Amazing Vegan Dog Food?

Via on May 31, 2012
courtesy of author

For more: how to make vegan dog food.

And: can dogs be vegetarian, and healthfully so?

In 2002, the Guinness Book of World Records recorded the world’s oldest living dog, Bramble, a 27 year-old vegan Border Collie.

Some people wonder if it’s “unnatural” to omit meat from the diet of a dog.

Wild dogs are scavengers; a dog is, by genus, metabolically classified as a carnivore.

However, they are omnivores—which means you can safely raise your dog on a vegan diet.

In any case, if you are feeding your dog commercial dog food, then you could be jeopardizing your furry pal’s health. Pet food often contains animal by-products deemed by U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors as “unfit for human consumption.” This includes the flesh of animals who fall into one of the categories of the four D’s—dead, dying, diseased or disabled.

So why risk your pet’s health when the nutritional needs of dogs are easily met with a balanced vegan diet and certain supplements?

If you like to cook, you can find vegan dog food recipes online, or simply purchase one of the many alternatives now available through retailers. However, there are some things that you should keep your eye out for when purchasing a food that will have your best friend barking, “Go vegan!”

Be sure to look for taurine and l-carnitine in the list of ingredients; these amino acids are crucial for keeping your dog’s heart healthy and strong. If a dog receives too little protein, calcium or vitamin D, his or her health could be jeopardized. Taurine and l-carnitine are amino acids not naturally occurring in plant matter and that dogs can’t synthesize themselves.

Please make sure you supplement your vegan dogs with enough to prevent cardiomyopathy (disorders of the heart). A deficiency of these key nutrients can cause serious illness in which the heart can no longer function.

One of the best options on the market comes from V-dog. V-dog is a family operated, 24 percent protein, wheat free, corn free, soy free, non-GMO, no animal by-products brand that is less expensive than other, unhealthy brands on the market.

V-dog food has made the transition to feeding your vegan dog easier by ensuring the ingredients your dog needs in order to thrive, includingsticking to ingredients you can actually pronounce: superfoods and berries, quinoa, brown rice, millet, vegetables, vitamin E, B vitamins, vitamin D, minerals, calcium, protein and essential amino acids.

With V-dog food your dog won’t need any other supplements, but if you’re in the mood to offer your pooch a little treat, then you can give him/her a big bowl of lentils, brown rice, oats, sweet potatoes, quinoa, millet or hummus. My pup loves to snack on strawberries and carrots, and absolutely loves peanut butter. To ensure they receive the necessary essential fatty acids (omegas 3, 6, & 9), add 1 teaspoon to1 tablespoon of a vegan oil blend, complete with total essential fatty acids.

When thinking about vegan snacks though, it’s important to avoid onions, raw garlic, the pit and skin of avocados, as well as chocolate. Many of these foods are toxic to dogs and onions, in particular, can lead to the oxidization of red blood cells which could lead to anemia.

With the proper vegan diet your pup will be healthier than ever, and you will be doing your part to save the environment.

The amount of land, food, water and energy used to raise billions of animals for slaughter could be used to grow enough food for all of the starving people in the world. Factory farming comes with a great cost to our planet’s resources.

It takes 2,400 gallons of water to produce a single pound of meat. And factory farming is the number one cause of deforestation and global warming. The U.S. uses billions of pounds of pesticides every year on our food supplies. Often, the animals are given arsenic drugs and chemical pesticides sprayed directly onto their skin to ward off parasites. The FDA lists 1700 drugs approved for use in animal feed. Every time you or your pet consume factory raised meat or dairy products, you are consuming the antibiotics, hormones, and pesticides administered to these animals.

With more and more vegan dog options available, there is no reason not to make the switch for a healthier dog, and a healthier planet. Now is the time to put as much care and concern into your pet food as your own diet; the threat to our planet, our lives and future generations is imminent.

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A list of some amazing alternative vegan dog foods:

 

Sources

Beck, Laura. “Vega Dogs!?: Feeding Hazel a Plant Based Diet.” The Bark. May 18, 2012. http://thebark.com/content/vegan-dogs

Lauritsen, Whitney. “Eco Vegan Dog.” May 18, 2012. http://www.ecovegandog.com/search/label/vegan

“Dogs Can Eat Vegan Too.” May 18, 2012. http://www.veganpoet.com/articles/dogs-can-be-vegan-too.htm

“Vegetarian Cats and Dogs.” May 18, 2012. http://www.peta.org/living/companion-animals/vegetarian-cats-and-dogs.aspx

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Editor: Thaddeus Haas

About Sara Jean Deegan

Sara Jean Deegan lives in southern California. When she’s not practicing or teaching yoga, she can be found writing poems or playing her guitar, and her vegan tiger striped pit bull-lab is her best friend. You can find more writing and fun yoga sequences on her blog: dsarajean.tumblr.com.

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23 Responses to “Amazing Vegan Dog Food?”

  1. Sara Jean Deegan Sara says:

    order vdog online @ http://v-dog.com/

  2. Scott says:

    It would appear the vegan diet is working out really well for the owner also! Wow.

  3. [...] My Vegan Dog. | elephant journal [...]

  4. [...] My Vegan Dog. | elephant journal [...]

  5. cat says:

    woah, i am absolutely shocked and appalled that you show the 'author' with a dog who is wearing a prong collar?! in an article that would at first glance appear to be pro-animal? How incredibly disappointing. Prong collars are outlawed in some placed, such as Australia….and for good reason. They are atrocious. Get with it! As an animal activist and vegan…this is just embarrassing.

    • Sara Jean Deegan Sara says:

      Initially I was ver much against the prong collar b/c I was under the impression that it was painful for the dog, however, after some research I discovered that the only abuse with these collars is the misuse. I understand it is a controversial issue; it is a training tool that one day will be removed. My dog is a rescue dog and there are a number of years worth of destructive behavior which needs to be undone. Look at this study:
      Study of Prong Collars in Germany
      (Information about study taken from an Anne Marie Silverton Seminar)

      •100 dogs were in the study. 50 used choke and 50 used prong.
      •The dogs were studied for their entire lives. As dogs died, autopsies were performed.
      •Of the 50 which had chokes, 48 had injuries to the neck, trachea, or back. 2 of those were determined to be genetic. The other 46 were caused by trauma.
      •Of the 50 which had prongs, 2 had injuries in the neck area, 1 was determined to be genetic. 1 was caused by trauma.
      here is the link: http://www.8pawsup.com/articles/training/prongcol

  6. LucyLa says:

    PLEASE do not solely feed your dog a vegan diet. I am a veterinarian and all too often I see the effects well-meaning owners feeding their dogs incorrectly. Yes, dogs are omnivorous so they should eat some fruits and vegetables, but these cannot be the sole basis of their diet – many of the nutrients which humans are able to digest and absorb from plant-based food cannot be digested by dogs. Think carefully before you omit meat from a dog's diet!

    I also agree with Cat's (above) post regarding the prong collar. Writing an article aimed at promoting wellness for dogs, but featuring a photo of your own dog wearing a prong collar is extremely irresponsible.

    • Sara Jean Deegan Sara says:

      Wow. If you dog is receiving the 8 essential amino acids, then there is no difference between the supplement and feeding your dog meat…your dog is getting the same nutrition. As for the prong collar, there is NO SCIENTIFIC evidence that it causes damage to a dog, and in fact, the studies on prong collars have shown the reverse….Many vets have stated that a vegan diet is healthy for your dog as long as he/she is receiving the essential amino acids to thrive. Vetstreet's Dr. Ernie Ward gives his opinion on a sensitive topic: http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/to-feed-

      • Cindy says:

        Put a prong collar on yourself and then ask ask someone to take you for a walk.
        After REAL LIFE experience, then tell me if it was comfortable.

        Im sick of people stating "scientific evidence" regarding something that cannot be proven unless you have first hand
        experience…as in… HOW DOES IT FEEL.

        As with dog crates…if you wouldn't do it to a child, you shouldn't do it to a pet.

  7. Sara Jean Deegan Sara says:

    SIX VETS recommend a vegan diet for your dog in this CNN article. Six pet experts who spoke with CNN conceded — some more reluctantly than others — that most dogs could biologically live on a vegan diet. But doing so requires substantial attention to creating a balanced diet that makes up for the loss of animal protein with substitutions of beans, soy and, to a lesser extent, vegetables and grains.

    Follow the link: http://www.cnn.com/2011/LIVING/03/10/vegan.dog.di

  8. Sara Jean Deegan Sara says:

    "The important thing is that you use a diet that has been shown to be nutritionally adequate for whatever stage of life you’re feeding, and it is absolutely possible to find a good quality commercial pet food that doesn’t have animal products in it,” states veterinarian Kathryn E. Michel, an associate professor of nutrition at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine.
    you can find her words here: http://gentleworld.org/good-nutrition-for-healthy

  9. Sara Jean Deegan Sara says:

    Sandy Anderson, owner and founder of VeganPet in Australia, explains:

    “The National Research Council Committee on Animal Nutrition (NRC) and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) have published guidelines of the minimum dietary requirements for dogs and cats… [Since 2005,] I have been working on making a dog and cat food using vegan alternatives. This food meets the NRC and AAFCO standards and, in some instances, exceeds them. The body’s basic building, energizing and replacing materials can come from a meat or chicken source or from a soybean and seaweed source. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that the basic cellular structure is the same from either source. I have now found all the vegan alternatives and am able to produce nutritionally-balanced food for both cats and dogs.” http://gentleworld.org/good-nutrition-for-healthy

  10. Sara Jean Deegan Sara says:

    In addition, there is evidence demonstrating that vegan diets might actually offer benefits to dogs who suffer from various health problems. As stated on the Harbingers of a New Age website:

    “Studies and numerous case reports have shown that nutritionally sound vegetarian companion animal diets appear to be associated with the following health benefits: increased overall health and vitality, decreased incidences of cancer, infections, hypothyroidism, ectoparasites (fleas, ticks, lice and mites), improved coat condition, allergy control, weight control, arthritis regression, diabetes regression and cataract resolution.”
    http://gentleworld.org/good-nutrition-for-healthy

  11. kirstan says:

    The prong collar can be a tool but there are many, many, many more positive ways to train. With as much attention as you pay to your dog's diet, you could pay equal attention to the tenets of progressive reinforcement training and have a happier pet.

    Go ahead and search Emily Larlham's Progressive Reinforcement Training. You'll learn a lot and hopefully get that collar off the dog.

  12. Angheet Singh says:

    I see two things wrong here. One, dogs are naturally meant to eat mostly meat. Turning them vegan will be bad for their health. Secondly, I sure hope that metal collar doesn't hurt the dog. Personally, I make sure whatever collars I get from the dog boutique are as comfortable as possible. You don't like choking on your necklace or shirt, now do you?

  13. April says:

    My dog is THRIVING on a vegan diet. She has allergies & a sensitive tummy but has been doing simply amazing since switching her to vegan food. She hasn't had a hive outbreak in a very long time, her energy levels are insane (she is 6 or 7 yrs old but outplays puppies & takes me on walks for at least 6 miles every day), her muscle growth is tremendous (my dog is ripped & consistently gets compliments on her sculpted muscle tone), her eyes are clear (used to be full of goop), & her coat has never looked or felt better (she even has hair in places that used to be bald). I'm no scientist but I know for a fact that a vegan diet can provide optimal health to dogs because my dog is living proof! It's not opinion; it's fact. My vet gave me no flack when she learned I have been feeding my dog a vegan diet – she said my dog's the picture of health. She also said she's seen an increase in vegan dog diets lately, especially with allergy prone dogs, & she's seen some amazing results & drastic improvement in health. Oh, & my dog adores her V-dog kibble. She loves the taste & begs for it as if it were meat-based food. I even use the kibble as training treats for extra motivation. My views are based on experience & fact. I always see comments from the naysayers but it's always uninformed, unfounded opinions which is just ignorant.

  14. chrissytarayoga says:

    My 2 Vegan Basenjis are 11 and 10 years old and get mistaken for puppies all the time…my vet says keep doing what you are doing..their skin and coats are beautiful . We use Evolution dog food and even the picky eater has no problem with it..of course we add whatever we are eating on top of it

  15. pola4321 says:

    Just bought the VegeDog vitamin supplements – it is in powdered form to be sprinkled on food, but my dogs hate it.
    I tried it, it tastes like ascorbic acid! Yuk! I feed them a vegetarian diet and dont want the taste ruined for them.
    Im looking for a creative way to get the vitamins supp into them..any ideas?

    • Cindy says:

      Wow, my dogs both hate it too. Your awesome for tasting it – so did I and couldn't believe how awful it was. While Harbingers is promoted everywhere, in my opinion, it is not the best form of supplementation since many dogs hate it.

      I have mixed it in just mashed sweet potatoes, thinking of what food could be enhanced by that citric acid taste. One dog didn't seem to mind it, the other still wouldn't eat it. There are supplements in pill form for L-carnitine and taurine and other essential nutrients on the web – you can find them on Amazon.com but narrow results by searching for L-carnitine and taurine for dogs. T

  16. Heather McCaw Kerley says:

    I have to confess I’m a little skeptical about this idea, though I have no doubt there is research proving its possible to keep a dog healthy on a vegan diet. I also have no doubt about the problems with heavily processed, consumer dog food. My only question is why humans would need to impose veganism on animals whose systems are designed to process mainly meat. Not to mention they love it! For us human omnivores, being vegan is a choice tied into human morality and ethics. I feel uncomfortable with the idea of imposing that morality on other species. Perhaps a third alternative – feed your pets a mix of fresh foods, including fresh cage free, grass fed, natural meat. Just a thought.

  17. Jen says:

    I really hope people do not attempt this without serious consideration for their animals health…. Formulating a balanced plant based diet for a carnivore is a difficult task, one that few vets would reccommend. BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU GET YOUR INFORMATION FROM. And I wouldn’t take the information in this article very seriously. This person has no veterinary training and her advice should be taken with that in mind. Consult your vet, do research based on science (not article released by the vegan dog food suppliers!)

  18. Takae says:

    It is actually a great and useful piece of info.

  19. Cindy says:

    I do believe a vegan diet works – but you have to do it right.

    I have done the vegan diet thing for my dogs, and it helped my overweight dog lose weight, however, I have two dogs with very different tastes in food and both hated the Harbingers VegiDog supplement. I threw out so much food trying to figure out what they would both eat and often was making different food for each. I tried every combination of legumes/grains with vegies etc, but the one dog won't eat the food.
    I am now going to try a vegan kibble and will supplement to give them live nutrition and variety. Just could not keep up
    the work and waste and the frustration.

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