You love your dog. But if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, it might break your heart a little every time you scoop out their chicken and lamb dog food.
So, it might get you wondering — can dogs eat Beyond Meat?
No, dogs shouldn’t eat Beyond Meat because of its fat and sodium content. But your dog likely won’t have adverse health effects if you give them a small piece, and there are alternative ways you can switch your dog over to a vegetarian diet.
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Ingredients in Beyond Meat That Are Bad for Dogs
Such ingredients can cause red blood cell damage, gastrointestinal irritation, and anemia.
Luckily, Beyond Meat doesn’t contain any of these toxic ingredients. But if you’re using the word “Beyond Meat” as a generic term to describe any meat alternative, you’ll want to ensure it doesn’t contain them.
So, what makes Beyond Meat bad for dogs when you give them more than a little taste? It comes down to three primary culprits.
So, naturally, human food tends to contain higher amounts of fat than high-quality dog food. Furthermore, just because Beyond Meat is vegan doesn’t mean it’s fat-free.
Vegetable oils make up Beyond Meat’s top five first ingredients, with expeller-pressed canola oil and refined coconut oil being noteworthy fat sources.
While a little fat won’t hurt your dog and even contributes to health, such as cushioning their organs, it’s easy for your dog to obtain more than their daily fat intake if you feed them a lot of Beyond Meat.
Dogs that consume too much fat can develop obesity, have pancreas problems, and suffer from secondary issues.
Cocoa butter isn’t on this list for the reason you might think. Even though chocolate comes from the same plant as cocoa butter, it typically doesn’t contain enough of the toxic ingredient in chocolate to make it harmful to your dog.
Plus, since cocoa butter is the eighth ingredient in Beyond Meat, there’s even less of a chance your dog will suffer from it.
Nevertheless, cocoa butter is essentially pure fat—it contains approximately 60% saturated fat, 35% monounsaturated fat, and 1% polyunsaturated fat.
So, it’s best to keep your dog away from meat substitutes containing cocoa butter.
There’s a reason that Beyond Burgers taste so good—they contain a lot of sodium. And while your dog may agree at the moment that Beyond Burgers are tasty, their body may not feel the same in the short or long run.
Like humans, dogs need sodium for electrolyte balance and health. When dogs consume sodium in healthy amounts, they’ll benefit from better brain function and improved oxygen delivery.
Unfortunately, Beyond Meat contains excessive amounts of sodium. So, if you use it as a plant-friendly replacement for their regular food, over time, they may develop the following symptoms of too much sodium intake:
Do I Need To Take My Dog to the Vet if They Eat Beyond Meat?
No, you shouldn’t have to take your dog to the vet if they eat Beyond Meat. Since Beyond Meat doesn’t have toxic ingredients, they shouldn’t need emergency treatment (unless they somehow managed to gobble up many boxes of Beyond Meat).
Your dog might also end up vomiting or having diarrhea if they ate a lot of Beyond Meat. While a short bout of this is likely your dog getting the unsettling fake meat out of their system, I’d never discourage you from taking them to the vet whenever you feel it’s necessary.
Of course, if your dog has seizures, went into a coma, or is vomiting or going through diarrhea for prolonged periods, then it’s crucial to take them to the vet immediately.
What About Other Meat Alternatives?
The safest rule of thumb is to never give your dog meat alternatives, especially in meal-sized quantities. But if you feel compelled to do so, make sure the veggie meat doesn’t contain any of the following:
Ideally, you can share a bit of your meat alternative burger or sausage with your dog if you made it from scratch at home. Legumes and many types of vegetables are safe for dogs to eat.
Furthermore, you’ll be able to control how much sodium and fat you add to a homemade meat alternative.
However, it’s still best to approach these foods as something your dog can likely safely have a small bite of, not something that becomes a meal staple.
How To Turn Your Dog Into a Vegetarian?
If you came here with the question “Can dogs eat Beyond Meat?” because the vegetarian or vegan in you is struggling with feeding them meat, you’re in luck.
Like humans, dogs are omnivores. Scientists discovered this by studying their anatomy and watching a dog’s behavior and preferences around vegetarian food.
So, that’s why you see dog food touting labels with sweet potatoes and peas. And you’re likely no stranger to your dog nibbling on some grass when they have an upset stomach.
If you don’t want your dog to have a carnivorous diet, the best and easiest way to keep them healthy and feeling full is to switch them to a Lacto-Ovo diet. That means they’ll eat everything vegetarians do, including eggs and dairy.
As for plant-based foods, dogs can safely consume many types of vegetables, grains, fruit, and legumes.
Can Dogs Go Vegan?
Technically, dogs can go vegan, although many veterinarians caution against it. That’s because you put your dog at risk of not getting enough protein, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
The amino acids taurine and L-carnitine, along with vitamin B12, are of particular concern for dogs on a vegan diet. Therefore, if you choose to have your dog go vegan, you should offer them supplements containing these ingredients.
Furthermore, you should never use Beyond Meat or any other meat substitute as a food source for dogs on a vegan or vegetarian option. Instead, use a combination of whole food sources and supplements to help your dogs meet their calorie and nutritional needs.
The Bottom Line
So, can dogs eat Beyond Meat? Most dogs can eat Beyond Meat in small quantities without adverse health consequences. However, you should avoid feeding your dog Beyond Meat if you run out of dog food or want them to acquire a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Dogs naturally gravitate to meat sources in the wild—you can count on them sticking up their noses to a carrot and making a beeline for the blood-strewn carcass instead.
Therefore, if you’re interested in removing meat from your dog’s diet, I encourage you to speak with your veterinarian. They’ll be able to assess your dog’s health and recommend the right food ratios and supplements to give them to ensure Fido stays healthy and happy.