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Can an ethical vegetarian become a raw feeding dietarian?

To begin this post it’s important to clarify that at Bella and Duke, our mission is to get as many dogs off Kibble (see the problems of Kibble here)and on to a species-specific diet as possible. Our mission is not to judge dog owners on their dietary choices, whether meat eaters or vegetarian. In fact, we offer our complete and total support to any dog owner who feels compassionate enough about their doggy pal to want nothing but the best for them! The bottom line is, above all else, we want to save dog’s lives and we know you do too.  (If you are not familiar with the benefits of species specific raw diet, click here for our post summarising the arguments)

The purpose of this post is to hopefully offer a hand-up to vegetarians who may be struggling to get on board with the idea of keeping raw food in their homes and to put to rest any concerns to do with the smell or texture of the food itself, as well as any ethical conflicts you might be dealing with.

Whether vegetarian for health, religious or ethical reasons, it’s of little surprise that a percentage of us animal lovers and dog owners feel compelled to omit meat from our diet. The catch is that being animal lovers means that we love having animals as both pets and companions, and that means also having their food around! Granted, if you have chosen the way of the vegetarian you probably avoid feeding exotic pets whole mice, but you may still be feeling unsure about keeping raw meat in your home.

When approaching this blog, we wanted to make sure to avoid any sense of trying to create feelings of guilt but the truth is that your dog needs to eat meat and as our valued Facebook group member Paul Scott said, 

We have a choice in what we eat but our dogs don’t. We have to make that choice for them based on the best option from a welfare point of view. A species-specific diet is an obvious choice.’

So if we can agree that our furry friends need meat in their diet, shouldn’t we feed them the best that we possibly can? We would sincerely hope you wouldn’t put your dog on a vegetarian diet, so if being a dog owner means inevitably having meat in the house, wouldn’t it make sense that it is that which is most beneficial to our loyal companion’s health?

When discussing the choice between dog food brands, Rachel Faye, a vegetarian and Bella and Duke subscriber said ‘”Kibble isn’t meat-free, cruelty-free, or environmentally-sound. It’s just bad quality! Vegetarian/vegan options for dogs are full of carbs (sugar central), soy, or the dreaded ‘added vitamins and minerals’. My vegetarianism is a choice, my dog hasn’t made that choice. Despite her being an omnivore and having the ability to digest plants, I don’t believe being 100% plant-based is an optimum diet for her. And if that means me handling tripe, bunny ears, and chicken feet, then that’s fine. Certainly helps with food aggression, she knows mum would never touch her dinner!!’”

man riding bike with dogStill not convinced? At Bella and Duke, we get many inquiries from vegetarians who are concerned about the smell of the food and who are unsure if they will be able to cope with handling the food itself. When handling the food, although portions can be easily separated from the tub using a knife and without direct contact, as an extra precaution, we recommend wearing a pair of gloves, just to make sure no undesired contact happens accidentally.

Our subscriber, supporter and vegetarian, Jane Lax finds this method works best for her. Jane says,“I serve Bella & Duke wearing rubber gloves, it is not smelly and can easily be weighed out to suit the dogs’ weights/activity levels. I want the best for my dogs and Bella and Duke is just that.’

man hugging dog on grassAlthough the majority of Bella and Duke’s customers assure us that our raw food has little to no smell, we know that everybody is different and some people have more sensitive noses than others. To combat this we suggest decanting your dog’s portions into BPA free Tupperware (which will help to avoid hormone disruption), preferably a glass bowl and plastic lid. This type of storage should help to mitigate any unwanted odours. As well as this and to further prevent any unwanted odours, we suggest mixing some essential oils with coconut oil in a glass bowl, which should be kept in the fridge, in a separate compartment to the food itself. If all else fails and you are still being bothered by the smell, then we suggest trying some sprigs of rosemary or thyme which will help to exercise any and all undesirable, meaty smells!

Hopefully, this post has helped to ease your conscience and rid any fears concerning bringing raw meat into your vegetarian home! That said, if anyone reading this is still having doubts then we highly suggest joining our online Facebook community, where our vegetarian members will be more than happy to help you with any questions!

Thank you for reading!

– Oliver Meades

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2 responses to “Can an ethical vegetarian become a raw feeding dietarian?

  1. Would you consider preparation of the food in to frozen nuggets? These can then be placed for eating while still frozen minimising contact by the server.

  2. As a ethical veggie of 30 years….yes, I would consider that for my dog. The less I have to handle the food in its raw state though, the better (in agreement with Marie’s suggestion)

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