Dogs are omnivorous by nature, which means that their evolutionary diets included substantial quantities of both meat and non-meat products. Modern commercial dog foods claim to contain meat protein, but often this is in the form of meat by-products that are unhealthy "fillers," or meat that comes from diseased livestock. If you want to feed your dog food that does not contain chicken, beef or egg, consider fish as an alternative or investigate the various vegetarian and vegan dog food options.
According to the book "Vegetarian Cats and Dogs," dogs are prone to the same medical issues humans experience because of meat consumption. These include allergies, heart and other organ problems and some types of cancer. Many dogs have lived long and healthy lives on a vegetarian diet, including Bramble, a border collie in Scotland that lived to the age of 27 years on a daily meal of lentils, rice and organic vegetables.
Vegetarian Dog Foods
Most vegetarian dog foods still contain eggs, which are a good source of protein. Some also contain eggshells, to supply the dog's calcium carbonate requirements. Food may also contain cheese, yogurt and other products that come from animals. A good vegetarian dog diet should contain 30 to 60 percent protein from beans and soy products, with an equal quantity of carbohydrates coming from whole grains. The balance should be vegetables and fruits, plus some dietary fats such as olive, peanut or sunflower oil.
Vegan Dog Foods
A vegan diet excludes all products derived from animals. To ensure that your dog gets enough protein and other nutrients, use a variety of legumes in its food. Use beans, lentils, soybeans, chickpeas and sprouts to supply the protein. For the carbohydrates, use whole grains such as brown rice, millet, corn grits and white or sweet potatoes. Mash or chop the potatoes to make them easily digestible. Add fruits and vegetables in small quantities and mix them well.
Foods with Fish
Commercial dog foods and homemade foods both make use of various types of fish, including salmon, herring and whitefish. Fish is a natural food for animals in the wild and is high in Omega 3 oils and fatty acids, which benefit dogs with skin or coat problems.