Do you have a dog which is allergic to many foods? Have you wondered if you can decrease the negative carbon footprint on the planet? Or maybe you just want to make sure that your pup eats the best food possible. Vegan dog food provides such benefits as:
- improved overall health and mood
- increased energy levels
- improved longevity
- decreased likelihood of cancer, infections, obesity, and other illnesses
Besides being an ethical choice, a plant-based diet is great for dogs’ health. Read our reviews of commercial vegan dog foods to find out which one suits your pup the best!
Vegan Dry Kibble Comparison
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Vegan Dog Food Buying Guide
When looking for the best vegetarian or vegan dog food, there are quite a few options on the market already, even though it is still very new. We created a vegan dog food buying guide to help you understand what ingredients to look for in a vegan dog food formula.
There are a few products that can provide the basic nutritional values recommended for dogs. However, they are either not vegan or they do not include the nutrients which are essential for vegan dogs to maintain excellent health. Here is a list of things we take into consideration when reviewing and rating the plant-based dog foods:
Digestive enzymes increase the absorption of vital nutrients, including essential fatty acids, by up to 71%. This increased absorption prevents such issues as: joint difficulties, skin dryness, digestive disorders, flatulence, excessive shedding and others. The use of digestive enzymes also helps avoid digestive stress, yeast removal, and toxin build-up.
It has been found that the lack of an amino-acid, taurine, may cause heart failure in dogs. Dogs can synthesize taurine from other amino-acids, but results from various research show that not all dogs can make adequate amounts of their own taurine. Furthermore, it has been observed that the supplementation of this amino-acid may reverse an existing heart disease.
L-carnitine, as well as taurine, is an amino-acid that has also been linked to good cardiovascular health in dogs. The lack of it is usually diagnosed in adult dogs, when it causes a cardiomyopathy (abnormal heart muscle, dilated being the most common). The deficiency of this amino-acid is also linked to other issues like diabetes and muscle weakness.
Known as a supplement commonly used by vegans, vitamin B-12 (Cobalamin) is also important for dog’s health. The deficiency of B-12 in a dog’s diet may cause lethargy, loss of appetite and depression. Furthermore, because B-12 is water soluble and is excreted through urination, dogs (especially senior dogs) with renal disease (kidney failure) may experience Cobalamin deficiency.
Although this is an ingredient you may not be expecting to find in a must-have list for vegan dog foods, it is still a very important one. According to the study of vegetarian dogs, which was conducted by PETA in 1994, vegetarian diets with their typically decreased protein content may result in urinary alkalinisation. The condition, in turn, may lead to life-threatening urinary issues like the formation of stones, difficulty in urinating, and urinary infections. One of the simplest ways to prevent this is to supplement your dog’s diet with methionine, vitamin C, and/or cranberry extract.
Although soy is very prevalent in many dog foods in the current market, we believe that soy products should be only fed to dogs in moderation and should not be included in the daily food rations. We base our opinion on the study that was conducted by PETA, where a soy-less food diet resulted in good to excellent health in dogs. Furthermore, a 2004 study found that 24 soy-containing dog foods had phytoestrogens, in quantities which might have a biological effect on pets.
Why Choose Vegan Dog Food?
Apart from the ethical issues regarding how dog food is made and what impact that has on the planet, studies have shown that dogs can survive AND thrive on a vegan diet. And that is what we, loving dog parents, want to provide to our furry companions – a long and healthy life.
According to a 2009 study, published by British Journal of Nutrition, two groups of actively racing huskies showed no difference in overall health during the 16-week trial. In fact, the red blood cell counts has increased in both groups.
The results of an older study, published in 1994 by PETA, concluded that vegan dogs are more often in excellent health than vegetarian dogs. Furthermore, researchers claim that, the improved longevity might correlate with the amount of time that the dog has been vegan.
This study has also mentioned a few concerns regarding soy, the lack of L-carnitine and Taurine in the diet, which we take into consideration when rating vegan dog food on this site.
A new vegan dog food company has also completed an at-home-feeding trial, where 20 dogs were selected to transition to a plant-based diet. The study lasted 12 weeks and resulted in easy transitions and medical improvements in dogs’ health.
There are a few popular articles about vegan dogs like Bramble, who lived up to 27 years while on a veggie diet.
Transitioning To a Plant-based Food
Changing your dog’s diet is a big thing, so don’t take it lightly. We recommend consulting your veterinarian regarding your choice and the best option for your dog’s current health.
If you do decide to switch from meat-based to a plant-based diet, though, do it over 5 – 7 days. Gradually decrease the amount of the old food while adding the new one instead and pay close attention to any changes in your dog’s health.
We aim to look at all the products in the market at the moment and provide honest, science – backed reviews of each of them. If you have any questions or comments, you are very welcome to express them by contacting us!