UK pet owners are being warned they face fines of up to £20,000 fines and a possible jail sentence for not feeding their four-legged friend the correct diet.

It comes after a study found more pet owners are feeding their pets a vegan diet.

Cats need meat to survive as they can develop health problems if they are not getting the right nutrients, including taurine, Vitamins A and B, arginine and arachidonic acid.

Certain breeds of dogs will struggle on a plant-based diet because their short guts make it difficult to digest high-fibre foods.

Which is why UK law protects pets from missing out on what they need to consume through their diet.

The UK's Animal Welfare Act outlines how people must ensure their pets get a “suitable diet” and “meet all of your dog's nutritional needs”.

UK Animal Welfare act requirements

In addition to ensuring pets get the right diet, owners are required to ensure a number of aspects of their life are safe under section nine of the act. These include:

  • Ensure their pet lives in a suitable environment
  • Ensure their pet exhibits normal behaviour patterns
  • be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease

While a vegan diet is not specifically banned, it falls upon owners to ensure their pet is getting the nutrients they need to lead a healthy life.

If owners are caught breaking these laws, then they can face fines of up to £20,000 and possible jail time.

Bournemouth Echo: You should seek expert advice before changing your pet's diet. (Canva)You should seek expert advice before changing your pet's diet. (Canva)

Warning issued over changing your pet’s diet

Although the act doesn’t specifically outline specific dietary requirements, Daniella Dos Santos from the British Veterinarian Association warned people over the dangers of making a change to an animal’s diet.

She told LadBible: "In the UK, under the Animal Welfare Act the owner has the obligation to feed the animal an appropriate diet.

"If your personal belief system means you don't want to eat any animal protein, that's fine, but that diet is not designed to meet the welfare standards of your pet.

"It is theoretically possible to feed a dog a vegetarian diet, but it's much easier to get it wrong than to get it right," she continued.”

She added: "You would have to do it under the supervision of a veterinary-trained nutritionist."