Vegetarian Diets for Dogs and Cats Revisited

Posted on October 17th, 2016

For almost 50 years, as a practicing, clinical veterinarian, I have realized the value and the importance of a vegetarian diet that would offer my patients a healthier, safer way to eat and to live.

I have dogs and cats that have flourished on vegetarian food and have definitely outlived my patients that were fed contaminated meats.

Please realize that the pet food industry has made over $41 billion this year. Many manufacturers have gone into this industry for the money they can make, while ignoring the health problems that they may create.

It is believed that vegetarian pet foods cause enlarged hearts in dogs, due to not providing enough taurine.

It is also believed that the protein sources in vegetarian pet foods are deficient, but this is not true.

If the pet foods contain sun dried tomatoes, soy bean sprouts, winged beans, lentil spouts and baby lima beans, there is more than enough protein present in the diet and vegetable carbohydrates can be easily added.

If a vegetarian diet contains cheese, cottage cheese, eggs and milk and a vegan diet contains granola, oat flakes, and avocados, this supplies pets with a large amount of taurine.

The people of India cherish their animals and have lived on vegetarian diets very successfully, for themselves and their animals for centuries.

PETA says animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in many other ways.

More than 40 some odd years ago, I realized this and designed a homemade vegetarian diet that worked effectively for both canines and felines.

Not only did the dogs and cats relish their foods, which was important, but even more important was the fact that vegetarian foods helped create better health for them.

At this same time many years ago, Mark Morris, Sr., the creator of Hill’s Science Diet, had taken me under his wing as the “Holistic Veterinarian of California”.

I sent my homemade vegetarian diet ingredients to Dr. Morris and he reviewed my formulation and said “Al, because you are using a vegetable based diet that has 20 parts of phosphorus to one part of calcium, I would suggest adding some extra calcium to your formulation”, which I did.

Having my own formula really worked out well, because I knew what was in the actual diet and it helped me diagnose a real food allergy, as opposed to a commercial pet food with a label that might not reflect what was actually in the can or bag. Unfortunately, if you did not realize this, it made it very difficult to identify a food sensitivity and properly treat your patient.

My homemade vegetarian diet worked well until one evening, when I received a phone call from an irate husband stating that, “I am in my kitchen and my wife is standing in front of a five foot stack of carrots, and unless you do a commercial vegetarian pet food, you will be history”.

He did get my attention, so I contacted Breeder’s Choice Pet Foods.

Not knowing how to preserve foods, I began to think possibly a frozen loaf with clean water was the way to go. This was the birth of Naturally Yours Pet Foods for dogs and cats.

The food consisted mainly at that time of carrots, celery, soybeans, rice and garlic salt. One evening a husband came home with the ”munchies” and decided to raid the refrigerator.

The first thing he saw and ate, according to his wife, was my loaf of Naturally Yours vegetarian pet food with crackers!

If nothing more, he thought it tasted great and his wife said it was healthy.

Breeders Choice also baked the same product that was definitely fit for human consumption as well. I really cannot thank Hal Taylor and his sons with Breeder’s Choice enough for believing in me and producing my vegetarian pet food.    

As far as I know, this was the first manufactured vegetarian pet food that was created in the United States, and I am glad I was a part of it.

Since that time, more than 40 or more years ago, vegetarian diets have really come into prominence.

When you think about pet foods that include contaminated, condemned meat sources, why would you even consider feeding your “best friend” a type of food you would never eat or feed to your family?

Chapman University just completed a DNA study of 50 dog and cat foods with meats, and found 20 of those foods contained meat substances that were not printed on the label!

There are a number of commercial vegetarian pet foods available today.

These foods come in different forms, including fresh, canned and dry. However, there are many concerned and informed pet owners that are also making their own vegetarian pet foods at home.

Unfortunately today’s vegetarian diets, whether manufactured or created at home, need to use only ingredients that have been properly labeled, so you can tell if the food is organic or not.

Today’s food markets are so fraudulent with their sales of food products that they sell us, which may cause us to eat and feed our family and our family pets, food products that may have been sprayed with damaging pesticides and grown from damaging GMO seeds.

If the vegetarian food product does not contain a label do not buy it, because it may have been grown from a GMO seed.

Hopefully, we are all trying to avoid the use of GMO fruits and vegetables, because they may have been sprayed with pesticides, including those pesticides that contain glyphosates.

Recently the World Health Organization has listed glyphosates as being a possible carcinogen (cancer producing).

Whether you purchase fresh vegetables or purchase a manufactured vegetarian pet food, try to make sure that the ingredients in that food are organic, so they will not be covered in pesticides that can be estrogen mimickers called xenoestrogens.

Xenoestrogens can cause allergies, autoimmunity, and cancer.

These are only my thoughts, but the time has come to never buy any vegetarian product that is not labeled properly.

This is the only way you will be able avoid major diseases for you, your family, and your family pets.

Now that vegetarian diets have been recognized as very important for human and pet health, my studies have moved into the endocrine regulation of the immune system, and the realization that elevated total estrogen, which includes adrenal estrogen, is caused by the production of imbalanced cortisol. This is not being measured by the medical profession and is the cause of allergies, autoimmunity, and cancer in humans and in animals.

For more information on all these subjects, please go to

Hopefully my thoughts will be of value to you and help you, your family and your family pet, live a happier, healthier, longer life.


Dr. AL Plechner