Can Vegans Have Pets? Do Vegans Keep Pets?

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
As the human diet evolves, many want to know if vegans can have pets. For years this is one of the most burning questions, and we decided to cover it. Read on and learn where vegans stand when it comes to pet ownership.

Can vegans have pets? It is no secret that people have pets for various purposes.

Some are there to make a day look better, some assist with daily obligations, and others have pets to keep them safe and loved.

Does a person need to have a specific eating style to love pets? Or to have one?

Humans have kept animals as pets for thousands of years, and it is up to a person to decide if they have enough resources to have a pet.

Being a responsible pet owner has much more to do with available resources than it has to do with eating preferences.

With animal-product-free diets on the rise, many owners: can vegans have pets?

Opinions on this question vary; both sides have pros and cons. Some people claim that keeping an animal as a companion is non-ethical.

Others claim that owning a pet is highly ethical as otherwise, they would roam in a dangerous surroundings, or they would be put in a surrounding where they would eventually be euthanized.

Let’s discuss both points of view, but first – can vegans have pets?

So far it should be obvious that no matter that vegetarian and vegan diets are on the rise, both parties are often seen owning a pet, most commonly dogs.

So, can vegans have pets? The answer is yes – but there are still some things to consider.

Some things to consider include what kind of pet is best suited for a specific lifestyle, like – are you comfortable feeding your pet with other animal’s flesh, or do you want a pet so you can implement your eating preferences on them, like feeding them a non-animal-based diet?

Pets Introduction

When we talk about pets what type of animals are we actually talking about?

In this specific article, the term ‘pets’ will refer to any animal kept for companionship purposes, while we will discuss dogs separately.

Animals have been around as long as the human race remembers their presence.

It is known that humans and animals have co-existed for a very long time, having ups and downs in understanding each other, and finding their own safe corners in this world.

According to historical records, humans have been using animals as companions or as working animals for long period. This is something that it saw in human-dogs relations.

Did you know that dogs’ brains have evolved over time so that they can understand humans better?

Ever since humans have used dogs to help them thrive in their obligations, and make their daily obligations easier.

This is why today we have wonderful dog breeds excelling at different duties and tasks, from being companion dogs to working as service dogs.

That being said, historical evidence claims shows that humans have kept pets since Paleolithic times.

Ever since pets often serve as a source of comfort and emotional support.

Today, when we are talking about pets, we are actually mostly talking about:

  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Rabbits
  • Fish

Yes, some people will choose more ‘uncommon’ pets, such as insects, or reptiles, which demand specific care and one-of-a-kind care.

They are not less lovable or special, but just may require a different kinds of surroundings and care, that not everyone may provide.

All in all, the relationship between pets and humans is a long one, but also a great one.

After all, animals are great, and sharing Planet with them is something that helps humans thrive in different areas.

A view on animals changes throughout time, and so does our diet. This is why many are continually burdened by an exploitative nature that humans may enforce on pets.

Hence, many concern about the morality of keeping an animal as a pet.

Do Vegans Get Pets?

Do vegans get pets? This question often pops out when people think about keeping an animal as a companion.

People will have different opinions on the question, some believe that there is no single non-ethical issue about having a pet around, while others may strongly disagree.

This is something that is left for each person to decide and see as specific.

Now, when you have people who refuse to eat meat, for whatever their reasons for that might be one must ask – if one refuses to eat meat, will one refuse to keep animals as pets as well?

As this is a decision that one must make on its own, it is fair to discuss some of the most common concerns regarding keeping an animal.

Below you will find the most common concerns regarding keeping an animal around. Keep on reading!

1. Animal Consent

Ok, this may sound like a bit of a philosophical approach, but if animals can eat drink water, show affection, and feel pain, can they also provide consent?

When you call a cat to come and she refuses, is it free will? Moreover, when you can a dog to ‘come‘ and he does – is it free will, or just a result of great training?

The biggest issue that vegans do have here is related to an ethical issue in purchasing and selling animals that have no say in the matter.

They see these animals as enslaved. Why? The logic behind this common opinion is that animals do not have a saying, or consent, to living in a specific location or with people.

Furthermore, they claim that pet breeding also takes away the consent of the animals involved in the mating, as they are not given a choice about procreating.

2. Animal Abuse

Many vegans have strong beliefs that pet ownership actually leads to different forms of abuse.

Some people may be fast with their decision to welcome a pet into their homes, without fully understanding what pet ownership actually requires.

As result, pets may lack certain factors and owners cannot provide them with the care they require to thrive.

Some of the common neglect may include missing providing the right veterinary care, or even engaging in some form of physical abuse.

3. Imprisonment Of An Animal

Many, vegans and non-vegans, would say that the best way for an animal to thrive is to roam free.

Going where they want, eating what they want, and doing as they please is – according to many, the best way for animals to live.

Also, people tend to keep pets in a set area. This means that some animals may really suffer as they won’t get the same they need.

For example, birds may be kept throughout their lives in small spaces. Any kind of imprisonment is, for many, morally wrong.

4. Pet Abandonment

People abandon animals for various reasons. In some cases, the hardship of life is too intense that many just have to leave their pets, if not forever, then for some period.

In some lucky, sort of speaking, cases pets will end up in animal shelters, where they may have some chances to find their new home, but that isn’t the rule.

This is why adoption is often promoted as a very humane thing, especially if you’re thinking about getting a dog.

Adopting a dog isn’t only humane, but it is also a guarantee that you are saving a life.

People may also abandon pets when they become too old or too sick to such an extent that the pet owner finds it difficult to care for the pet.

Abandoning an animal raised to be around people, no matter what the reason might be, is for many a cruel act.

5. Amusement

It is no secret that many people find more than just joy in owning a pet.

For many, pets are companions who get to get a bunch of photos, videos, and different activities that can bring joy to many.

Just think about dogs in Halloween costumes. Still, many find this to be too much, as animals are not here to amuse people but to live.

Moreover, it is no secret that owning a pet derives both physical and mental satisfaction.

Walking dogs for miles can only enhance overall health while having a companion around only helps people keep their sanity.

Still owning a dot for not being alone and expecting them to be needy as much as their people want them to be is something that many find troubling.

Is Human And Pet Relationship Really Exploitative?

Again, this is something that is up to people, as individuals, to decide.

Truth is that there are pet owners who cannot be labeled as ‘good’, while there are those who consider their pets as family and treat them as such.

And speaking honestly, you probably know at least one person that treats animals better than friends and family. Is this approach bad or too much?

People do things for their own reasons, and if something seems unusual for you, bear in mind that it seems unusual for you, while it may be logical for others.

On the other hand, to some this sort of behavior may be logical and how it should be.

All in all, there are pets out there who are living the life.

They are safe and loved, they enjoy the best meals, they have more than enough space, they sleep in bed, and get unlimited love.

If this is the case, can someone really argue that this sort of relationship is explorative?

Of course they can, but eventually, it all depends on what experience one has with animals.

Plus, did you know that there are certain studies that actually show how having a pet increases humans’ empathy toward animals?

Thanks to close experience with pets, many people tend to change their opinion on animals and their effect on the Planet.

Through this experience, many decide to change their diet, and often become vegans or vegetarians, or tend to see a difference between animal farming and good and harsh practices in animal handling and meal preparation.

It is also fair to say that the pet industry has made billions of dollars on the human need to have animals around them. Is this ethical or not? This is something that you need to decide.

Alternatives To Pet Ownership

Many vegans still love having animals around, while refusing to actually own a pet.

In that case, what do they do? They usually go for alternatives.

This is why many choose to volunteer in local animal shelters, or work as dog walkers, for example.

With an overabundance of domesticated animals as a result of breeding, many vegans believe that keeping pets is better than euthanizing or even letting them loose in the wild.

Let’s explain this occurrence further:

1. Putting Domesticated Pets Back In The Wild

Is this really an option today? Moreover, is this an option today in overcrowded cities?

Know that majority of domesticated animals are simply not equipped to survive in the wild.

Not only that the wild may be dangerous for them, but they often lack the skills and more importantly instincts mandatory to find food and shelter, fight off predators, or even move with confidence through unfamiliar terrain.

That being said, letting some animals into the wild may lead to more harm than good.

On the other hand, among pets, cats and dogs may have the strongest survival instincts that will lead them to find food.

Plus, certain dog breeds such as Siberian Husky can stand harsh weather easily, while some like Basenji won’t be able to survive a harsh and snowy winter outside.

All in all, although this isn’t impossible, the chances of a domestic pet surviving in the wild are slim.

2. Euthanising Unwanted Pets

This is a common practice in animal shelters that many people are simply not well-aware of.

Where do pets go when animal shelters become overcrowded?

Euthanasia is something that pet owners usually encounter when their pets reach certain years, or when they are facing a serious illness.

However, euthanasia is something that thousands of animals face every year in shelters. It is fair to say that this option is far from acceptable.

3. Keeping Animals In Shelters

This may sound like a fair and reasonable option until shelters become overcrowded with animals.

Not only that being euthanized is something that every animal in the animal shelter might face eventually, but there are other drawbacks as well.

Animal shelters tend to develop certain behavioral issues that may lower their chances of eventually being adopted.

After some period in animal shelters, pets will have less chance of being rehomed.

What The Vegan Society & PETA Say About Pets

Whenever you are in doubt if something that is considered to be ethical if you are vegan, you can check The Vegan Society and PETA recommendations.

You do not have to agree with them, but you can use some of their guidelines to create your own.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal choices.

This is why many vegans will have pets if they fall under any of the listed factors:

  • Keeping a companion animal is fine for vegans if they have adopted
  • Vegans and everyone else should buy pets
  • Vegans should not support pet shops that sell animals
  • No vegan should ever buy any sort of exotic animal
  • Vegans should always have their pets spayed or neutered

The last bullet is crucial for every owner.

Spaying and neutering are vital when it comes to animal health, and stopping poor breeding practices.

To some, these practices may sound cruel or non-natural, but the truth is that animals feel little or not even little pain, while both processes stop animals from suffering further down the line.

Are Guide Dogs Considered Vegan-Friendly?

This is a complex question, and there is no simple answer.

Service dogs are great to help many, especially blind and visually-impaired people.

Plus, service dogs often bring love, security, and calmness into the lives of many making them great assets.

Guide dogs are commonly special, as they are bred for the purpose.

In practice, this means that that specific dog was brought to this world to serve humans, or to serve human benefit. This question is something that remains open to debate.

What Should A Vegan Feed Their Pet?

One cannot show interest in vegan-related pet ownership, without wondering about pets’ nutrition.

If an owner doesn’t consume meat or any by-meat product, does it mean that pets would have the same diet?

Popular pets are usually carnivores, especially cats. Since many pets are obligate carnivores they won’t do well on a vegan diet.

To help pets thrive you should provide food that they need and serve them nutrients that will meet their needs.

Those who really have a hard time serving animals to their pets, tend to be ‘creative’ which is why they may reach out to local restaurants for leftover meat or even explore vegan options for pet food.

However, this is not something that should be taken lightly – vegan pet food.

Make sure that you talk with your veterinarian about any food-related questions.

If you have a dog and you are thinking about switching to a vegan dog diet, first talk with your veterinarian, do proper research, and then see if this decision is really the best for your Fido.

Identical steps should be conducted if you have any other pet – always do proper research first.

Can Vegans Have Pets? To Sum Up

So, can vegans have pets? The answer is yes.

Before you run and get a pet make sure that you can really afford to own a pet and that you can meet the pet’s needs. Otherwise, you might wait for a while, or just volunteer in a local shelter, or help animals in some other way.

If you are serious about getting a pet, make sure that you choose a pet that will fit your lifestyle.

For example, if you are an outdoor person and you enjoy long hikes and intense running sessions you should get a dog who enjoys being outdoors being active, such as a Dalmatian or Rhodesian Ridgeback.

On the other hand, if you prefer spending your time indoors, or you are home-based in terms of your job, maybe a feline would be the best fit for you.

No matter what kind of pet is your dream animal, know that providing for animals may be difficult, but it will definitely be worth it.

Being responsible for another living creature isn’t something that should be taken lightly, but it is something that is worth it.

Also, in terms of diet do your best to provide your pet’s food that will keep them thriving and provide enough energy, as next to love and safety, that is the best way to keep your pet healthy and happy.