Why Go Vegan?

According to Albert Einstein,

"Nothing will Benefit human health and increase the chances for survival on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet".

The truth of this statement is echoed around the world today as people are becoming more aware of the health and lifestyle benefits of eating vegetarian food and purchasing vegetarian products.

As result of this recent surge in popularity, there has been increased pressure on manufacturers to develop vegan and vegetarian products to meet the demand. Vegetarian products have become increasingly available to the consumer, and restaurants serving vegan & vegetarian foods are steadily increasing.

Vegetarian derives from the Latin word vegetus meaning, ‘whole, sound, fresh or lively’. The meaning of the word today implies a balanced, philosophical and moral sense of life, a lot more than just a diet of fruit and vegetables.

Vegan is the next logical step in vegetarianism which omits eggs and dairy products from a diet, so that the lifestyle consists purely of vegetable-based products. As people change their own personal eating and living habits, they also seek alternatives for their companion animals.

Previously, there was a mistaken belief that dogs are predominantly carnivorous and cats obligate carnivore, eating only meat and small amounts of vegetables. However, my studies indicate that companion animals can live a healthy and active life on vegetarian or vegan food. With the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in the UK in 2001 and the occurrence of Mad Cow Disease most recently in China, along with the bird flu in Asia and fish flesh containing dangerous amounts of Dioxins & Mercury. People are becoming more concerned about what dangers lurk in the offal and meat that they feed their cherished pets.

Why Vegan Pets?

Although the dog and cat have about equal status as companion animals, they are two totally different species. Things you can feed to a dog can be poison to a cat (for example, aspirin). Aspirin reacts in a dog about the same as it does in a person, but is poison to a cat. A dog can live on commercial cat food but a cat will die if fed only dog food.

There is a huge difference in dogs’ and cats’ physiological, behavioural and dietary habits. Dogs evolved from an omnivorous species, while cats evolved from a strictly carnivorous diet. The shorter gastrointestinal tract of the cat results in a rapid rate of passage and therefore lower digestibility of foods than the dog. Because of this there are many very special needs in a cat’s diet. These differences are the cat’s unique energy and glucose metabolism, higher protein requirement, need for the amino acid, taurine, sensitivity to a deficiency of the amino acid, arginine, inability to convert beta-carotene to active vitamin A, the inability to convert the amino acid, tryptophan, to niacin and the inability to convert linoleic acid effectively into essential long-chain fatty acids. This is why many vets and nutritionists say cats cannot be vegan but dogs can be if given a nutritionally balanced diet. For several years I have been working on making a dry extruded dog and cat food using vegan alternatives to supply all of the cat’s and dog’s nutritional needs. I have extended this knowledge now to include complete and balanced food for pups and kittens.

Veganpet meets the NRC and AAFCO standards and when safe, exceeds them. The body’s basic building, energising and replacing materials can come from a meat or chicken source or from a soybean, seaweed source. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that the basic cellular structure is the same from either source. I have now found all the vegan alternatives and am able to produce nutritionally-balanced food for both cats and dogs. Proteins are complex molecules. Amino acids form the basic units of protein. There are 22 alpha amino acids. Dogs and cats are able to synthesise 12 amino acids at a sufficient rate to meet their body’s needs for growth, performance and maintenance. These are called non-essential amino acids. They can either be supplied in the diet or synthesised by the body. The remaining 10 amino acids cannot be synthesised at a sufficient rate to meet the body’s needs. These are called essential amino acids and must be supplied in the pet’s diet. Cats have an added requirement for taurine, a beta amino acid. Animals are unable to store excess amino acids.

As well as providing the necessary amount of protein, I have also provided natural enzymes to break the protein down into readily absorbable essential and non essential amino acids. The actual essential amino acids are also added to ensure there is sufficient available to the digestive process.

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