If you’re a dog owner, you probably know that your dog will eat just about anything they can get their paws on, even the things they shouldn’t! Sometimes, we can get a little bit carried away with treats under the dinner table, which is why - according to the Pet Food Manufacturers' Association - 51% of dogs are overweight.
Dogs might love the idea of eating whatever’s on offer, but they definitely shouldn’t. Plenty of human foods - from chocolate to onions, even avocado - can be lethal to dogs. Dog-friendly treats are OK once in a while, but otherwise, your pup should be on a diet designed to give them everything they need to live a long, healthy life.
Which brings us to the big question: what is a healthy dog diet?
Are dogs carnivores?
The debate over whether dogs need meat has been raging for a while. The pro-meat argument is that dogs are descended from wolves, and are part of the order Carnivora. That means carnivore. So of course they need meat, right?
Nope. While there are good points to be made when it comes to the benefits of meat-based dog foods, this particular argument is based on a misunderstanding. Dogs aren’t carnivores. Physiologically, they’re omnivores, just like us. Back in the early days of domestication, our furry companions survived on our scraps, which meant they evolved to eat anything we did.
The confusion might stem from the fact that, while dogs are omnivores and definitely don’t need meat, they do need protein. A balanced chunk of your dog’s food should be protein (from any source!) balanced out with plenty of vitamins - notably Vitamin D, which dogs can’t produce themselves - and minerals. The fact that cats, man’s other best friend, are obligate carnivores (they never adapted to an omnivorous diet) and can’t handle a meat-free diet, could also be a factor in the confusion.
Assuming the food they’re being fed is properly balanced and complete, dogs can thrive on pretty much anything. In fact, many dogs subsist entirely on vegetarian diets around the world, such as in India, where around 40% of humans are thought to be vegetarian, and feed their dogs a similar diet. In fact, feeding your pup a meat-only diet means they could be missing out on vital nutrients.
(And, whatever you’ve heard about wolves, they eat their veggies too.)
So, can I feed my dog a vegan diet?
Assuming the meat proteins and vitamins from traditional dog foods are substituted with a suitable alternative, dogs can be perfectly happy on a vegan diet.
The issue with full-vegan diets isn’t actually the protein source, but rather ensuring the correct levels of amino acids. Generally speaking, you find fewer essential amino acids in plants than in meat and need to adjust accordingly. As well as amino acids, the essential nature of Vitamin D presents an interesting challenge. While the plant-based D2 Vitamin is used in the US, currently, in the EU, no plant-derived Vitamin D source is approved for use in dog food.
As such, plant-based dog foods in Europe are supplemented with D3, which is derived from sheep’s wool.This means any plant-based dog food - at least in the EU - can only be at most 99.9% vegan. Despite this, predominantly plant-based food is still a great choice for owners, and a fantastic alternative to meat-based food, providing everything a dog needs with minimal animal impact.
Whatever your decision, we should all be aiming to change our diets and our pets' diets to try and minimise the impact the meat industry has on our world. The livestock industry is one of the biggest contributors of greenhouse emissions, and our pet pups and kitties eat 20% of all the meat and fish produced worldwide! For some, switching their dog onto a plant-based diet might be too big a step to take.
But what if there was a third option?
The third option
There are plenty of reasons to switch your dog’s food. Environmental concerns are a big one, but as an owner, you might also be worried about where the meat in your furry friend’s food is coming from. Recent global events have given us all pause for thought when it comes to the potential transmission of diseases from animals, and what else is in our food.
Similarly, you might have noticed a negative change in your dog’s behaviour, and think their food might be to blame. It could be a natural change in your pup's tummy or, potentially, a negative reaction to the ingredients or additives which can be found in certain mass-produced meat-based foods.
At Percuro, we know there are multiple good reasons to move away from traditional dog foods. That’s why we came up with our innovative, revolutionary clean insect protein dog food, to push for real change in the dog food industry and give owners a choice. An alternative to both traditional dog foods and vegan diets, our recipe has been formulated by nutritionists to ensure it’s packed full of all the good stuff your dog needs, including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. There’s no need to worry about the traditional livestock products in our food because there aren’t any: we don’t use any traditional livestock products in our recipes.
All the animal protein in Percuro comes from a very novel source: insect protein! Specifically, a particularly ingenious little larva called Hermetiaillucens. Insects are an outstanding source of protein, without many of the common drawbacks of traditional meats. Rather than sourcing our meat from leftovers from the human food industry, our larvae are 100% sustainably sourced and grown by eating the planted-based by-products from the human food production stream that would otherwise be destined for landfill.
The larvae used in Percuro are raised in a clean environment and given everything they need to thrive, ensuring the best quality final product. The crude protein production process has a minimal environmental impact, and the protein is combined with a whole host of healthy goodies in our vet-approved, hypoallergenic recipe, ensuring everything from healthy skin to a smooth coat and plenty of energy.
Percuro is a great alternative to fully meat-based and vegan diets. We believe it’s a real revolution in dog food, and that your pup will love it! To learn more, click here, or to find the right blend for your dog, visit our shop.