Can Dogs Eat Meat Substitutes?

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The Impossible Burger, Beyond Meat, Morningstar, and Boca are just a few of the vegetarian meat offerings on the market. They've made a big splash recently, even ending up in fast-food joints, like Burger King and White Castle.

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While these veggie meats are good for vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores trying to cut back on their meat intake or enjoy meatless Monday, can dogs eat Impossible meat? Should you feed it to your dog, or will there be health repercussions?

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What are some plant-based burger ingredients in dog food?

There are a number of different ways companies are making vegetarian meat. Some of it is vegan, while some of it contains eggs. Usually, they start with a soy or textured vegetable protein in a powder form, or they use wheat gluten. Some "bacons" are made with coconut flakes, while other vegetarian meat is made from mushrooms. Beyond Meat uses soy, mustard seeds, yellow peas, yeast, and the seed of a flowering plant called camelina for its products. The Impossible Burger's top ingredients are soy protein concentrate, sunflower oil, coconut oil, and natural flavors.

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Can dogs eat vegetarian meat substitutes?

Dogs should not eat vegetarian meat substitutes. Though vegetarian meat may in some ways be healthier than real meat for humans depending on the brand and the ingredients that are used, it is not recommended to feed these products to dogs. These foods are highly processed and may contain ingredients that do not agree with your dog's stomach, like high amounts of sodium or certain spices, such as garlic powder or onion powder, which are toxic to dogs.

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Impossible Burgers and other brands were created for human consumption and with human diets in mind. Animals can be sensitive to foods commonly consumed by humans, and these sensitivities may vary between species and breeds. Without further testing, Impossible Burgers and other products are not recommended to be served to pets.

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What are the concerns with feeding vegetarian meat to dogs?

Vegetarian meats contain soy. Is soy bad for dogs? Well, there have been some health risks linked to soy. For instance, it could increase estrogen production in your dog, and it's not good for dogs with hypothyroidism. Also, vegetarian meats may have onion or garlic in them, which can be toxic for dogs if consumed. You don't necessarily know what goes into the "natural flavors" in a veggie burger, so it's best to avoid feeding your dog these vegetarian meats altogether.

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If you want to give your dog some human food as a treat, look to sources other than meat substitutes. If you eat meat, you can feel free to give your dog some boiled chicken breast (without the bones) or cooked hamburger meat without any spices, salt, garlic, or onions. You can cook it with carrots and zucchini and serve white rice, couscous, eggs with little to no yolk, or a small amount of low-fat cheese on the side. Your dog will be one happy pup with that meal.

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If you don't eat meat, there are plenty of vegetables you can give your dog that they will love. Try giving your dog some cooked sweet potato, green beans, or peas.

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Another alternative is to make your own veggie burgers using only vegetables your dog can eat and eggs with little to no yolk to hold together the burger while you cook it. Remember to avoid any garlic or onion ingredients and unsafe greens, like parsley or high quantities of spinach.

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In summary

Though you shouldn't feed your dog vegetarian meat, you can make their diet more vegetarian-friendly by incorporating vegetables that dogs can eat. Some options include lettuce, okra, potatoes, parsnips, and turnips, for example.

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