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Tuesday, 3 April 2012

In a pickle


Like lots of people, I'm trying to save the pennies at the moment in any way I can. I'm vegetarian, but my husband and two children do eat meat. I was thinking of taking my dog (Fred, a Smooth Collie) off canned food and feeding him the same food my family eats. Would this be okay for him?

My family all eat organic food and this is something I'm keen to feed Fred. Does he need to have much meat? He's currently on a well-known brand of canned dog food but I'm not sure how much meat is in it anyway and how much is cereals. I've heard of veggie dogs but I'm not sure how good this is for them as I always thought they were carnivores. Can I feed him a mainly veg diet? I do not want to compromise Fred's health. How many vegetables are safe to give them, and are there any I should avoid?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Annette Robertson, by email


  1. Personally, I wouldn't feed my dog a veggie diet; however there is an easy way to calculate the cost per day of your - or any other - dog food, though first you need to know the price of the dog food, and the recommended feeding guidelines.

    As an example, if Fred weighs 20Kg, and needs to be fed 200g of food X per day, and you can buy a 15Kg sack of X for £25, then you would do the following: -
    First, find out the number of "servings" in your sack: 15,000g (15Kg) divided by 200g (daily portion) equals 75, so the sack of X will feed your dog for 75 days.
    Next, you divide £25 (cost of sack) by 75 (days the sack lasts), that equals 0.33 recurring.
    So the sack of X would cost you 0.34 pence per day to feed Fred; do this for several different foods, and you'll soon see what each will cost you, and how long each will last. Of course, you do need to take into account the quality of the ingredients in the food - a food made up mainly of cereals will not be as good for Fred as one made of mostly meat.

  2. I know it sounds contradictory to the fact that you're on a budget, but I also am, and I manage to feed James Wellbeloved. As was said already, dividing the cost by the daily feeds and how much is in a bag will tell you your daily cost, however it doesn't work out as expensive as you might think. Because the ingredients are top quality and natural, you find that you don't need to feed the great quantities that you do of other, less nutritional brands. As well as this, I feed my Border Collie a mixture of vegetables throughout the day whilst training and sometimes mixed with her dried food - she loves broccoli and carrot, and these have valuable vitamins in, although I'd steer clear of a vegetable based diet. I do honestly think that foods such as James Wellbeloved, Burns, and others, provide the essential balanced diet that a dog needs - any additional titbits can be used for variation (in my opinion). The other thing is, if you buy online, with a company that offers free delivery, you can save a LOT compared to high street petshops on top brands.

  3. Hi,
    I have an Akita on a vegetarian diet, and know others with vegetarian dogs. It's not especially cheap but health wise she is great :) There are many different brands etc.. to choose from you just need to ensure a healthy balance! If Fred is used to meat it's probably a good idea to introduce the diet gradually as he may take a while to adjust to the change. One of the factors in choosing a vegetarian diet for us was the amount of derivatives and additives in the majority of meaty dog foods... the protein etc from meat which he will miss can be made up for with various other foods you'll just need a period of trial and error to discover what he likes.

    Hope that's helpful X

  4. The main thing to remember is that dogs are carnivores.
    Whilst you can move them over to a veggie diet, this is not natural for them, and also to ensure you are providing a proper balance of nutrients you are going to have to be very concious about what you are feeding them. It can be done, but realistically is it fair to your dog?
    If you are looking to save money and don't want to handle meat the simplest thing to do is to move Fred onto a dry dog food.
    You can then provide veggies as treats- my lurchers love carrots!
    the main veggies to avoid are Onions, as they can be very toxic, and some veg- for example potatoes should be cooked.
    Good luck with whatever you end up doing!