Dogs can exist on a vegan diet but our new one won't be – Stephen Jardine

What kind of person gets a puppy during lockdown?

Getting a dog during lockdown is a good idea, according to Stephen Jardine (Picture: Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

A smart person is the answer. The enforced house stay is the perfect environment to allow the new dog to settle into the family home with everyone around. Plus walking round the same park each day looks much less creepy when you have a dog in tow.

Given that, what kind of person leaves it until lockdown is almost over and freedom beckons to get a puppy?

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

That would be me. After a wait longer than the queue for toilet roll in Tesco last March, our new dog arrives today. While the rest of the world is contemplating light at the end of the tunnel, we are wondering how it’s possible for a creature so small to excrete so much.

To be fair, we knew what to expect. Our last dog died two years ago and we vowed to take a break to enjoy the freedom of not being an animal owner. For the last year that has turned out to only involve staying at home and watching Netflix so we’ve taken the plunge again.

Read More

Read More
Dry food for our pets takes an area double the size of the UK

Our last dog existed on a diet of ludicrously expensive dried food supplemented by whatever cheese he could beg and the odd dropped sausage. This time we’ve decided to take a more holistic approach to food. I’ve no idea what that actually means but it sounds better than saying no cheese and sausages.

To help get this right, I decided to do some online research. Always a bad idea. After four hours watching You Tube videos of dogs eating whole hams and beautifully iced Christmas cakes, I happened on the world of vegan dog diets.

Not content with telling everyone within earshot they are vegan, the more crusading followers of the cause have switched their attention to converting dogs, whether they like it or not.

Some say dogs cannot eat a vegan diet because they’re descended from wolves and as a result their digestive systems are not designed for it. These people are wrong. Dogs can survive on a vegetable-and-plant-based diet but a lot of factors have to be taken into account before going down that road.

According to Danielle Dos Santos, Vice President of the British Veterinary Association, "it is theoretically possible to feed a dog a vegetarian diet, 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”.

If you follow a vegan diet and want to go to the lengths of employing a nutritionist to ensure your pet fits in with your lifestyle choices, good luck to you. Each to their own. But spare me the vegan dog food producers who are cashing in on the craze.

Dogs will hump your leg and eat a squirrel given the chance so I think ethics come well below snoozing and eating in their list of daily priorities.

One company even claimed dogs fed a vegan diet live longer and illustrated it with a photo of a dog said to be 20 who looked so miserable, he would probably rather be dead.

So it’s a traditional dog diet for the latest addition to the family but, as a concession to the times, with fewer sausages.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.


Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.