WinnieBeing dog owning vegetarians in the UK posed no problems to Jocelyn and I. There is a ready supply of excellent vegetarian dog food there, which is nutritious and which our dogs loved. When we moved to France we brought over a huge supply with us and then set about finding a source here. We were also presented with another mission after our arrival – a couple of cats took up residence in our barn. We’d never had feline friends before and although they were looking after themselves to a degree, we knew that they’d been cared for by an elderly neighbour who’d passed away so they needed to be looked after. They soon let us know that by meowing twice a day – they’d obviously been fed on a regular basis.

We’d kept dogs for many years and had always provided them with a meat free diet before our move. Many people ask, ‘Can dogs be vegetarian?’ The answer is, ‘Yes, dogs have no problem whatsoever being vegetarian. They can get all the nutrition they require from non-animal sources’. Thousands of dogs live off vegetarian diets without any problems; in India dogs have been fed exclusively vegetarian food for centuries. Some health problems are actually alleviated by omitting meat completely – vegetarian diets can relieve arthritis, skin problems and obesity in dogs. Vegetarian dog food manufacturers take a lot of care to ensure that their products are well balanced and supply all the essential nutrition required.

BrambleWhat about cats? We’d heard that it isn’t possible for domestic cats to survive on a meat-free diet. We refused to take this for granted though and set about doing some research. We discovered that with a well-prepared diet cats can be vegetarian – in fact they can even be vegan. Members of the cat family are unable to produce certain nutrients such as taurine in their bodies. Wild cats such as lions and tigers need to obtain these nutrients from meat. These nutrients can however be found in low quantities in vegetable sources and it is also possible to produce these nutrients synthetically.

Manufacturers now add high concentrates of them to vegetarian and vegan cat food – in fact many meat-based commercial cat foods also have them added because they are often destroyed during the production process.

So – back to our search for veggie-friendly dog and cat food. We soon found that it was difficult to obtain it in French shops and supermarkets. We could get hold of rice, pasta and biscuits specially produced for dogs, but they were supplements rather than complete food. So we turned to the internet where we discovered a number of companies that deliver by mail order – a system that we’ve become increasingly reliant on in rural France for many supplies. ‘Alternature’ and ‘Zooplus’ are two companies that we now regularly use and we have found them both to be reliable suppliers of vegetarian dog and cat food. that our pets thoroughly enjoy eating.

Alternature supply Benevo cat food (biscuits), Ami Cat food (biscuits) and Vegusto “Cat Fix” cat food (wet food).

Zooplus supply Pitti Boris croquettes for dogs, Yarrah croquettes for dogs and Yarrah dog biscuits.

These are formulated to provide the essential nutrients that your animals need. Ami Cat, for example, is produced with entirely natural vegetarian ingredients, food dyes, GMO ingredients or artificial preservatives. It is a complete and balanced food, enriched with Taurine, and formulated to keep your cat in the best of health.

On the pet counter at most supermarkets we have found milk for cats, and this also contains Taurine – yet another way to provide your cat with this.

Both of our dogs and all of our cats (we now have four) devour the vegetarian food we provide for them with obvious pleasure and they are all healthy, lively happy animals. We are also happy in the knowledge that no animals have been killed to provide them with their food.

Trevor Bridge
Le Fayard
16450 St Claud

February 2011

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