Continuing on the thread of last Friday's post, I want to talk for a minute about feeding your pets. People try all the time to force their pets into a diet similar to their own. What we need to remember is that animals have their own dietary needs and we shouldn't force them into something they're not made for.
The worst one I've seen is people feeding their cats a vegan diet. There are some who say they are successful at it. There are others who aren't. Personally, I'd never feed a cat a vegan diet. They are carnivores. They hunt for their own meat in the wild. Dry pet food we feed to cats is made from meat. The wet food we give them is also meat. There are things they eat that don't have to be made of meat, but the bulk of their diet needs to be that.
There was a story I heard about a couple wanting to make a sizable donation to a zoo. Their only requirement was that the tigers had to be fed a vegetarian diet. When the zoo asked them how they expected that to happen when tigers are carnivores and prefer to hunt for live animals, the couple said that they were vegans and didn't believe that anyone had to eat meat. They believed everyone could be shifted to the same diet they were on and be perfectly healthy. The zoo didn't get their donation.
Dogs are different. Dogs are omnivores and can survive on anything. They're opportunistic as well in some circumstances, eating whatever they can find. They love chewing on stuff and if they can eat it, great. If they can't, well, if you've had a dog with chew toys you know what can happen.
I've heard stories from my nieces, who both work at a pet store, that people would come in and ask what kind of pet food that a snake or lizard could eat and then were horrified when they were told that many reptiles needed live food (or at least frozen mice/rats/things like that) to survive. There are some reptiles that can get by with a vegetarian diet, but for the most part they need meat.
A “pet parent” needs to understand the physical requirements of their pets as well as the emotional ones. Pets need love and affection, just as people do. They need to eat balanced diets, just as people do. They need to stay hydrated in all seasons, just as people do. There is so much to think about when taking on the responsibility of living with and caring for a pet.
Okay, the soapbox is getting put away now. (I'm really big on taking care of your fur kids.)