All dogs share the same basic digestive system despite the range of physical variations (and attitudes) across different breeds. Every dog is designed to eat a raw animal-based diet, from the Chihuahua to the Great Dane. Breed-specific dog food brands are simply a marketing gimmick aimed at playing on the pet owner’s emotions, and their desire to feed their pet the best possible diet.

Seeking advice after vegan dog's death

My mother’s dog Mia (a shih tzu-maltese cross) died yesterday morning in her sleep at the age of 2 and a half. I think the vegan diet she and my sisters dog (Jack, same breed) are being kept on is at least partially to blame; they’ve both had a few minor health issues that I think could be traced back to malnutrition- Mia especially had a problem with nervously chewing on herself (she had to wear a cone at all times). Back when I moved in, my sister and mother both assured me that they had done their research and knew what they were doing, so I didn’t press the issue, despite being against the idea of keeping meat away from dogs. But Mia’s death has brought that into question. She didn’t show any signs she was in distress before she passed, other than lethargy, and she had started to refuse to eat about a day before. I don’t know what it was that ‘dealt the final blow’ so to speak. I guess I kinda want some advice on how to broach the issue to a grieving family so that at least Jack won’t suffer the same fate. And if you know anything notable about the vegan pets debate, I guess that’d help too.

While I don’t think anyone should feed their dog vegan unless there is no other option, I’ll reserve judgement on whether or not diet is related to the dog’s death.

Things to consider in this situation:

Dog Food Advisor is a good place to start if looking for a commercially prepared food.

raw-fed-pets has answers and resources for anyone curious about switching to a raw meat diet.

If anyone wants to weigh in on the human side of the matter - and on where to find correctly balanced dog food recipes…

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Starting them young. You can see that their natural instinct is geared toward ripping and tearing meat, as opposed to swallowing pelleted carbohydrates whole.

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Anatomy of a Carnivore

'Some typical features common to carnivores are a large mouth opening, a single hinge joint that lays in the same plane as the teeth, and a large primary muscle on the side of the head for operating the jaw. The teeth are short and pointed, made for grasping and shredding. These teeth come together to give a cutting motion and act like shears'.

'Carnivores do not have digestive enzymes in their saliva. Humans have amylase, which helps to begin to break down complex carbohydrates. The dogs digestive tract is one-third to one-half the length of an omnivore. This shortness is designed for adaption for quick, muscular digestion of raw meat and bones. Carnivores have a much higher concentration of hydrochloric acid in the stomach for break down of proteins and to kill any dangerous bacteria'.

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Make Your Own Cheap 100% Healthy Pet Treats

These are great for owners who go through a lot of treats and need something completely natural and lean. Many processed treats these days have ingredients manufactured in China and use a high amount of toxic preservatives. There is no flour, sugar, preservatives, carbohydrates - just lean muscle meat, no cooking required. This is definitely one to try at home, your dog or cat will go crazy for these.

1) Buy raw heart from the butcher (eg beef, lamb, pork). It is dirt cheap and you will be able to make a lot of treats out of a small amount.

2) Chop into small squares, spread evenly on a plate (dont overlap) and place in fridge uncovered. Smaller pieces dry faster than large pieces. Remember basic hygiene since you are handling raw meat.

3) Leave in fridge 2-4 days until dry. Turning them daily will help them dry faster. Once dry they will look like jerky, and you can store in an airtight container in your cupboard for a few weeks.

4) Teach pet valuable new life skill and and reward pet for his/her efforts.