Welcome to Vegepooch! Your one-stop online supplier for vegan/vege pet foods

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 FAQ's

Can dogs be vegetarian/vegan?

Dogs can be healthy and live very well without eating meat. They can thrive on a vegan or vegetarian diet because they can get all of the nutrients they need from non-animal sources. As long as the owner ensures the vegetarian or vegan diet contains sufficient protein and has a balanced formulae of Omega-3 fatty acid and Omega-6 fatty acid, all nutrient requirements will easily be met on a healthy, plant-based diet full of grains and produce.

Can cats be vegetarian/vegan?

Yes! Vegan cats can be extremely healthy. If you are feeding them a proper and balanced vegan diet, cats can sustain safely and successfully as vegans/vegetarians.

Unlike dogs, cats cannot normally live without meat. As domestic cats are part of the wider cat family including lions and tigers, they have inherited many characteristics from their meat-eating ancestors. All cats are often described as “obligate carnivores”, which means that in the wild, if they did not eat meat they would become seriously ill and even die. This is because cats are unable to produce certain nutrients - such as Taurine - within their body that they normally find in the meat they eat.

Cats have much more stringent nutritional needs than to dogs that are difficult - but not impossible - to fulfill from a purely plant-based diet. Cats on vegetarian or vegan diets require that some synthetically produced nutrients - like Taurine - be added to their food formulae.

It is essential to feed your cat a vegan diet properly for optimal health, as not doing so may jeopardize your cat's well-being. While we wish that every cat could be completely vegan without any potential for complications, some cats have systems that just do not mesh well with 100% vegan diets, and they will need special consideration to keep them healthy and happy.

Where do vegan cats get their protein and nutrients, if not from meat?

The answer is the same for cats as it is for humans. Generally, people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet do not find protein intake to be an issue, but rather need to more closely monitor their vitamin and mineral intake. Likewise for cats, it is not a matter of protein intake, but a matter of Taurine (an essential amino acid for cats).  The amino acids, pre-formed Vitamin A (Retinol), Arachidonic Acid, and Cobalamin (Vitamin B-12), can be found in both animal and vegetable sources, and the bio-availability of the nutrients is often as good as or sometimes better in the vegetable source.

Some of these nutrients are synthetically produced. In fact, many commercial cat foods also use these synthetic nutrients because they are often destroyed in the production process. Heat destroys the natural Taurine. Retinol and Arachidonic Acid fall into the same category. B-12 is very easy to obtain from nutritional yeast, brewer's yeast, and/or sea vegetables (kelp, dulse, laver, wakame, nori, and others). Currently, Taurine is not only extracted from animal tissues, but also from seaweed through high biotechnology. Therefore, the fact that cats cannot synthesize Taurine on their own does not make cats can’t be vegan/vegetarian.

Our vegan cat food contains sufficient protein, added synthetically produced Taurine (vegan), and has balanced formulae of Omega-3 fatty acid and Omega-6 fatty acid, supplying enough nutrition to strengthen immunities, prevent imbalances in the immune system, and contribute to healthy skin and shiny fur. The formulae of Calcium Lactate could strengthen cats' bones. Digestive enzyme may build up cats' intestinal health systems. Natural and fine selected grains and vegetables could reduce the source of allergen and reduce the fecal odour.

Isn’t its cruel and unnatural to make your pet vegan?

But… isn’t it also cruel and unethical to kill one animal to feed another? Especially when eating meat is not necessary for companion animals?

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. However, we have witnessed and heard countless success stories of people who have changed their cats and dogs to vegan diets over the years, so it can be accomplished safely when the diet is done correctly. Again, we recommend following the dietary guidelines for your chosen food brands exactly as they are listed by the manufacturer, and that you make sure your companion animals get regular veterinary checkups. When done safely, there is no more risk in a vegan diet for cats or dogs than a non-vegan diet. Additionally, choosing a meat-free diet helps reduce suffering as it removes the “need” to kill one animal to feed another.

Some may say a vegan diet is “not natural”. However, what is natural about a cat eating parts of cow, turkey, salmon or other such creatures that they would never catch in the wild? When there is a can with an entire dead squirrel, mouse, mole, etc. inside, then there will finally be a “natural” cat food. But at this time, such a thing does not exist! And all food we give to companion animals is very different from what they would eat in nature.

We love all animals, but we love our pets as our family. We want the best for them, and we would not be offering such products if they were not safe and had not been proven for over two decades.

What is F.L.U.T.D.?

F.L.U.T.D. is “Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease” fairly common in male cats, because of their anatomy. The risk of urinary tract problems is much less in females than in males. Although both can develop crystals in their bladders that can cause discomfort, females cannot become completely blocked by an aggregation of these crystals. Therefore, urinary tract problems in females are easier and less expensive to fix, and are not as painful and potentially dangerous as they are in males. Male cats have a greater risk for urinary tract complications, so we really must stress that if you want to make your male cats completely vegan, you need to be very dedicated and vigilant when it comes to maintaining their urinary tract health. 

For all cats of both sexes, the following basic rules of prevention ought to be followed as much as possible:

  • Make sure your cat is getting as much water within meals as possible. Wet or canned food is preferable to dry. If your cat will only eat kibble, consider soaking it in water for a few minutes prior to serving. No cat – particularly males – should be eating a diet of just kibble or dry food, as it increases the risk of F.L.U.T.D. issues.
  • Add a digestive enzyme product to every meal. Enzymes aid digestion and reduce metabolic tax on the body. You may also want to consider the Cranimals supplements, as cranberry extract helps acidify the urine and soothe the urinary tract simultaneously.
  • Have your cat’s urine pH checked by a veterinarian or with your own testing strips - not just once but periodically. If the pH is over 6.5, or if crystals are detected in the urine, you may need to introduce a methionine supplement into the diet. Then, have another pH reading done to make sure the supplement has been effective.

 What should I look for when selecting the right food for my pet?

Always go with food that meets the standard established by “Association of American Feed Control Officials” (AAFCO), either by meeting a nutrient profile or by passing a feeding trial. This means that the food is supplemented with vitamins and is nutritionally complete by their definition.

A basic goal of AAFCO is "to provide regulations, standards and enforcement policies to regulate the manufacture, distribution, and sale of animal feeds; resulting in safe, effective and useful food". For more information, visit:

http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+1659&aid=662                 (Adult dogs) 

http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2108&aid=703                 (Puppies)

http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=1+2243+2244&aid=657        (Cats) 

 How do you assure the quality of the products you import into the Australian markets?

AQIS manages quarantine controls at our borders to minimize the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering the country. No food-based product is permitted into Australia without relevant strict quarantine permits being obtained. This avoids any product irradiation or possible environmental contamination caused by the products. 

***Note: AQIS has confirmed that all VegePet products are not irradiated***

 What are “ISO 22000, HACCP and ISO9001” Certified?

Certified

 

ISO 22000/HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) is an international certification standard that defines the requirement of food safety management systems. It is being practiced in many food companies throughout the world. With a tight control and monitoring along the food supply chain - from farms to harvesting, processing, packaging, transportation, storage, retail and finally to the point of final consumption, it concentrates on preventing any possible hazards rather than detecting them after they have already occurred.

ISO9001 is a quality management system defining the most comprehensive quality standards including the design, development, production, installation and servicing of products. Standards and agreements are documented, containing technical specifications or other precise criteria to be used consistently as rules, guidelines, or definitions of characteristics, They ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for a reliable quality level and customer satisfaction.

What are vegetarians?

Vegetarians are those who do not eat any meat, seafood or poultry products, but may eat eggs and/or dairy products such as cheese, butter, yogurt or milk.

What are vegans?

Vegans are those who eat a plant-based diet alone and do not consume any animal products at all. Eliminating meat, dairy and animal products, they promote the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. Vegans eat lots of grains, fruits, vegetables and beans. Wholesome, plant-based products are low in fat, rich in fibre, and contain no cholesterol.

Why do people convert to a vegan diet? Is it beneficial?

A vegan diet may have a number of health benefits including:  

  • Prevention of cancer
  • Easier digestion, as vegetables, fruit, grains and beans are high in fibre
  • Strong immunity, due to the numerous vitamins and minerals present in plants
  • Spiritual and/or ethical peace-of-mind
  • Elimination of animal suffering in factory farms and slaughterhouses
  • Feeding the hungry worldwide by using vegetables and grains for human food (rather than using vegetables and grains to feed animals who will be used for meat)

How can I transition my pet to a vegetarian or vegan diet?

Animals are similar to people – each one is unique. Just as some people can change from one diet to another easily, others may not find it to be as simple. Each pet needs to be treated on a case-by-case basis for how well they adapt to the diet. Some will be able to go 100% vegan quickly and easily - and will thrive on it! Others may need a more cautious approach that is slow in transition.

When transitioning pet to a plant-based diet, the process should be gradual. Start by mixing the vegetarian food in with what you usually serve. Continue to change the portions until there is no meat left. If your efforts are met with resistance, tempt your animal friends by adding soy milk, nutritional yeast flakes (available at natural food stores), olive oil, powdered kelp, vegetarian baby food that doesn't contain onions or other seasonings, or by serving it warm. Many pets enjoy nutritional yeast flakes (which have a cheesy flavor) and pieces of melon, and most love mashed chickpeas and veggie burgers. If your companion animals are addicted to supermarket pet food, it may take longer for them to adapt.

After switching dogs or cats to a vegetarian diet, monitor them closely to make sure their new diet agrees with them, especially if they are still puppies or kittens. Watch for chronic gastrointestinal and skin problems, and note if any new health problems arise. Most dogs’ and cats’ health improves on a vegetarian diet.

However, if you still have any concerns about switching your pet over to a vegetarian diet, you should consult with your veterinarian. Once you get the “okay” to transition your furry family member to a vegetarian diet, get ready to discover that your dog or cat is healthier and happier than ever before. 

What if my pet is a fussy eater?

Changing a pet’s diet is not as easy as it seems. They are like little children. You have to take time to persuade them and be creative when preparing their meals.

Occasionally, a dog will balk at the vegetarian food that may not seem nearly as interesting as the meat flavored food he or she is used to. You may have to add a little flavoring to his food to make it more attractive. Some dogs like a few banana slices or a little peanut butter mixed into their food.

Try adding sauces for extra flavor - many of our customers add things to the dry food to make the food more fun, especially when the pet is recovering from a period of illness and may have a loss of appetite. Some baked beans poured over the top can tempt a dog into scarfing down a bowl of food.

Pets accustomed to wet foods may find the new dry foods a little bland at first. Adding some warm water can help. Be careful about using gravy however, as dogs shouldn't eat onions and most gravies include onion powder (it is potentially poisonous for dogs). Also be aware that gravies and stocks can be high in salt which is not good for dogs either.

One tried technique is to mix one cup of dry dog food with either rice or lentils, and organic stir-fry vegetables. Add in a few drops of sesame oil and mix it together. The aroma of stir-fry veggies and sesame oil is sure to make their mouths water!

At first it might seem much of a hassle and a bit daunting, but if you willing to give it time, tolerance and lots of TLC, the effort you’ve put in won’t go wasted and your beloved companion will thank you for it.

Other fruit and veggies that your pets may like:

  • Broccoli hearts are the sweet stems of broccolis, after we fussy humans have cut all the florets off. They are high in Vitamin C, folic acid, calcium and fibre.
  • Carrots are a popular crunchy snack. They contain pro-Vitamin A carotenes, as well as vitamins B, C, D, E, K, Riboflavin, Niacin, Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorus and Iron.
  • Some cats like cucumber - and this is a good thing as it gives them moisture. Peel the cucumber as it may have been waxed and the skin may be bad for cats.
  • Other vegetables dogs and cats are reported to enjoy are cooked mashed squash, sweet potato, asparagus, broccoli, green beans, peas, tomato juice and celery. Tomato juice can help to prevent cystitis. Cats may also like yeast pates.
  • Apparently cats will get excited by durian fruit which purportedly smells and taste a bit... peculiar! It may be difficult to find at your local supermarket, but most Asian/Oriental grocery stores carry it.
  • Fruit should be fed alone before or after the meal because fruit is high in water and is digested rapidly.

Still have further queries that are not listed? Please drop us an email at support@vegepooch.com.au and we’ll be more than happy to assist!