If many vegans had their druthers, we would all be vegan, and no animals or animal products would ever be eaten again. Many also find it difficult to feed animal products to their cats and dogs, so they try to put their pets on a vegan diet, too, imposing their morality onto them. But is this practice actually safe for the pet?
In short: not really. Dogs can survive on a meat-free diet as long as they get all their proper nutrients. Dogs are omnivores, so they can get their protein from non-meat sources like beans and soy, but non-vegan eggs are more ideal. Dogs also need essential vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, and B vitamins that are ideally ingested through animal products, and puppies should never be fed a vegan diet. Though it’s technically possible to feed a dog a vegan diet, it needs to be done very carefully.
Cats are a lot trickier. As cats are carnivores, their entire physiology revolves around eating meat, and completely removing it from their diet can have dire consequences. For example, cans are unable to synthesize their own taurine (an essential amino acid) and arachidonic acid (an essential fatty acid). As these are usually obtained through meat, leaving these out of the diet could easily kill a cat.
In short, if you want to feed your dog or cat a vegan diet, think about whether you’re doing it for you or for your pet. Your top priority as a pet owner should be the health and well-being of your animals. Forcing them adapt according to your worldview and making them eat a vegan diet can have deadly consequences; what works for you doesn’t automatically work for other animals. If you want a vegan pet, get an animal that’s naturally an herbivore, like a rabbit.