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canis lupus familiaris
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Not sure how we got on the subject but a friend and I were talking about vegetarian dogs and cats.

Cats had severely negative reviews clearly because cats are carnivores.

Dogs however...well it is debated on what they really are.

Not to start a debate...just a question really.

Most cat foods are filler + vitamins. Some contain some meat while others have some odd product listed as "meat" or "meat by product" without specifying what it is. If a cat were to survive on a vegetarian diet, wouldn't that be literally the same thing? A filler (fruits, veggies, whatever) plus a crap ton of vitamins since cats can't digest plants?

Since I have never actually heard of a cat surviving long on a vegetarian diet...I guess I'm more interested in dogs. Two of the longest living dogs were fed home meals. One lived on meat only and the other one was vegetarian. When I read up on vegetarian diets for dogs, I got the same thing. Feed them this but don't forget supplements! So many supplements!!!

Personally I think the perfect diet doesn't need such a thing. I'd like to hear other opinions though. Please don't bash each other over this!
 

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From what I've read on home diets; meat should include organs and all other things that humans don't typically consume when we eat our meat. I've read supplements are only needed if you're feeding the dog(s)/cat(s) muscle meat exclusive of any organs.

In any case, as far as dogs go I'd look at what foxes eat in their environment. And I say this because several months ago I watched an interesting NatGeo show called "Dogs Decoded" in which they reveal our dogs true ancestors are likely foxes, not wolves. So I guess feeding a dog a vegetarian diet, I'd feed them what a fox would eat, just exclusive of any meat sources.

Also I think it depends largely on the size of the dog. I would NEVER feed a large breed dog a vegetarian diet, but a small dog could probably do quite well on one if that's what the owner wished.
 

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I haven't seen that show mentioned but I've never heard any significant evidence that dogs where descended from foxes. There have been many scientific studies that show that our domestic dogs today are most closely genetically related to wolves.

If you still need convincing - think of this. Domestic dogs are genetically close enough to wolves that they can breed with them, and produce viable offspring. However, foxes and dogs cannot produce offspring together, they are too genetically different. Dogs and foxes do not have the same number of chromosomes. Dogs have 78, and foxes only have 38.

I won't bother posting links here but do research on it if you are interested.

Why would you feed a small dog vegetarian but not a large dog? Despite their sometimes drastic size differences, all dogs have basically the same nutritional requirements.

As for the original question - I don't agree with feeding dogs or cats strictly vegetarian diets. Dogs are classified taxonomically as carnivores. Even if they do eat some plant matter, one needs to only take a look at the structure of their teeth and digestive tract to see that they are designed to eat mostly meat. Dogs can and will eat things other than meat, but they don't even digest plant material very efficiently.

The "perfect" diet for a dog shouldn't require tons of supplements. If supplements are needed, that means they aren't actually getting the nutrition they need from the food. If you do research into raw feeding for dogs, most raw (meat) feeders don't require any supplements because the dogs get everything they need from the meat.

Could you keep a cat or dog alive on a vegetarian diet? With lots of supplements and stuff, I bet you could. But I don't feel that that's an optimal diet for them.
 

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I don't remember if the show covered chromosomes, but what they did find, is under domestication from humans, I think around the third bred line foxes were born baring color patterns similar to our dogs today, their tails began curling over their backs and they started looking like your common Spitz breeds. Meanwhile, domesticated wolf pups didn't physically change in any way. Plus, in comparison to wolf puppies, kits acted exactly the same as the domestic puppy in maintaining eye contact and coming closer when called, whereas wolf puppies never directly looked at humans, avoided the humans when called, and were unruly no matter how many lines were bred and domesticated. You might find it interesting to watch, too.

Anyway, I personally wouldn't feed a large dog a vegetarian diet based on sheer size. I think it would be much more convenient to feed a smaller dog a vegetarian diet, were I to do it, because they don't consume nearly as much as a larger breed.
 

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Betta Bomb
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I just don't like the idea of it. While humans can thrive on a vegetarian diet they should NEVER make their furry counterparts a veggie. As dragonrain mentioned, they are just made for eating meat. They digest meat at a much faster rate than humans. I'm a vegetarian, and coincidentally, I get asked all the time if my dog is one too. I just laugh at them. Dogs are carnivores. They eat whatever, and can thrive on bs food (low quality, little real meat etc) and can digest the strangest items (plastic was pulled from the lower colon of a dog at one the vets here, among other things)

There was a test done by a vet to challenge the national standards to pass dog food and they boiled a leather boot, building plywood and ... Something else. Made it into a kibble and sent a sample to be tested... IT PASSED. So, commercial dog foods can contain little real quality yet a dog can survive on it.

Maybe that was off topic. But it still makes a point.

Cats on the other hand, while I have no evidence to prove this, have a harder time digesting plant material?? (if this is not correct, then don;t mind what's next) Fancy Feast and other popular store brands have marketed a new type of food which contains "human" grade ingredients. These are like apples and spinach type ingredients which people buy thinking their pet cats have the nutirional needs of a human.

IMO, it's all a money gimmick to sell to ignorant people who don't research the needs of their pets.

Dogs are omnivorous/carnivorous and cats are carnivores. Case closed :)
 

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Vegetarian diets are a good way to kill a cat. You can keep them alive with supplements but it's never going to work long-term. They are obligate carnivores which means they need meat. It's cruel and should be considered animal abuse IMO.

Dogs are a bit more adaptable. They're classified as carnivores (this shouldn't be up for debate...the only people who tend to say otherwise are some pet food companies selling plant-based foods and anti-raw folks), but not obligate carnivores. In other words, they can consume some plant-based foods but are still designed for eating meat. If you need proof, look into the digestive tract (short and extremely acidic), teeth (see any molars for grinding plants? and notice the sharp canines), jaws (made for crushing, it's not capable of the motion required for chewing like we do), etc.

A dog will probably do better on a homemade vegetarian diet than some of the worst kibbles because they're at least getting fresh foods. But neither will ever be anywhere near optimal or natural. I'm vegetarian but would never feed my dogs as vegetarians, it's not fair to force your own views on them as far as diet goes. If someone wants a vegetarian pet they should buy an herbivore. Rabbits are awesome for that.

From what I've read on home diets; meat should include organs and all other things that humans don't typically consume when we eat our meat. I've read supplements are only needed if you're feeding the dog(s)/cat(s) muscle meat exclusive of any organs.

In any case, as far as dogs go I'd look at what foxes eat in their environment. And I say this because several months ago I watched an interesting NatGeo show called "Dogs Decoded" in which they reveal our dogs true ancestors are likely foxes, not wolves. So I guess feeding a dog a vegetarian diet, I'd feed them what a fox would eat, just exclusive of any meat sources.

Also I think it depends largely on the size of the dog. I would NEVER feed a large breed dog a vegetarian diet, but a small dog could probably do quite well on one if that's what the owner wished.
We should be consuming organs if we eat meat, it's just not common in the American diet these days. But yes, organs should be part of a homemade diet. Even supplement-heavy BARF and homecooked diets tend to at least include liver (it's the most important organ IMO and the one wolves consume first).

I watched that special and I have no idea what you watched because it never said that. Dogs are domesticated wolves and it's not even up for debate now since leaps were made in genetic research. They are definitely not foxes.

Why would small dogs be any different diet-wise? They're still carnivores and should be eating meat.

I don't remember if the show covered chromosomes, but what they did find, is under domestication from humans, I think around the third bred line foxes were born baring color patterns similar to our dogs today, their tails began curling over their backs and they started looking like your common Spitz breeds. Meanwhile, domesticated wolf pups didn't physically change in any way. Plus, in comparison to wolf puppies, kits acted exactly the same as the domestic puppy in maintaining eye contact and coming closer when called, whereas wolf puppies never directly looked at humans, avoided the humans when called, and were unruly no matter how many lines were bred and domesticated. You might find it interesting to watch, too.

Anyway, I personally wouldn't feed a large dog a vegetarian diet based on sheer size. I think it would be much more convenient to feed a smaller dog a vegetarian diet, were I to do it, because they don't consume nearly as much as a larger breed.
I don't think you interpreted the special correctly. This is something I've studied extensively and taken classes on (although my degree is just in general Biology I have a huge interest in Genetics and Evolution). The fox experiment showed that there are certain genes tied to traits we tend to select for in domesticating animals. When we domesticate animals we tend to select for (sometimes unknowingly) the more docile, friendly, biddable animals. These traits are genetically tied to traits such as floppy ears, various color patterns (piebald being a famous one!), and curled tails. You'll notice those same types of traits in sheep, pigs, guinea pigs, rabbits (that's how we got lops!), etc. Cats are the exception because we never enforced any breeding selection on them (they tended to run loose, often as barn cats, and bred without our interference). Now, though, we're getting cat breeds with floppy ears, bobbed/curled tails, etc. just like other domestics. It's actually really fascinating and I could dig up some articles and books for you if you want :D.

The wolf experiment they talked about proved that domestication is an example of nature over nurture. Wolves can't be domesticated simply by raising them as pups, it's all genetics. The wolf experiment would have resulted in dog-like wolves, just like the fox one, if it had been done on the same scale and for the same amount of time (remember that the fox experiment was very, very long and those foxes are still used today...no such experiment was done on wolves).

The guy who did the fox experiment actually used other animals, too, people just tend to forget/not care. He got similar (just not as dramatic) results with his rats, otters (I forget which species), etc.
 

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As far as dogs and cats go, I don't trust Purina anymore because of the poisoning that happened several years ago. Some of the ingredients came from China and caused a number of animals to get sick, and some of them died. If I ever own a cat again, I will only buy Bumblebee or Starkist tuna instead of Fancy Feast or other cat food. I don't like ingredients coming from anywhere except the US, Canada or Europe. I'm afraid that the safetly of other countries is questionable.
 

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canis lupus familiaris
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I don't remember if the show covered chromosomes, but what they did find, is under domestication from humans, I think around the third bred line foxes were born baring color patterns similar to our dogs today
I'm not sure of the show but I saw something on silver foxes being bred for fur turning dog like. I mean they aren't dogs (canis vulpes vs canis lupus) however I'm sure they will become pet like eventually.

It is said that canis rufus (red wolf) is some funky wolf hybrid type thing though :scratch:
 

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As far as dogs and cats go, I don't trust Purina anymore because of the poisoning that happened several years ago. Some of the ingredients came from China and caused a number of animals to get sick, and some of them died. If I ever own a cat again, I will only buy Bumblebee or Starkist tuna instead of Fancy Feast or other cat food. I don't like ingredients coming from anywhere except the US, Canada or Europe. I'm afraid that the safetly of other countries is questionable.
I hear ya. My mother-in-law here feeds their cats Purina. And they've had more cats die than I've ever seen. I think the record last year was three. But she has SO much trust in the company that she blames their highly suspicious deaths on other things. I will never put 100% faith in any pet food company for my own sanity and the well-being of my pets. Consumer Affairs has page after page of Purina-eating dog & cat deaths, with the majority being exactly how these cats over here died; but she won't hear of it.

I'm not sure of the show but I saw something on silver foxes being bred for fur turning dog like. I mean they aren't dogs (canis vulpes vs canis lupus) however I'm sure they will become pet like eventually.

It is said that canis rufus (red wolf) is some funky wolf hybrid type thing though :scratch:
Already in the pet industry, forgot what they've been named, though..

A dog will probably do better on a homemade vegetarian diet than some of the worst kibbles because they're at least getting fresh foods. But neither will ever be anywhere near optimal or natural. I'm vegetarian but would never feed my dogs as vegetarians, it's not fair to force your own views on them as far as diet goes. If someone wants a vegetaWe should be consuming organs if we eat meat, it's just not common in the American diet these days. But yes, organs should be part of a homemade diet. Even supplement-heavy BARF and homecooked diets tend to at least include liver (it's the most important organ IMO and the one wolves consume first).
As I said, organ meats aren't what humans *typically* consume; I have no issues with them and am well aware we should be eating them. I was saying that for those owners which only feed their cats/dogs muscle meat, then they would absolutely need to supplement.

I watched that special and I have no idea what you watched because it never said that. Dogs are domesticated wolves and it's not even up for debate now since leaps were made in genetic research. They are definitely not foxes.
I can see Spitz breeds having ancestral ties with foxes, but I could never believe Mastiffs or other Bully breeds do.

Why would small dogs be any different diet-wise? They're still carnivores and should be eating meat.
I never said any different, but I was answering the topic question hypothetically. If I were to feed my dogs a vegetarian diet(which I don't believe in), I would never feed a large breed like that based on the sheer quantity that they'd need to support their requirements.

I don't think you interpreted the special correctly. This is something I've studied extensively and taken classes on (although my degree is just in general Biology I have a huge interest in Genetics and Evolution). The fox experiment showed that there are certain genes tied to traits we tend to select for in domesticating animals. When we domesticate animals we tend to select for (sometimes unknowingly) the more docile, friendly, biddable animals. These traits are genetically tied to traits such as floppy ears, various color patterns (piebald being a famous one!), and curled tails. You'll notice those same types of traits in sheep, pigs, guinea pigs, rabbits (that's how we got lops!), etc. Cats are the exception because we never enforced any breeding selection on them (they tended to run loose, often as barn cats, and bred without our interference). Now, though, we're getting cat breeds with floppy ears, bobbed/curled tails, etc. just like other domestics. It's actually really fascinating and I could dig up some articles and books for you if you want :D.

The wolf experiment they talked about proved that domestication is an example of nature over nurture. Wolves can't be domesticated simply by raising them as pups, it's all genetics. The wolf experiment would have resulted in dog-like wolves, just like the fox one, if it had been done on the same scale and for the same amount of time (remember that the fox experiment was very, very long and those foxes are still used today...no such experiment was done on wolves).

The guy who did the fox experiment actually used other animals, too, people just tend to forget/not care. He got similar (just not as dramatic) results with his rats, otters (I forget which species), etc.
It's possible I'm missing out on key points; it's been nearly a year ago that I saw it. I remember they took the absolute most submissive foxes and bred them; and the unruly fox individuals didn't change. ..Well crap, that's the part I forgot they mentioned, lol! Okay, I get it now, I guess it was just so interesting I missed that part; Observation Fail.
 

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Cats had severely negative reviews clearly because cats are carnivores.

Dogs however...well it is debated on what they really are.
Not entirely correct...cats are obligate carnivores, dogs are carnivores, but not obligate ones, and under pressure, fairly opportunistic.

Neither will thrive on a vegetarian diet,, and the cats will suffer particularly...likely to death.
 

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I'm not sure of the show but I saw something on silver foxes being bred for fur turning dog like. I mean they aren't dogs (canis vulpes vs canis lupus)
I think you mean Vuples vulpes vs. Canis lupus ....not only separate species, but separate genera....they share only the family Canidae.
 

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While humans can thrive on a vegetarian diet ....
I know several hundred thousand doctors and nutritionists that will strongly argue against that, even....we are truly omnivores.
 

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Since this isn't about human veg diets, I won't get into it.. But as an example, thousands of generations of Hindu's have been surviving on it. Not so much thriving as it depends on foods they receive, import etc. But with North American vegetarian diets there is no excuse not to be fully fortified without meat. I have never been to the doctor for malnourishment or anything of that nature which people claim is the problem with meat-restricted diets. And I wil debate that until the end. People waving a nutritionist certificate don't convince me.
 

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On the vegetarian forum I'm on, there are a lot of people who advocate vegetarian diets for dogs and it drives me nuts. (Which is one of the reasons I don't usually post there LOL) I'm glad to see that everyone here agrees that dogs need meat.


We feed Chuey Nutro dog food (It doesn't have by-products, ect) and cooked chicken. :)


BTW, I'm vegetarian too and I'm perfectly healthy. I have a feeling that my veggie burgers are less harmful to my body than the breaded deep fried mystery meat that most Americans eat these days! Obviously there are plenty of ways to be an unhealthy vegetarian too, but personally I've eaten a LOT healthier since I gave up meat.
 

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canis lupus familiaris
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I think you mean Vuples vulpes vs. Canis lupus ....not only separate species, but separate genera....they share only the family Canidae.
oopse sorry still learning! Thanks though.

And I agree with hops. Yes as true omnivores we do NEED meat but with today's synthetics, we don't actually need it lol. Thats kind of what I was asking in the first place. Since cats are obligated carnivores and dogs are...carnivores then is it possible (with synthetics) to live a vegetarian lifestyle?
 

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As far as dogs and cats go, I don't trust Purina anymore because of the poisoning that happened several years ago. Some of the ingredients came from China and caused a number of animals to get sick, and some of them died. If I ever own a cat again, I will only buy Bumblebee or Starkist tuna instead of Fancy Feast or other cat food. I don't like ingredients coming from anywhere except the US, Canada or Europe. I'm afraid that the safetly of other countries is questionable.
I can understand your fear but tunafish (especially the processed, Mercury-rich crap in cans) isn't a balanced diet for a cat, either.

If you get a cat again I would simply look for a food made in the United States if that's your main fear. Or maybe look into a raw diet since you can then control where you get the food from :).

I know several hundred thousand doctors and nutritionists that will strongly argue against that, even....we are truly omnivores.
This isn't a thread on human diets so I'm not going to post much on this. But I disagree. There are plenty of nutritionists who feel that way but plenty who feel the opposite so "knowing" either group of people doesn't prove anything. I don't even factor doctors into this, anyway, as they rarely have degrees in nutrition. I've probably taken more nutrition classes than most doctors and would never call myself an expert or advise someone on diets (unless they wanted general info on vegetarianism, in which case I'd be likely to recommend books...you know, written by nutritionists).

We may be omnivores but the beauty of that is that we're extremely adaptable. Look at all of the different cultures thriving, all on different diets. There is no "perfect" human diet.

Although I am interested to know what you think is probably wrong with me medically as I'm a vegetarian and have been since I was a kid :lol:. The doctors (which you speak highly of in regards to their nutrition knowledge) I've seen said I'm healthy, seem to be eating well, and my blood work always comes back perfect.

oopse sorry still learning! Thanks though.

And I agree with hops. Yes as true omnivores we do NEED meat but with today's synthetics, we don't actually need it lol. Thats kind of what I was asking in the first place. Since cats are obligated carnivores and dogs are...carnivores then is it possible (with synthetics) to live a vegetarian lifestyle?
Dogs can survive on vegetarian diets but they won't thrive IMO. Carnivores are not as adaptive as human omnivores, even if they aren't obligate carnivores like cats. Besides, I see no reason to switch a dog to a vegetarian diet except for selfish personal reasons (which is generally why it's done).
 

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I agree - I think it's kind of selfish to force our morals onto our pets. If you want a pet that doesn't eat meat, don't get a carnivore.

I'm a vegetarian as well mostly for moral reasons but would never force my carnivorous pets to be.

Like I already said - with properly prepared vegetarian foods and supplements I believe a dog could survive without eating meat, but I don't believe it'd be an optimal diet for them.
 

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I can see Spitz breeds having ancestral ties with foxes, but I could never believe Mastiffs or other Bully breeds do.
I, too, see the resemblance but genetically the spitz breeds are still descended from wolves. Being some of the oldest breeds they're more wolf-like than most breeds, actually.

Again, the special never mentioned foxes being dog ancestors. They were just trying to show the power of selective breeding and genetics in domestic animals. The "spitz" tails that curl over happen in other animals that are domesticated besides foxes. Pigs are a good example of that :).

Someone could easily re-create the domestication of dogs with a long-term experiment using wolves instead of foxes but that would be expensive, time-consuming, and hard to fund (since there have been several similar experiments already). Besides, who wants to handle the "aggressive" wolves? :lol:
 

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Not to mention the wolves that are simi-domestic and semi-not, they don't make good pets and they aren't exactly releasable either.

Its like trying to domesticate apes to see if they can be more human than ape and then what? they don't fit in anywhere. Not with apes, and not with humans.
 

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Is it okay to give dogs and cats deli turkey or chicken instead of canned tuna? I understand that our food has perservatives and other ingredients that might be harmful for our pets. I'm concerned about the pet foods even though there are some newer companies that claim to want to be different and provide better quality. I've always tried to provide the best food possible for any pet that I had.
 
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