Meatless Monday: Chief veterinarian at LA Animal Shelter rejects vegan diet, partly because of increase dog poop

A pitch to get LA Shelter dogs to go vegan is being considered despite a recommendation by the city’s chief veterinarian to reject the plan.

Celebrities such as Moby testified in front of the Board of Animal Services Commissioners in Los Angeles last month saying a vegan diet is the way to go for the 30,000 plus dogs who go through the six shelters in theĀ  city.

In a report, the chief veterinarian Dr. Jeremy Prupas says the plan shouldn’t be accepted.

We recognize that individual, private owned dogs can do well on a wide variety of diets (Commercial, Vegetarian, Organic, Gluten-free, Raw, and Vegan). However, that is quite a different population than the group of dogs we encounter daily in our animal shelters.”

But after consulting with clinical nutritionists at veterinary schools at UC Davis and the University of Pennsylvania, a shelter medicine specialist and a veterinary toxicologist who works closely with a pet food company were contacted about the use of vegan dog food in animal shelters..

None of the veterinary specialists thought it would be a good idea to feed shelter dogs a vegan diet. The reasons include:

  • inadequate protein, calcium and phosphorus levels with additional concerns being raised over digestibility and palatiblity issues in feeding a widely varying population of dogs
  • dogs who come to the shelter have injuries and medical conditions and added concerns about meeting energy demands of pregnant or lactating dogs
  • increased fiber content of vegan diet would likely increase fecal bulk and frequency of bowel movements increasi g the workload for shelter staff and making it more difficult to keep shelters clean.

Prupas also raised concerns about the cost. The current cost for dry dog food is $0.87 a pound. A vegan diet would increase the cost to $3.87 a pound.

Advocates for a vegan diet for shelter dogs say it’s the humane thing to do and better for the animals.

A decision will be made this week.


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