A happy and healthy dog – this is every dog parent’s ultimate dream. Whether you have a houseful of pets or brought home a newborn pup, you want them to be at their healthiest. However, if you have ever taken care of a pet dog, you would know that it is a huge responsibility.
Ensuring the health and wellbeing of your dog involves various aspects, such as taking them for scheduled vaccination and dental exams. It is just as important to provide them with a balanced and nutrient-rich diet to ensure proper physical and mental development. Food, after all, is the fuel that will help them continue to be their playful selves.
Challenges of Finding the Right Dog Food
If you are a new pet parent, you will likely have a plethora of questions regarding your dog’s diet. Can dogs eat horse meat? What is the best way to feed meat to your dog? Can your dog survive on a plant-based diet?
These questions will start racing through your mind every time you think about feeding your dog. Consequently, you will turn to the internet to find useful advice for the right canine diet. But the plethora of information and myths circulating on search engines will leave you even more confused.
Moreover, with the diverse assortment of dog food available in supermarkets and online stores, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Whether you are looking for kibble or canned food, chances are you will be spoilt for choice. However, it is essential to select the right type of food so that your dog receives all the vital nutrients.
In the age of the internet, it is also crucial to watch out for canine diet trends and fads. From the green bean dog diet to grain-free dog food – you’ll find various popular doggie diet trends on Google. Likewise, in recent years, horse meat for dogs has become a raging topic of debate within the online pet community.
But can dogs eat horse meat? Is it even legal and where can you get it? Does it offer any significant benefits over other meats, such as beef and pork? In this blog, we will explore the answers to all these questions. But let us first understand why meat is such an integral part of every dog’s diet.
Why Your Dog Needs Meat
First things first – contrary to popular belief, dogs aren’t carnivores. Instead, they are omnivores, which means they can survive on a meat-based, plant-based, or mixed diet. However, meat is an integral component of your dog’s overall physical growth.
Image via ScienceNorway
This is because all meats are an excellent source of essential amino acids i.e. proteins. These proteins provide your dog with the energy to go about their day. They are also instrumental in promoting muscle growth. Moreover, proteins are crucial for the development of essential hormones and enzymes that facilitate various physiological functions.
Of course, plant-based ingredients, such as legumes, pulses, and seeds, can also fulfill your dog’s daily requirement of proteins. However, these ingredients are alkaline in nature. This, in turn, means they won’t help your dog digest tougher substances, including bones.
A meat-based diet, on the other hand, creates an acidic gut environment that is more suitable for digesting bones. Also, it helps kill harmful pathogens and prevent diseases, such as urinary tract infections. The best part is that most dogs love the taste of meat. That’s why a meat-based diet is always more preferable for your dog.
It is, however, essential to select the right type of meat according to your dog’s dietary preferences and health. Typically, you can choose from the following meats for your dog:
Needless to say, red meat, including beef, pork, and lamb, is rich in fats and can lead to obesity. Poultry meats, such as chicken and turkey, are leaner and considered to be healthier options. Some dog parents also feed fish, such as salmon and tuna, to their dogs. This is a great idea considering that these fishes are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Horse Meat for Dogs: Is It Safe?
If you have been following online canine diet trends, you have likely come across the topic of horse meat for dogs. While some dog parents shudder at the thought of feeding horse meat to their canine friends, others are more receptive to the idea. So, let’s dig deeper and find out whether feeding horse meat to your dog is a good idea.
The History of Horse Meat
You would be surprised to know that the use of horse meat in dog food isn’t a new concept. Traditionally, horse meat used to be a staple ingredient of canned dog food until the 1940s. There wasn’t any stigma associated with the consumption of horse meat either.
In fact, in the 1920s, many horse slaughterhouses started their own pet food companies to utilize excess horse meat. However, the start of World War II in 1939 resulted in a steady decline in the availability of horses for consumption.
It was also accompanied by an increased perception of horses as pets, just like dogs and cats. This was especially prominent in western culture. Eventually, it discouraged most people from consuming horse meat and feeding it to their pets.
Nevertheless, horse meat continues to be a regular food item in various countries, including China, Indonesia, Japan, Germany, Belgium, etc. But it has been banned or stigmatized for consumption in the U.S., U.K, Brazil, Australia, and several other countries.
However, in the last few years, a few pet food brands have brought horse meat back into the market. This has compelled dog parents to weigh the pros and cons of incorporating it into their pet’s diet.
Image via Fresco Dog UK
Benefits of Horse Meat
To begin with, horse meat is extremely rich in proteins and other essential nutrients, such as:
- Vitamin B
This, in turn, means feeding horse meat to your dog aids proper muscle development and metabolism. Also, it provides them with adequate energy to carry out various bodily functions. Many dogs on a horse meat diet tend to be livelier and stronger.
Moreover, horse meat is typically leaner than red meat. It contains less cholesterol and nearly half the amount of fat as beef. Likewise, it contains nearly three times less fat than pork. This makes it a great choice for obese dogs.
The best part is that horse meat contains hypoallergenic proteins. So, if your dog is allergic to certain types of meat, including poultry, you can try feeding them horse meat.
A Word of Caution
Before you take the plunge and consider feeding horse meat to your dog, you should also know its shortcomings. The biggest issue with horse meat is its quality. This is because horses aren’t typically bred for consumption unlike poultry or other cattle.
Instead, most of the horse meat that comes to slaughterhouses is from older horses, which affects the taste. It is also more likely to contain residual toxins from medicines administered to the animal. Worse still, it could have been derived from euthanized horses, which, in turn, adversely affects the taste and quality of the meat.
Moreover, depending on where you are living, sourcing horse meat may not always be easy and convenient. While you can purchase canned horse meat for dogs online, you should consider whether it is permissible in your city and neighborhood.
It is also worth mentioning here that horse meat has a slightly tangier taste, which may not appeal to your pooch. It can also be difficult for your dog to digest because their body isn’t used to this type of meat.
Can Dogs Eat Horse Meat? – The Final Verdict
This is more of a moral and ethical dilemma than a question of nourishment. The good news is that horse meat offers a wide range of nutritional benefits for your furry best friend. But while horse meat is safe for consumption for dogs, you should find out how the ingredients are being sourced.
Also, you must carefully assess whether the sudden change in the palette will affect your dog’s eating habits. As a ground-rule, it is always a good idea to consult your vet before making any drastic dietary changes. Also, feed smaller doses of the meat to your dog and see how they are reacting to the taste before finalizing your decision.
Frequently Asked Questions
In this section, we will explore the most common questions related to horse meat for dogs:
Is Horse Meat Safe for Dogs?
As long as the meat has been sourced from a healthy animal, horse meat won’t cause any harm to your dog. On the contrary, it contains various essential nutrients, including proteins, vitamins, and minerals. However, you shouldn’t swap beef or chicken for horse meat without consulting your vet.
Can My Dog Survive on a Plant-Based Diet?
Yes. A vegan or vegetarian diet is suitable for dogs. However, you must ensure that they receive the required dose of essential nutrients. Make sure you provide them with a balanced diet that combines grains, pulses, legumes, and other nutrient-rich plant-based ingredients.
How Should I Feed Meat to My Dog?
Overly processing or cooking the meat reduces its nutritional value. That’s why the best way to include meat in your dog’s diet is to lightly boil it. While raw meat is also a convenient option, make sure it is properly cleaned and free of any toxins.
Have you ever tried feeding horse meat to your dog? Would you consider it as an option? Share your views in the comments section below.