"It is OK for dogs to be fed a vegetarian or vegan diet -- with the caveat that they are correctly balanced," Farcas says.
But this caveat is critical: While dogs technically canget all of the nutrients they need from meat-free sources, it's more difficult to formulate a complete plant-based diet than a complete meat-based diet. And as far as veganism goes, Farcas says that it can be done, but it's just one step harder. Often, some of the vitamins in dog food, like vitamin D, come from lanolin, which is derived from wool -- therefore technically an animal byproduct, a vegan no-no. But these nutrients can be produced synthetically. "In the end, a well-formulated, high-quality vegan diet for a typical dog can provide adequate nutrition just like a well-formulated high-quality meat-based diet, though it is easier to make the meat-based diet with a larger margin for error and safety."
So it's physically possible to feed a dog a meat-free diet without any adverse effects. But should your dog go vegetarian or vegan?