I switched my diet to complete vegetarian diet just out of compassion towards animals. However I am confused about feeding meat to my pet dogs. Feeding meat to one animal will directly or indirectly involve the killing of another animal. I feel like I am provoking the slaughtering of animals.

Is that a bad karma though it's good for another animal? What was Buddha's thoughts about this?

3 Answers 3


According to the Brahmanet Sutra you should not own any pets which typically eat meat, except dogs who guard your property. Part of the reason is that a bodhisattva should not be engaged in fostering the consumption of meat, which is not compassionate. However, I would also be concerned with the health of the animal on a vegetarian diet.


Meat eating is a very sensitive topic. Other people or You or I may have different views on this and each may be right to a certain extent. But we all should be open enough to look at the Buddha’s insights on this. He is the Tathagata who knows and sees, or by that I mean the Suttas and Vinaya – our guide and teacher (AN 4.180). In Majjhima Nikaya 55, it is said that:

“Jivaka, I say that there are three instances in which meat should not be eaten: when it is seen, heard, or suspected (that the living being has been specifically slaughtered for oneself) … I say that there are three instances in which meat may be eaten: when it is not seen, heard, or suspected (that the living being has been specifically slaughtered for oneself)….”

“If anyone slaughters a living being for the Tathagata (i.e. Buddha) or his disciple, he lays up much demerit in five instances … (1) When he says: ‘Go and fetch that living being’ … (2) When that living being experiences pain and grief on being led along with a neck-halter … (3) When he says: ‘Go and slaughter that living being’ … (4) When that living being experiences pain and grief on being slaughtered … (5) When he provides the Tathagata or his disciple with food that is not permissible ….”

Now you know how the Buddha distinguishes between meat that is allowable (With the exception of ten types of meat which are prohibited to monks: human, elephant, horse, dog, hyena, snake, bear, lion, tiger, and panther. Refer to Mahavagga, the Books of the Discipline: Book 4, pages 298-300. The Books of the Discipline is the English translation of the Vinaya books (in Pali) by the Pali Text Society, U.K..).


a non-buddhist reply :

it depends - people who feed their dogs not bought store food should really be experts on the subject of what dogs eat -- and if you feed the a vegeterian diet i belive its much harder to mess up

There are some good quality balanced vegan dog food actually of some known producers like natural balance which have their experts advising them on the food .... but im not sure that you have that in india (your indian right?)

It might be more compassionate to feed your dog a good diet with meat than to give him a home made diet without meat

but also if you give your dog home made with meat you still need to become an expert on the subject so you wont mess up on it

............ that being said - the longest living dog ever in the world which lived to 27 years ate a vegan diet of "rice, lentils and organic vegetables" ..... but im sure her owners knew what vegetables to give her - they might have been organic - i dont know where the dog got b12 from - maybe his own body can make it....this are issues you need to check first - and understand them very well

anyway i dont think feeding a dog meat is the same as eating it yourself which is much more important : not in an atheistic way and in my personal understanding of Theravada it has benefits to you personally cause it reduces attachment and even might help develop metta

So keep with the meat until your sure ...... !!! You can try to get free leftover meat from butchers - my grandpas brother used to do that - he got leftover meat from butchers to feed his dog and they were quality parts also - this seems like a good solution - making good kamma for you and the butcher !!!

  • I would love to get a comment from whoever disliked this answer and explain to me why - if its cause i wrote (a non-buddhist reply) i just put it that no one will take this as 100% theravada view on the subject but i did talk about benefits of avoiding meat in a buddhist sense and also explained why someone should not avoid giving meat if hes not very well informed on dog diet needs in a very detailed way and give a very well balanced diet - a diverse one as well
    – breath
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 22:10
  • 1
    to me, your answer was a useful answer. Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 22:36
  • Thanks - and if i commented i will re-say again to all who reads : if you give your dog home made food with meat but even more a vegan diet you should defiantly know what your doing and do a big research online - and even after you give your dog food keep updating on what is a good homemade diet (meat or no meat)
    – breath
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 22:44
  • Both questions and answers should be on topic for the site. "This is not a Buddhist answer" is a variation of "Well, as a Christian, God says it is okay to (whatever)" If this answer isn't a Buddhist answer, then it just chit chat unrelated to the site. If you think this is a question strictly for a vet, then per the way things are done on SO, you'd vote to close and migrate the question to the pet website. Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 16:42

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