Can dogs survive on vegetarian food?

When P Vinod Kumar found his Labrador falling sick frequently, he took him to a vet who asked him what he was feeding his dog. “I was giving my dog pure vegetarian food thinking that it will keep the animal clean and healthy.” Instead the vet told him to start the dog on non-vegetarian food. Once Kumar did so, his pet bounced back to its energetic self.

Many veterinarians in the city say that they often find the reason for pets being unwell was a vegetarian diet. “Those who feed their dogs vegetarian food are unknowingly torturing them,” said Dr S Venkateswaran, a consultant at the Cotton City Pets Poly Clinic, near Sai Baba Colony. “Dogs shed a lot of hair everyday and for its regrowth animal proteins are needed,” he advised. Vegetables contain proteins but not as much as a non-vegetarian diet does. And dogs are basically carnivores.

Dr M Murugesan, a government veterinarian, says that, while dogs can survive on a vegetarian diet, it does not necessarily mean it is a healthy one. According to him, dogs get their unsaturated fatty acids and amino acids from animal meat and that is essential. “A vegetarian…

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