Putting your dog on a vegetarian diet could result in a fine.
Choosing a diet for your dog is more difficult than ever, with a growing number of individuals feeding their pets in unconventional ways, including some who choose a vegan or vegetarian diet.
But, could forcing your dog to eat a meat-free diet or picking a specific method of feeding them get you in trouble?
You may believe that feeding your dog a certain food is entirely up to you, but you may be breaking animal welfare rules.
According to the Animal Welfare Act of 2006, you must give your dog a “appropriate diet,” which means you could face legal action if the diet you chose doesn’t meet that criteria.
According to the Blue Cross, the act imposes a legal obligation on all British pet owners to provide for their pets’ welfare requirements.
All domestic animals have the legal right to exist in an appropriate habitat, eat a suitable diet, exhibit normal behavior patterns, be kept with or separate from other animals, and be protected from pain, suffering, damage, and sickness, according to section nine of the act.
Vegan or vegetarian diets are not mentioned in the recommendations for a nutritious diet for dogs, but any diet, from wet food or raw food to dry kibble, should “meet all of your dog’s nutritional demands.”
“In the UK, under the Animal Welfare Act, the owner has the obligation to offer the animal a suitable diet,” Daniella Dos Santos, president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), said in 2020.
“It’s great if you don’t want to eat any animal protein because of your personal beliefs, but that diet isn’t designed to meet your pet’s welfare standards.”
She noted at the time that feeding a dog a vegetarian diet was technically doable, but only under the care of an expert to ensure that it received all of the necessary nutrients.
“It is theoretically conceivable to feed a dog a vegetarian diet, but getting it wrong is much easier than doing it right,” she explained. “You’d have to do that under the guidance of a dietician with veterinary training.”
So, what happens if the “summary” comes to an end?