Everything You Need to Know about Vegan Dog Food

Everything You Need to Know about Vegan Dog Food

  • Kirsten Thornhill - 13.07.2020

My dog can be vegan too? 100%! In fact, one of the longest living doggos ever was a vegan. Whoa! Talk about taking healthy living to a whole new level for you + your pup!


Can My Dog Really Be Vegan?


Veganism has been around for years! Individuals who have adopted the vegan lifestyle for themselves have often considered and wondered if their pup could also benefit from a meat-free diet. 


The short answer - yes, your dog can be vegan. With a regulated and proper diet and a few added protein supplements, your dog can be living the vegan lifestyle, reaping the beautiful benefits quickly! The vegan dog I mentioned above lived to be a healthy and thriving 27 years old. She continued to stay active throughout her entire 27 years on earth, and yep, she was full vegan. 

 

 

There are quite a few things paw parents should be aware before taking the plunge to adopting a vegan lifestyle for your dog. It’s definitely not as simple as avoiding meat, eating veggies, and calling it a vegan day. Your pup’s body needs an appropriate amount of nutrients to properly function and it’s important to ensure that they are receiving the necessary vitamins and minerals to support their long, healthy life to be.


The transition period into veganism can be quite intense. However, if you’re determined to get your puppers vegan, it is more than possible and doable. We hope to share and inform our readers exactly how to get your dog to veganism and how it can be done!


Let’s grow!

What is the Difference Between Vegan and Vegetarian Diets?


It’s important that paw parents are aware of the small details and facts before switching their dog’s daily food. Usually, a quick internet search will lead to several articles that use vegan diets and vegetarian dog foods synonymously. While vegan diets and vegetarian diets do have commonalities, they are also very very different. 

 

 

Vegan and vegetarian dog foods are both meat-free, yes. However, vegetarian diets may still have animal products, including milk or eggs, whereas a vegan diet has no animal products. 


Because of this, you can only imagine why adopting a plant-based diet, let alone a vegan diet, may be challenging.


A Vegan Dog Diet


Fortunately enough, there are quite a lot of vegan-friendly options that are safe for your pup to enjoy on a purely vegan diet!


Some of these nutritious and scrumptious foods include:


  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Lentils
  • Dark, leafy greens
  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Certain types of beans

There also are commercially prepared vegan dog foods, stating that they contain all of the necessary nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that your dog needs. With this being said, we highly encourage our readers to fully read and understand what the labels say and include. It’s important to talk to your veterinarian on whether or not additional supplements may be necessary for your doggo’s vegan diet. 

 

 

It’s even more important to consult with your vet if your pup has any known preexisting health ailments or conditions. Again, we totally get that you only want what’s best for your pup, especially if you feel a vegan diet is best for their health and longevity. But, it’s important that paw parents make the vegan transition knowing their dog’s specific dietary needs and how to fulfill them prior to going 100% vegan. 


What are the Dog Benefits of Veganism?


Very comparable to us humans, dogs can reap the benefits of a vegan diet as long as their diets have an appropriate balance of supplements and nutrients. While dogs are widely believed to be carnivores, they are actually omnivores. It’s possible that their dietary needs NEED to be met with a plant-based diet. Yep, you read that right!


The following health benefits have been associated with a vegan diet:


  • Weight management 
  • Improving bad breath
  • Reducing allergies
  • Decreased skin problems

These benefits may only come into the picture if their vegan diet is met with all the appropriate nutrients and supplements for your dog’s personalized needs. 

 


How Do You Make Homemade Vegan Dog Food?


If you prefer to cook and prepare your dog’s vegan dog food at home, there are a couple important details we want to touch on. First, we recommend consulting with a board-certified veterinarian nutritionist to better help you formulate a complete and balanced diet for your four-legged friend, instead of purely relying on internet recipes, claiming to be vegan. They may also be able to help you with supplement or vitamin recommendations that may need to be added to fido’s diet. 


Paw parents should ensure that at least ⅓ of their dog’s meal contains high-quality, plant-based protein sources. For instance, healthy plant-based sources include oats, sweet potatoes, lentils, and soybeans. You’ll want to make sure your dog does not have an allergies to any of these plant-based sources. 


The Meal Base of a Vegan Diet


Many paw parents choose pinto beans as the meal base for their dog’s diet. Considered as one of the most non-allergic foods for doggos, pinto beans makes for a great base for a vegan diet. Don’t forget, the beans need to be cooked completely, until they are very very soft. Next, mash up the beans, add them to your other vegan ingredients, serve the dish to your paw friend, and bam, yummy vegan goodness!


The Rest of a Vegan Diet


So we’ve got the meal base down and done, now for the rest. Cooked and raw veggies, whole grains, and any necessary supplements are added next. 


Doggos may also benefit from fruits, like bananas, watermelon, oranges, and apples. Adding fruits to their diet may cause stomach upset though, so it’s important to add fruit in slowly to their diet and keep a close eye to monitor any potential changes. 


How Do You Start a Vegan Dog Diet?


If you are wanting your dog to adopt a vegan dog food diet, it’s best to begin early on in their puppy life. But not too young - newborn puppies should not have a vegan diet as they need their mom’s milk and proteins to develop healthily and build a strong immune system.

 

 

When you choose a vegan diet, be sure that your doggo is getting enough non-meat protein, taurine, and L-carnitine in their diet. You may need to purchase the last two supplements from a health food store and mix it directly into their food. It’s important that you as a paw parent do your “homework” on foods that your dog can and cannot eat. The last thing you want is for your vegan food choices to harm your puppers. 


Slow and Steady into Veganism


Anytime you want to change your dog’s diet, we recommend going low and slow! Rushing the process can lead to upset stomachs, resistance to new food, and paw parent frustration. Switching to a vegan diet takes time and that’s okay! Patients is the key player here. Slowly begin bringing the vegan food options into their current meat-based diet. Again, no reason to rush the process. If you switch foods too quickly, it may lead to fido having diarrhea, vomit, or constipation. 


Slowly, you can replace your dog’s current food with new vegan options, until eventually, there is no meat left in their diet. This may take a few weeks, which, in the long run, it’s a long time!


Good news, most doggos will eat just about anything! So if your puppers is resistant to trying new foods, you can try adding nutritional yeast, olive oil, soy milk, meatless baby food, or powdered kelp - any of these should do the trick to get your four-legged friend to start eating. 


Adding Nutritional Supplements into Veganism


Unfortunately, vitamin and mineral deficiencies are common when it comes to vegan lifestyles. It’s important that pet parents make sure their dog is receiving the necessary vitamins and nutrients that their cute little bodies need. 


Many times, you will need to add supplements to their diet including L-carnitine, amino acids, taurine, and other supplements when deemed necessary. Talking with your veterinarian regarding your pup’s vegan status, vegan diet, and their individual needs to make sure their health is at its best, is a great way to stay up-to-date and keep your vet in the loop.

 

 

Vegan Dog Food: Final Thoughts


Paw parents may choose a vegan or vegetarian diet for their four-legged bestie for numerous reasons. From various backgrounds and beliefs, health choices, political ideals, cultural and religious ideals, or whichever reason you choose, your pup’s diet is entirely up to you!


If you do decide to switch your dog to a plant-based diet, it’s important to be sure that it is nutritionally dense and complete, including the right supplements (if need be). Remember, vegan diets can improve your dog’s health, energy levels, temperament, and longevity, it’s also easier for your dog to lack the necessary nutrients that they absolutely need!


Per usual, we encourage our readers to do their homework, research, ask questions, and consult with your pup’s vet to ensure that he/she isn’t lacking any nutrients in any way whatsoever on a vegan diet. Veganism has the potential to do great things for your best friend, but may be harmful if not done in the right way. 

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