If you’re looking to cut down or even completely give up meat as part of your healthy diet, giving dogs or cats some chicken-style snacks may be your best bet.
A lot of people make the switch by choosing vegetarian or vegan diets, but that doesn’t always work for animals. Some breeds are just too hungry when they wake up!
For example, most dogs are not going to show much interest in cooked vegetables unless they are given high quality raw vegetable matter to eat beforehand. This can be tough if you want to stay off the meat.
Luckily, there are alternatives out there! People have replaced meats with things like nuts, dried fruits, and other foods that pack a similar wallop (no pun intended) flavor and texture wise.
These non-meat foods are usually referred to as “vegan” supplements because they are typically derived from plants rather than animals.
Some of these veggie burgers even look, taste, and cook like real meaty food! What a nice surprise!
There are several types of plant-based proteins that manufacturers use to create their products. The most popular ones are soy protein and texturized wheat gluten.
Soy is a common ingredient in both veterinary and human nutrition, so it is well studied. It seems to satisfy dog hunger just as well as cow meat!
Textured wheat gluten is often mixed into dry pet food at a ratio comparable to ground beef.
What is a meat substitute?
While some people may consider chicken or beef as the most basic food groups, that’s not really accurate. The true culinary classic is something we call “meat” or “protein-based foods.”
These are things like vegetables, tofu, nuts, dried fruits, and even certain types of cheese that are high in protein. With this new cooking technique, you can mix together any of these ingredients with nothing more than your mouth!
A lot of companies have invented their own version of this meatless option, but none compare to what they’re calling the Slim Jim of meats.
Examples of meat substitutes
Many people these days rely on packaged or manufactured foods as part of their diet, particularly vegetarian and vegan diets. As we all know, eating only fruits and vegetables can be pretty boring!
Many companies produce “meat” alternatives such as veggie burgers, fake chicken products, and gel-like snacks that claim to be like beef jerky. Others make sweet treats like dried fruit that taste similar to raw sugar.
While some of these foods are totally fine for your dog or cat, others may not be! The same goes for dried fish and other salty snacks.
Some dogs have special nutritional needs so it is important to identify what kind of food your pet eats and look for clues about whether this type of food is okay to give.
This article will talk more in depth about the differences between the different types of meaty snacks and why some are better than others.
Does it matter what the meat substitute is made of?
As we mentioned, most people seem to prefer the taste of chicken or beef over other meats such as lamb, turkey, fish or even vegetables like broccoli or spinach.
However, you should remember that these substitutes are not necessarily healthier than the real thing! Some of the ingredients in some brands of vegetarian/vegan meat alternatives include wheat products which can be expensive to buy and prepare.
Some dogs may suffer from digestive issues when eating these types of foods if they’re not appropriate for their diet. If your dog seems to be struggling to eat his meal, then perhaps looking into vegan meat replacements is an option for him!
A word of warning though – make sure your dog does not get any salt or acid from the raw meat used in the product before feeding him! These could potentially cause vomiting or an allergic reaction in your dog.
Does the texture of the meat substitute affect how cats eat it?
Technically, yes! If you are looking to redirect your cat’s appetite away from meats, then definitely don’t use processed meat substitutes like veggie burgers or soy dogs. These products contain gelatins which can be hard for some animals to digest.
Some individuals believe that these gels may actually cause intestinal inflammation in certain carnivorous pets! This could potentially lead to stomach ulcers and diarrhea.
However, this isn’t always the case and many dogs and cats who suffer from food allergies can easily digest gelatin-filled foods. So, if possible, try to find a meat alternative that doesn’t contain gelatin before offering it to your loved one.
You also should know that most rawhide (the kind used to make jerky) is made from dried animal skin so even though it says “no chicken or beef,” that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s free of gelatin.
Are there any health concerns with meat substitutes?
As mentioned before, most vegetarian or vegan diets are much higher in carbohydrates than your average carnivore diet. This can be confusing for some people who believe that eating more carbs is the best way to gain weight.
Many advertisers take advantage of this misconception by marketing low-carb foods as being “weight loss products” or even “diabetes treatments.”
A lot of these foods contain chicken or turkey flake style meats which are lower in fat but have only about one percent protein. These types of veggie burgers often do not include dairy so they are usually high in carbohydrates.
Slim jims are an example of such a product. They are sometimes marketed as being healthier than traditional beef hamburger because they say they help keep you full longer. Some studies show that they may even promote bone growth!
However, aside from the fact that they are mostly carbohydrate and maybe 0–2% protein, there are no studies proving that they aid in weight loss.
Should I avoid giving my cat meat substitutes?
As we mentioned before, some foods may not agree with your cat’s stomach or digestive system. This is especially true when it comes to the texture of food.
Many dogs are raised eating only commercial diets that contain little taste and no textures. However, most cats were never exposed to such low quality foods during their early stages of life.
Cats are naturally more sensitive than dogs when it comes to tasting and chewing what they eat. This can lead to additional nutritional deficiencies if you choose to remove meats from the diet.
Some vegetarian/vegan dishes cannot be chewed properly by certain species of animals. Therefore, although these recipes are appropriate for our canine friends, they may not be safe for your cat.
You should always check with your veterinarian before changing the type of food your dog eats. They will know the best plants-based diets for your animal and whether any changes need to be made due to dietary restrictions.
This article focused on the dangers of feeding your cat processed meats like sausages and luncheon slices.
Are there any tips for giving your cat meat substitutes?
Since most cats are not hungry, they will only eat what food you put in front of them. If you want your cat to try new foods, she must be made uncomfortable by it. This can be done through taste testing or by putting the food away in a place that is inaccessible to her.
If your dog has given up eating due to fear of meat, then you should consider trying to train your cat to like meat! There are many ways to do this, some more successful than others.
You may also find yourself having to take action because your kitty refuses to eat. Sometimes, a very picky eater becomes so overwhelmed with disgust from the texture or flavor that they give up.
A good way to get your kitten to try new things is to use chicken as an intermediate food. Chicken is usually quite delicious, making it easier to add fat and salt to make it more similar to beef products.
Beef rolls, steak, hamburger, and even sausages can all serve as alternatives to the chicken for your furry friend.
What about fish?
While some people believe that only meat-based foods are suitable for cats, this is not true! Many vegetarian food options contain bones or skin so they can’t be completely ruled out. If you know of a non-meat option that your cat loves, let him try it now to see if he enjoys it!
Fish is one of the most popular diets for dogs, and many owners make the switch for their pets. Since fish does not produce red blood cells, veterinary experts consider eating raw fish safe for feline blood types that do not have an adequate amount of these cells.
Many veterinarians recommend adding bone to the diet as an aid to digestion, but no more than two ounces per week unless otherwise advised. This article will discuss how to prepare dried fish for your cat.