vegan foods take longer to extract the nutrients compared to meat because of dogs’ short guts.
That means dogs would also have to eat a lot more of it.