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What To Feed Your Vegan Dog

If you’re a vegan, odds are people have tried to “catch you” cheating on your veganism by feeding your dog animal products or a food that was tested on animals. Here are the issues to consider when choosing kibble. (Canned food is cost prohibitive when you have 160 pounds of greyhound, like I do.)

If you’re a mail-order person, many vegans swear by Evolution, V-dog and Wow-Bow. If you want to stay away from wheat, soy, and corn, your option is Natural Balance Vegetarian. PetGuard‘s Organic Vegetarian seems like it might be perfect, until you read the fine print: it contains eggs. But if you know someone who insists on feeding their dogs meaty foodstuffs, tell them to at least choose a food that wasn’t tested on animals.

Finally, if you don’t already have a holistic vet, find one (and some work by phone, but don’t ask me how) to help you through any bumps on the road to a thriving vegan dog.

9 Comments

  1. Comment by

    Jason Das

    on #

    Thanks, Mary! I wish I had a dog to feed vegan.

    While they aren’t listed as members of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, I’d like to post a shout out for Brooklyn’s Hope Vet. They’re great people and have no problem with vegan companion animals.

    Also, for the truly dedicated, preparing food from scratch is the way to go (no, I’m not that dedicated either). It’s by no means specifically vegan or vegetarian, but Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats is a great resource

  2. Comment by

    dustinbuster

    on #

    I have tried several of these foods, and my two dogs PREFER (actually LOVE) V-Dog, which contains all of the offending ingredients—corn, soy, wheat. Pardon my ignorance, but WHY are those ingredients bad for dogs? My dogs have only been eating V-Dog for a few months, but both of them have enjoyed some serious and obvious benefits: extra shiny coat, better dog breath, etc. I am worried about all of this anti-soy and wheat talk; but no one has effectively explained the rationale behind banning them.

  3. Comment by

    mary martin

    on #

    dustinbuster,

    First, one of my hounds is diabetic, and that opens up a colossal can of worms. Every food has a glycemic index, which basically tells you how much it affects blood sugar and how quickly. Corn not only isn’t jammin’ in nutrients, it affects blood sugar more than, say, broccoli (it is also most likely genetically modified). Soy, wheat, and corn are the most common allergens for dogs, and one of my dogs (not the diabetic) has every allergy in the book.

    Furthermore, I happen to shy away from corn, and there’s some great stuff in The Omnivore’s Dilemma as to why that’s a good idea. And much of soy is genetically modified AND we still don’t know about long term effects of a diet based on soy (this isn’t the soy product like the folks in Okinawa eat). Wheat is highly mucuous forming, so I stay away from that, too (for my family–dogs included).

    Because there are options, such as quinoa, barley, millet, oatmeal, peas and sweet potatoes, there is no need to throw the dice with ingredients that are suspect (for me).

    With that said, if it’s not broke, you might not want to fix it.

  4. Comment by

    rich

    on #

    It is fine to have your own convictions and choose what you eat. However, it is inappropriate to feed your dog a diet so low in nutritional protein they can easily adsorb and assimilate. By feeding your canine a vegan diet, you are essentially depriving a helpless animal of essential nutrients. Find a source of animal based protein you are comfortable giving your dog and use it. I read a couple of the posted responses and was amazed at the blissful ignorance. Many of the food components (e.g corn) are used my cheap dog food manufacturers as fillers. Soy products, in some animals, especially those that are sensitive to food allergy, can induce seizure. Sure dogs are omnivores and can benefit from a robust diet including carrots and apples etc… but omnivore means the inclusion of animal based proteins. So remove your bias and educate yourself with personal research and in depth knowledge. Be careful, you may unintentionally hurt your best friend

  5. Comment by

    doggydogworld

    on #

    I guess I was wrong about feeding rice to my dog. I read this interesting article on http://www.englishbulldogpuppyblog.com/uncategorized/are-you-feeding-your-english-bulldog-the-right-kind-of-foods

  6. Comment by

    mellony

    on #

    I am researching Vegan today due to our new neighbor who has a little girl that play’s with my kids and she is vegan! Her Mom got upset, for what I don’t know and now will not allow her little one over in the yard to play. I did put sunscreen on her once, and my daughter had applied makeup on her in which she got in trouble by me for. So I thought, hmm, I wonder about animal testing and such, did look those brands up and thankfully they are vegan friendly products. Anyhow, I am currious though as to how vegans can honestly feed their dogs which are a carnivor species, if they were left in nature they would eat both animals and vegetation. I live in the forest and trust me, this is what dogs/cats eat by nature. And for “Soy”, my sons teacher thought eating a diet rich in Soy would be healthy, well it didn’t prolong her life rather risked it. A young Mom of two and she is now fighting a battle of cancer, according to her Doctor’s it is due to the abundance of Soy in her diet. So hopefully that can answer your questions in regards to soy being harmfull. If you want a good meal for your dogs, make it yourself. I have done this! Rice, and beans makes a whole protein, then add several fresh vegies dogs love them. Many dogs also like apples and other fresh fruits. Make a batch of this, then measure it out in single servings, wrap up and freeze. Take out two meals per dog each nite before heading to bed they will be thawed by morning. Good luck if you plan to feed your dog Vegan style. Don’t get madd at your poor dog if they do come home with a bone, remember it is them by nature!!! They can’t help it!!!

  7. Comment by

    Rick Diamond

    on #

    Some dogs thrive on vegan diets and others do not. The Simple Little Vegan Dog Book by Michelle Rivera (2009, Book Publishing Company, Summertown, Tennessee) contains veterinarian approved guidelines for placing a dog on a vegan diet and yummy recipes using healthy ingredients. http://www.bookpubco.com/products/simple-little-vegan-dog-book

  8. Comment by

    Danielle

    on #

    V-dog no longer has corn, wheat or soy and has 24% protein. All 5 of mine – all life stages and various allergies – love it and are thriving on it! I cook for them once a day as often as I can to encorporate fresh foods but overall am so extremely happy with this kibble. They were fed Orijen prior to the switch and they haven’t missed a beat going vegan!

  9. Comment by

    Danielle

    on #

    And PS if you truly do your research – and this means reading studies not just Internet articles – you will see that a properly balanced vegan diet is more than sufficient for dogs. What so the two oldest recorded dogs in history have in common? One ate strictly meat and one strictly vegan – however they both were fed human grade, non processed food. Which is why I’m cooking for my dogs once a day to give them that benefit but I do not feel comfortable yet letting them rely solely on me for the balancing of their food. I carefully monitor blood levels and weight as well and have seen no changes negatively.

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