Differences Between Vegetarian & Vegan Diet
It is important for dog owners to be aware of several facts and details before switching pet food. For some reason, a quick Google search will lead to several articles that use vegetarian dog food and vegan diets interchangeably. While vegetarian diets and vegan diets do have similarities, they also have important differences.
Vegetarian and vegan dog foods both lack meat. However, vegetarian diets can still have animal products such as eggs and milk whereas vegan diets cannot include any animal products. You can see why adopting any plant-based diet but particularly a vegan diet can be challenging to say the least.
Potential Problems For Vegan Dogs
Dogs can live on a vegan diet, but that doesnt necessarily mean they should. In an interview with WebMD, Dr. Cailin Heinze, VMD, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist and assistant professor of nutrition at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, puts it this way:
For dogs, certainly vegetarian and vegan diets can be done, but they need to be done very, very carefully. There is a lot of room for error, and these diets probably are not as appropriate as diets that contain at least some animal protein.
According to WebMD, an improperly-balanced vegan diet can lead to a few serious deficiencies:
- Inadequate protein intake
- Amino acid imbalance
- Vitamin and/or mineral deficiency
Protein levels can be adequately reached with plant-based diets, so long as your dog is able to digest high-protein meat alternatives like legumes and beans. However, the amino acids provide more of a challenge. Commercially-available vegan dog food will be formulated to make up for whats missing without meat, but if you make vegan dog food at home, youll need to include supplements.
We Still Dont Know Enough About How Much We Benefit From Some Of The Nutrients In Non
Singhal became interested in the nutritional side of non-dairy milks when she realised some of her patients and their families were making the switch to milk alternatives without thinking through the potential health consequences.
Plant milks all tend to have less fat, especially saturated fat with the exception of coconut milk than dairy milk. For adults, that may be a bonus. For young children, thats not the case in the UK, the NHS advises parents give children full fat cows milk from age one to two, and then semi-skimmed milk until they are five, because skimmed milk doesnt contain enough fat for young children.
Frustratingly, beyond broad brush nutritional information, we still dont know enough about how much we benefit from some of the nutrients in non-dairy beverages, says Singhal. That includes vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamin B12 and vitamin D when they are added through fortification. We don’t know how much nutrition really you are getting from these, especially for children, she says. It doesn’t make sense to just switch to non-dairy beverages without being aware of what you’re getting from those.
Coconut has emerged as one alternative as some people move away from cow milk
Despite this, some of us will still want to switch from dairy to plant milk, whether thats for environmental or ethical reasons.
Join one million Future fans by liking us on or .
Read Also: Mixing Wet Dog Food With Dry
Health Of Vegetarian Companion Animals
How can we assess the nutritional adequacy of vegan dog food brands? The best method of doing so is feeding trials.
These monitor the health of animals fed exclusively on test diets, over an extended period. While definitive studies dont yet exist, several examples exist online by pet owners, such as this one. These studies suggest that both dogs and cats can thrive on nutritionally-balanced vegetarian diets. Noted benefits include:
- Less parasites
- Diminished food intolerance reactions
So I Emailed Commissioner Wolfson
Nearly six years as a pet blogger has taught me to keep an open mind, even when I don’t initially agree with another person’s point of view, so I sent the following email to Commissioner Wolfson:
First I want to say that I’m a raw feeder, I believe dogs are carnivores, and I don’t support vegan or vegetarian diets for dogs. I source all of the food I feed to my dogs from humane and sustainable farmers in my area. And I’m an aspiring vegetarian because unlike my dogs, I think I can thrive on a vegetarian diet.
I want to write about what’s happening in Los Angeles and I also don’t believe in writing about a topic without having all of the information. I would like an opportunity to speak with you about your push to make all dogs in your shelters vegans. Specifically, I would like to know what science you have that proves that dogs will live longer on a vegan diet. I watched your video on Facebook and saw that you mentioned that people adopting vegan dogs would rethink their diet are you using the dogs to inspire more people to eat a vegan diet? If so, why?
We can speak via email, phone, or on video .
Thank you for your time. I hope to hear from you.
Color me surprised when he responded. We will be chatting on video at noon, Saturday 12/9/17. I’m really excited. For now, I’d like to address the feasibility of plant-based diets for dogs.
You May Like: Caesars Dog Food Recall 2021
Why Dogs Go Vegan
According to veterinarian and former president of the U.S. Humane Society Dr. Michael Fox, there are two main reasons people elect to feed their dogs a vegan diet:
Dogs with food allergies are typically sensitive to specific animal proteins, and eliminating processed animal products from their diet can help so long as the replacement diet is carefully formulated to provide essential nutrients.
In an interview with CNN, Dr. Fox says that some adult dogs do adapt and even thrive on well-balanced vegan diets, but most do best with a variety of foods that include some animals fats and protein. Still, Fox notes, Dogs could benefit from a vegan meal at least once a week to detox.
Is Vegan Food Healthy For My Dog
As far as you take care of your dogs daily nutritional needs, a vegan diet can be as healthy as a regular meat-based diet. The best way to ensure this is to consult your veterinarian before switching to vegan dog food.
Readily available vegan dog food may contain what a dog may need in general, but every dog has individual requirements, and some may require additional supplementation. To ensure your dog is healthy and thriving on a vegan diet, they must get all the essential nutrients, including adequate protein levels.
Recommended Reading: Caesars Dog Food Review
Problems With Vegan Dog Food Diets
While vegan dog foods are technically fine for dogs, it also depends on the nutritional suitability of those foods. A study by Kanakubo et al. raised important questions about the nutritional viability of vegan dog food diets.
The researchers looked at 24 vegetarian diets for dogs and cats sold in America. The crude protein and amino acid concentrations were compared with AAFCO Nutrient Profiles. All but one of the tested foods met minimum crude protein concentrations. However, six of the 24 diets failed to meet the minimum amino acid standards.
A follow-up study by Knight and Leitsberger contacted all companies by email, asking them to supply evidence of their nutritional claims. Five companies did not respond. None could provide independent lab verification about the nutritional value of their products.
One company actually admitted their product was not nutritionally complete. Wysong does not advocate the singular feeding of VeganTM to carnivores such as dogs. It is designed for intermittent feeding or as a base to add different meats for sensitivities and allergies.
They added that the concept of a single, nutritionally complete diet was impossible. Rather, they encouraged pet owners to rotate dog foods to ensure a nutritionally sound diet.
Evolution Pet Foods Gourmet Pasta Veggie Burger
First 5 Ingredients : Whole grain ground wheat, Corn Gluten Meal, Soybean Meal, Soybean Oil, Molasses
The Evolution Pet Foods Company was the 2013 winner of the Animal Wellness Magazine Best Pick Award for the finest vegan pet food. This company offers 100% complete for all life stages formulas and they use non-GMO ingredients in all of their recipes. The Evolution Pet Foods Company was founded nearly 30 years ago and it has spent the last three decades becoming one of the safest, most trustworthy pet food companies in the nation. Evolution Pet Foods is active in the fight for animal rights and their products have won a number of prestigious awards. In addition to offering an assortment of pet food products, Evolution also offers nutritional supplements and treats.
Choosing a healthy diet for your dog is always a challenge but it becomes more difficult when you remove meat from the equation. There is a great deal of controversy surrounding the issue of vegetarian and vegan dog food formulas, but it is possible to meet your dogs basic nutritional needs without meat or other animal ingredients. If you are thinking about making the switch, be sure to learn as much as you can about your dogs nutritional needs and about how a vegetarian or vegan dog food can meet them. When you are ready to start shopping around, consider one of the top recommended brands of vegetarian and vegan dog food reviewed above.
Don’t Miss: Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Low Fat Dog Food
Veganism Is Animal Cruelty
We really dont understand why this is such a talked about topic. However, it is, so we feel we must discuss it. Veganism is in no way, shape, or form animal cruelty. Many pet owners adopt a vegan lifestyle for their own specific reason, be it cultural, religious, etc. These individuals are certainly not being evil pet owners and we need to work to get rid of that unfortunate misconception.
What Else Should I Consider When Choosing A Vegan/vegetarian Diet For My Dog
Your dogs age, weight and health conditions must be carefully considered when choosing a diet. Elderly dogs and puppies have different nutritional needs. It is vital that puppies are on a puppy specific food as this contains the right balance of nutrients for growing. Feeding your puppy an adult food can lead to lifelong skeletal issues. Some health conditions require a specific prescription diet and there may not be a suitable vegetarian or vegan alternative on the market just yet.
You May Like: Darwin Dog Food Complaints
Gather Endless Valley Vegan Dry Dog Food
Protein 22% | Fat 11% | Fiber 4% | Moisture 10%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Organic Peas, Organic Barley, Organic Oats, Lentils, Organic Sunflower Oil
Gathers vegan option is fortified with essential nutrients andincludes only hand-selected, high-quality ingredients to ensure your dog gets only the best. Whether you want to make your dog vegan by choice or whether a vegan diet results from certain health conditions, this dog food wont disappoint you. Provide the best possible nutrition to your dog with this blend of delicious and sustainably-grown vegetables and fruits, including organic lentils, blueberries, potatoes, kale, cranberries, and carrots. It also includes various wholesome grains such as quinoa, oats, and barley to ensure a highly-nutritious, complete and balanced food for your beloved pooch.
Feed your dog the wholesome goodness of this meat-free and organic recipe thats also free from common allergens and fillers. The formuladoes not contain corn, soy, wheat, preservatives, or artificial flavors or colors.
Zukes Crunchy Naturals 10s Baked With Peanut Butter & Bananas Dog Treats
Protein 24% | Fat 14% | Fiber 5% | Moisture 10%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Oatmeal, 2. Pearled Barley, 3. Rice Bran, 4. Peanut Butter, 5. Bananas
If your dog likes the peanut butter flavors, hes surely going to love these treats! Baked with real bananas and peanut butter, these dog treats by Zukes Crunchy Naturals is formulated with the best ingredients to provide the best flavors and added nutrition your dog deserves. Besides peanut butter and bananas, the flavorful recipe includes barley, oatmeal, potatoes, rice bran, and sweetener from cane molasses to offer 100% vegan and deliciously wholesome treats to your dog.
Each biscuit is less than 10 calories and serves as a delectable vegan treat to reward your dog.
Also Check: Pedigree Vs Purina One
A Uk Professor Says Vegan Dog And Cat Food Is As Healthy As Pet Diets Based On Animal Proteins
A veterinary professor in the UK says his research showed that cats and dogs had as good, or better, health outcomes on plant-based diets as they did when fed on meat pet foods, provided these were carefully formulated with additional synthetic nutrients.
University of Winchester veterinary professor Andrew Knight said cats and dogs need a specific set of nutrients in their diets. So long as that is provided and the food is tasty and digestible, it doesnt matter whether the animals are eating meat or plant-based food. The claim is animals on vegan diets will necessarily become ill and its somehow cruel to maintain them, is contrary to the scientific evidence in this field and is ignorant, he told The Guardian.
Knights unpublished research is part of a larger study around vegan versus meat-based pet foods. That research noted that consumer suspicion of conventional pet foods, along with perceived health benefits of alternative diets, are fueling scientific research of the latter. However, the study also notes that some believe vegan diets for pets may be less palatable, or may compromise animal welfare.
Knight, in his research, does not appear to be arguing that any plant-based pet food diet will do. As noted above, vegan pet food needs to include the specific nutrients necessary for cats and dogs to stay healthy, even if they are synthetically derived nutrients.
Vegan Dog Food Can Cause Pancreatitis
Dogs already suffering from pancreatitis will only suffer more from an improper diet. Digestive enzymes in the pancreas actively breaking down certain proteins and nutrients can become dangerous.
Always use caution and be attentive to the minor details presented by a vegan dog food diet!
Are you looking for a fantastic canned dog food, but cant decide whats best? Try Halo Vegan Natural Wet Dog Food!
With Halo, youll get a 100% plant based meal with all of the quality nutrients your dog needs.Halo vegan wet food is a great alternative to a meat based that delivers the same essential nutrients.
Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Read Also: Iams Dog Food Henderson Nc
So What Should We Feed Our Shelter Dogs
In a world that is being negatively impacted by the amount of meat that we’re eating, I think we, the humans, should consider removing meat from our diet or decreasing the amount of meat we consume. But this is a dog nutrition blog, not a human nutrition blog. When it comes to our shelter dogs, I’m torn. While I don’t believe that a vegan diet for our dogs is the right path to take, many people have pointed out that vegan dog food may be better than some of the low-quality dog foods on the market and that are being donated to shelters.
Yes, those low-quality dog foods contain meat, but it’s low-quality meat . These foods have high amounts of grains and starches and there are kibble brands that are up to 60% carbs. Wow! Commissioner Wolfson mentioned Canidae and inferred that they were a low-quality kibble I disagree. I don’t think it’s great, but I can provide a list of 5 kibbles that are 100x worse for our dogs .
So what do we do?
I believe that we need to remember our economics lessons supply and demand. While kibble isn’t the best food for dogs, it’s the most convenient and affordable way to feed shelter dogs. Therefore, we need more high-quality kibble brands to step up and offer their food to shelters. We need donors to provide big bags of higher quality kibble. And we need to help shelters reach a place where they can successfully complete permanent adoptions in a short amount of time while reducing the number of homeless dogs.
I Dont Think People Should Sell Dog Food Unless They Eat It Themselves Ryan Bethencourt
The insects could also be a source of food for cats in the future, Russell says. Insects can help with the challenges of cat food diets because they are a complete protein. But we are focused on dogs for now, says Russell.
Though one is vegan and the other uses cricket protein, Chippin and Wild Earth foods have something in common: both Bethencourt and Russell have put their products to a taste test themselves.
I eat it all the time, says Bethencourt. I dont think people should sell dog food unless they eat it themselves. I challenge the executives of Nestles and Mars to eat their own dog food, and none of them have taken me up on it yet!
Join one million Future fans by liking us on or .
If you liked this story, , called The Essential List. A handpicked selection of stories from BBC Future, Culture, Worklife, and Travel, delivered to your inbox every Friday.
Also Check: Best Food For Pomeranian Puppies
What Is The Best Vegan Dog Food
What Do You Need to Know About Vegan Diets for Dogs?
When you think about a wolfs diet, you probably think of meat. Wolves are natural predators that catch and eat their kill. Though they are primarily carnivorous animals, they have been known to eat plants when other food is scarce, and they also consume some carbohydrates in the stomach contents of their prey. They are different from cats, however, which are obligate carnivores this means that the majority of their diet must come from animal sources in order for their bodies to digest it properly.
The first question that needs to be addressed is whether a dog can survive on a vegan diet. The simple answer is yes, it is possible.
To answer this question in greater depth, there are a few things to consider. First and foremost, nutrition. Your dog requires certain nutrients in specific amounts to maintain his health and wellness. As long as those needs are met by plant sources, it is technically possible for a dog to survive on a vegan diet. The main issue is that plant sources for things like protein and fat are less biologically valuable than animal sources your dogs body is optimized to digest and utilize nutrients from animal sources more efficiently than plant sources.
Just because your dog could technically survive on a vegan diet, however, doesnt mean that it is the best choice. There are two primary reasons a dog owner might switch their dog to a vegan diet: