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We are a vegetarian. I have known families that own different kinds of dogs. I've also known someone who owns a Vizsla. Our family has decided to go for a Vizsla as that is the best fit for all the features and the location that we are in. Really like the temperament of this breed and it fits in to our outdoor lifestyle as well. The only problem is that we are all vegetarian. Eggs and milk are fine. We also found someone who has an Instagram channel called vegetarian Vizsla but could not connect with that person. Quantity of protein in our diet is not an issue even though we are vegetarian. My question is: can we make our dog vegetarian? I understand this is a hunter breed and may not be the best idea but if we supplement enough protein along with eggs and milk, will that be an issue? We still do not have a puppy but looking into getting one soon. If being vegetarian is really going to be detrimental than we are ok with supplementing meat (but would rather not if we do not have to). Any words of wisdom would help...
 

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i myself don`t eat meat, although i eat certain types of fish. my dogs on the other hand are raw (meat, organs and bones) fed, i also make for them dehydrated treats from things like beef heart (yup, i do not like the smell), beef kidney (smell even worse, but so good for the dogs), beef jerky (dehydrated lean grass fed beef), dehydrated chicken feet etc. they also get farm fresh eggs twice a week, certain fruits and veggies, in a smaller quantity. and kefir or goat milk on a daily basis.
i would recommend talking to vets who are specialized on canine nutrition. in my understanding they are omnivores, meaning both meat type of nutrition, just as certain greens are important for them. i also understood that taurine is key for their hearts and that mostly comes from meat. you may want to talk about it with your breeder, whether they have any experience with vegetarian vizslas.
 

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People adopt the vegetarian diet for a variety of reasons. It is a conscious choice that they make. A dog is not being allowed to make the choice for itself. Left to it's own choices, it would eat just about anything, but it would be primarily meat protein based.
Vizslas can be notoriously picky eaters, regardless of what they are fed. Mine just turned his nose up at cooked chicken, and I've had him do the same thing with beef. This being mixed in with a very high quality dry food. They can be a pain when it comes to eating.
A truly healthy vegetarian diet is a complex diet that revolves around replacing those protiens and trace nutrients found in beef, poultry, and fish. The dog needs these proteins and trace nutrients, and eggs and milk alone will not provide them. The eclectic broad range of plant based proteins required for a vegetarian diet would probably be too much for a dog. To complex ,and a dogs' digestive system is very simple.
That they are hunting breeds really doesn't factor into whether or not they need a more meat based diet. A dog is a dog, and they all require the same thing to thrive and grow correctly.
A high quality puppy/dog food will provide all of the nutrients that a growing puppy, or dog requires. Yes, they are meat based products, but for you it is just a bag of dry kibble, so you are not actually buying meat and having to deal with meat as a product, but just kernels of dog food in a bag.
My vote would be, no, a vegetarian diet alone is not a diet that has the best long term interest of the dog in mind. The dog's needs have to be the first priority with regard to feeding and lifelong diet.
 

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This gets kinda long, so the short answer is no, don't do it!

While we can thrive on plant based diets dogs are less suited for digesting plants. I find it helpful to look at the digestive systems of various mammals on a scale of herbivore to carnivore and ultimately let the biology dictate what that animal best should eat. Think about a cow with its jaw that moves side to side to crush grass, grain, and other forage, its multiple stomach chambers and the rumination process that ferments all that feed over a long period of time to extract the most nutrient. Or for a slightly different take–rabbits who partly process their food, poop out a so-called caecotroph, and then eat it again to fully digest it.

As omnivores, we have far simpler digestive systems compared to the herbivores, but we share the ability to move our jaws laterally and grind food as well as certain enzymes in our saliva that starts digestion as soon we take a bite. And through cooking, fermentation, and other ways of processing our food we can make plant nutrients more bioavailable than they would otherwise be.

A dog's digestive system is simpler still and plants just don't spend enough time in their system for them to be an optimal source of nutrition. Anecdotally it's common for veggies to come out entirely undigested or to trigger vomiting much like chewing on grass can. Dogs can make better use of carbohydrate than a pure carnivore, but at the end of the day they need animal products, not as a supplement, but as the basis of their diet.

A dog would survive on a carefully formulated vegetarian diet because they are such a resilient species, but it would not thrive on one. In my opinion that would make it unethical and if your principles don't allow you to feed meat than I'd discourage you from getting a dog. I'm just a stranger on the internet though, so please do consult a pet nutritionist!
 

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Now the fun begins with picking a dog food.
There are many, many, opinions on dry dog foods.I've had good success with Orijen, Large Puppy and Adult, but that's only because Finn will eat it.
 

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We are vegetarians as well, and therefor feeding raw is just not for us. But feeding kibble is fine. I would like to encourage you to also buy rawhide chews. I’m not a big fan of all the smelly rawhide options such as bullysticks etc. but we buy non-chemical, ‘normal’ rawhide chew sticks and those are really fine. And she loves her Yak milk chewbone. I do believe that our dog is spoiled with always having plenty of chew options but she has never touched our furniture, plants or shoes.

We have tried many kibble brands but Orijen seemed to have the highest amount of ‘fresh’ meat in it (not sure how to translate this). Our dog has been an picky eater but with Orijen she eats really good, and her stool got soo much better. It went down from 3x to 2x per day and never too wet. We supplement with fish oil.
 

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We started off feeding Oscar with kibble mixed with sardines if he was picky.
Months of picking at his food and runny poops, upset tummy.
Then we changed to a raw diet with fruit and veg and proteins mixed in.
We find handling the raw food pretty grim, especially the stinky tripe :sick:
But it’s all about Oscar and what’s best for him, so happy to continue suffering for his health and well-being 🥰
His poops are now small and solid but we can see the carrots, peppers and other veg, so not as well absorbed as the rest.
 
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