Can a Beagle be Vegetarian?

I get tons of emails from our readers asking whether or not their beagle can thrive on a diet without meat. If you are a vegetarian, even you might have had the same question. So can a beagle be vegetarian?

Beagles are omnivores animals; they can eat meat as well as plant-based food. A beagle can flourish being a vegetarian if its diet is constructed carefully without missing out on any essential nutrient.

What’s Better for your Beagle?

To find out which diet is better for your beagle, first let’s dig into their past. All dogs, including beagles, are descendants to wolves. Wolves are wild animals, and they hunt down small animals to eat. Apart from that, beagles were explicitly bred for hunting small animals. Their history strongly suggests that they are used to eating meat. Even after being domesticated, they were fed meat from other animals.

Beagle’s haven’t got a fair amount of time to evolve for a completely vegetarian diet. You might have noticed your pooch poop out carrots that you fed him yesterday. This is because the beagle’s digestive tracts are not completely capable of breaking down the cellulose. In simpler words, beagles are supposed to eat meat. It is their essential requirement.

But for some reason, if you still want your beagle to be vegetarian, then good news for you, it is totally doable. Quite a few people have made their dogs vegetarian. But you will have to carefully create a diet that can cover all the essential nutrients necessary for a dog. You will have to do a lot of trials and errors with various foods and see what food his body accepts well. Then slowly and gradually switch to a vegetarian diet.

Pros of a Vegetarian Diet

  • Some dogs have allergies with a protein present in animal meat. If your beagle is suffering from such allergies, then switching to a vegetarian diet can sometimes be beneficial.
  • There have been few cases where switching to a vegetarian diet of a dog with a sensitive stomach helped.

Cons of a Vegetarian Diet

  • A vegetarian diet for a beagle should be constructed very carefully. Not adding an ingredient with essential nutrients can be dangerous for your beagle’s health.
  • A poorly planned vegetarian diet can increase the chances of blindness and other health concerns.
  • Adequate research has not been done to find out whether or not a dog can thrive on a vegetable diet.
  • It will be hard for the beagle to accept it if he knows the taste of meat.
  • It is not Recommended for Beagle puppies. DO NOT put a puppy on a vegetarian diet, and it will mess with their growth and development.

Training your Beagle to be Vegetarian

Well, you cannot just change your pooch’s diet; you need to train your beagle and its body to accept it.

  1. The first step is to consult your vet. Talk with your vet about your plan to make your beagle vegetarian.
  2. The second step is  Research. Put a lot of time researching the nutritional needs of a beagle. Then put even more time finding out various vegetarian diets that can provide adequate nutrients to your pooch.
  3. Once you are done with research, now you will have to introduce plant-based food slowly and gradually. Do not just stop feeding meat. Beagles love the taste of meat. Introduce one item at a time. If your beagle doesn’t eat it, then try to find more creative ways to feed it. Try adding peanut butter. The transition from meat to plant-based food should be done slowly over several months.
  4. Look for any signs of allergies. Whenever you introduce a new item, make sure he is not allergic to it.
  5. Ensure that the diet is fulfilling your pooch’s protein requirement.
  6. Keep a check on your pooch’s weight. See to it that the plant-based diet is not making your beagle lose its weight.

Vegetarian Dog-food Recommendations

Not many companies manufacture vegetarian dog-food. But we have tried out best to find the appropriate and healthy dog-foods.

Halo Holistic Garden of Vegan Dog-food

This is not just vegetarian, but its Vegan. Their website claims that they are capable of providing a well balanced Vegan food for dogs. Two of their most-used ingredients are Peas and chickpeas, and their product does not contain rice in it. You can get it on Amazon.

Natural Balance Vegetarian Dry Dog Food

This product contains high-quality peas, brown rice, oatmeal, and potatoes. They claim that every batch of product goes through 9 different safety tests. The brand is quite well known and established. You can find it on Amazon.

The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Fruit & Veggie Dehydrated

Another great product by a reputed brand. It is a dehydrated food, in which all you need to do is add warm water to the serving and wait for around 3 minutes. However, I am not sure if they are capable of providing a meat-less diet. You can check it out on Amazon.

Buyers Guide

Check for AAFCO statement: AAFCO or The Association of American Feed Control Officials has criteria nutritional requirements for dog-foods. Check for if vegetarian food is AAFCO approved so that you can be assured that the dog food has enough nutrients.

Taurine and l-carnitine deficiency can affect the health of a dog’s heart. So make sure that the dog food has these listed.

Stay Away from dog-foods with artificial preservatives and food colors.

Switching the Food

The transition from a meat-based food to a plant-based manufactured food should be done slowly. Mix a small amount of veg-food with your beagle’s old dog-food. Gradually increase the amount. This transition should be done over the course of 2 to 3 weeks.

Final Thoughts

I will still try to convince you not to switch to an entirely plant-based diet of your beagle. Beagles are not supposed to be vegetarians. It’s better not to go against nature. And if your beagle is under 16 months, then please feed him high-quality meat-based dog food and do not even think of making him vegetarian.