Sentient beings are defined as beings that are " responsive to or conscious of sense impressions sentient beings. 2 : aware. 3 : finely sensitive in perception or feeling." We believe dogs meet this criteria, no question. In this country, companion animals and some wildlife are protected by federal and state laws, but not dogs. This means they are recognized as property under law and if something bad happens at the vet or anywhere else, no one is responsible for damages under the law.
For example, let's say you take your dog to the vet who has an ear infection, and to save time, your vet vaccinates him/her and a few weeks or months later he/she is suffering from some strange autoimmune disease that they prescribe steroids to fix. The symptoms will disappear and then reappear with a vengeance and you are left with a sick pet. This is an unfortunate and regular occurrence. Your vet should know not to vaccinate ever when an animal is brought in for a sick visit. If dogs were recognized as sentient beings under the law, your vet would be liable. I am certainly not out to get vets, but I am trying to protect our animals from negligence and disease, which is rampant.
Now let's take a look at kibble. Any kibble will do. Kibble companies legitimately use left over ingredients like "by products" and additives that are difficult to pronounce to keep their highly-processed food affordable and a far cry from a diet that nature intended, which is mostly meat, some veggies, fruit and ingredients that you can pronounce. You feed your dog kibble, and over time, their health begins to deteriorate. So, if animals were recognized as sentient beings under the law, it would help to create some much needed regulation of the dog food industry because right now, MARS inc. and the other major players do what they want when they want.
The US is way behind the curve when it comes to protecting animals. The UK, France, Spain and Canada have all recently passed laws that classify animals as sentient beings. Bobzilla is working to fix this now.