If you’re a vegan, then you may want to keep your dog on a vegan diet as well.
But can dogs go on a vegan diet? Is it safe for dogs to be vegan?
The answer is yes, dogs can be vegan.
Below, we’ll tell you what you should know about making your dog vegan.
And, we’ve got some commentary from experts to help you make this dietary transition for your dog.
Experts On Dogs Being Vegan
The most important advice is to take baby steps. Transitioning a dog to a vegan diet can be done with time and patience if you go about it the right way, but since this is your animal’s diet we want to make sure that transitioning them is as gentle and painless as possible. If the meat you are going to replace has been pureed or ground up into smaller pieces (like in canned dog food), then generously augment that with fruits, veggies, high-quality grains like oats, barley or brown rice at each meal – add 1/4th of the volume of what they’ve had so far at every feed for 3-4 meals before moving on.
— Taurus Sinkus of 21 Day Hero
As a pet parent, I’ve advised many dog owners on their pet’s diet. I have first-hand experience with the effects and the benefits of the vegan diet, and I’m in a great position to share my insights.
Most dogs thrive on a vegan diet as long as it contains all the necessary nutrients they need. Meat may be vital for them, but they can quickly adapt to animal-based proteins as long as their bodies are receptive. The diet benefits dogs that are allergic to animal products because it is easier on their digestive systems.
Most dog owners are usually concerned about the nutritional aspect of eliminating meat. Therefore, I often recommend the vegan diet for dogs with digestive complications because it is safe, and if you prepare it well, it can still offer the same nutritional benefits as animal proteins. My top choices are vegetables, beans, lentils, rice, barley, oats, and other safe plant starch. However, if you have issues preparing it, you can buy commercial dog food from reputable retailers.
An animal-based diet has several benefits to your pet. It helps the skin glow while keeping the fur healthy and silky. Your dog will also have better oral health, and the droppings won’t have a strong smell. Besides, unlike animal proteins that can lead to obesity when in excess, a vegan diet will manage your pet’s weight.
However, it is vital to be careful with the diet switch because some owners may unknowingly harm their dogs in the process. You can seek your nutritionist’s advice first because each dog has unique nutritional requirements. Therefore, it is best to get guidance on the best vegan foods and the recommended portions to ensure that your dog gets the right nutrient content. Also, a vegan diet may not be suitable for young, old, lactating, or sick dogs.
— Harvey Wells of Cool Pets Advice
You can feed a dog a vegan diet, but it would be more of a challenge than you might imagine. They are obligate carnivores meaning they need to get nutrients from meat. They do have an enzyme called lactase that normally digests milk sugars in the intestine. It’s possible that this enzyme may break down other types of sugar too; vegetables, grains, and fruits. A diet heavy in fruit may provide some needed nutrients such as vitamin C and antioxidants for dogs who still eat meat.
— Alex Williams of Get Vegan
Yes, dogs are omnivores and can thrive — not just survive — on plant-based food. This is especially important because whether you choose to feed dogs fully vegan or not, we can at least reduce the amount of animal protein being fed and they will do well. The reasons are the same as they are for eating more plants and less meat for humans: most of the meat, even “human-grade,” in pet food is from factory farm feed lots. It’s the same low-quality meat that we have been rejecting in our own diets out of concerns for health, the environment and animal welfare.
— Lilian Dodd of The Hobby Kraze
Over the last few decades, owners have been spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing a diet for their dog. From raw food diets and grain-free options to hypoallergenic and breed-specific recipes, there are a vast array of choices available. More recently, even vegetarian and vegan diets have been released onto the market.
The dog is a natural omnivore. This means that they are designed to eat both meat and non-meat foods (such as vegetables and grains). In the wild, they would survive off meat, bones, and the contents of wild animal’s stomachs. As they were domesticated, they were happy to share our scraps with us and eat what we ate. It was only just under one hundred years ago that the first mass-produced tinned dog food was released (and this was not a vegan diet!).
The demand for vegan dog food is largely driven by vegan humans who feel it is ethically wrong to use animals for their meat. Those worried about the impact of farming on the environment, are also driving up demand. While dogs can technically survive on a balanced vegan diet, it is difficult to say whether or not this is the right thing for them. It is also debatable as to whether this is a decision we should be making on their behalf. Can a dog subsist on a vegan diet? Yes. Should they? Well, this one is open to debate.
There are a number of vegan food manufacturers out there who work hard at creating palatable meals that dogs won’t turn their noses up at. The first vegan dog food was released in the 1980s. Companies need to ensure that the meals contain all of the fundamental nutrients, including all of the essential amino acids which are abundant in meat. Vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iodine, and B12 need to be supplemented sufficiently.
Trying to make a home-cooked vegan diet is a recipe for disaster. Unless the owner is a qualified canine nutritionist, the diet will almost certainly be lacking in certain ingredients. According to Dos Santos, the president of the British Veterinary Association: It is theoretically possible to feed a dog a vegetarian diet, but it’s much easier to get it wrong than to get it right. Of course, a vegan diet is even harder to pull off. Those who are keen to feed a homemade vegan diet must consult with a veterinary nutritionist first.
— Dr. Linda Simons, MVB MRCVS of Five Barks
Some dog owners want to put their dog on a vegan diet simply because they themselves are vegan. In this case, I’d urge pet owners not to apply their personal dietary preferences onto their pet, since their nutritional requirements are quite different, and a meat-based diet is best for canines.
— Andy Wang of Knives Sensei
As you can see, you can certainly put your dog on a vegan diet if you want.
The truth is that dogs will eat whatever you give them, so if you only give them vegan food, then they’ll eat it.
But it is important to make sure that you dog is still getting all of the required nutrients from his food each day.