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Vegan Dogs?

by Teresa
(Mo, USA)

I have been researching a vegan dog food and wonder if you think it is healthy. I am vegan and it bothers me each time I put money toward the purchase of dog food. I posted a comment about turning my dog into a vegan dog on the Youtube site where Earthlings was shown, and surprisingly got the response that it would abuse to my dog to make her be a vegan dog. I do not want to cause harm to my dog's health but am really interested in knowing more about having a vegan diet for my dog.

I can completely understand where you are coming from as I have two dogs and am in the process of learning more about vegan dog food myself.

One of my dogs has spent his entire eight years of life an itchy mess. He gets yeast infections in his ears when he eats grains, and we had tried almost every single high quality dog food on the market. I'm not talking about anything from a commercial pet store or super market, which is often filled with corn meal and veiled sugars and other crap that is terrible for any animal. What we've tried is really high quality food from a small, family-owned holistic pet food shop where they know and love animals inside and out. They recommend brands like Canidae, Natural Balance, Pinnacle, Timberwolf Organics, Azmira, and other whole food based dog foods. We trolled through all of the grain-free foods for him and finally settled on a fish and sweet potato mix that worked for a few years. He has recently become allergic to fish as well, and that made me reconsider everything again.

Now, I did not love buying fish, but I felt like I had to get the kind of food that a dog was made to eat, and they have a totally different body structure than humans-- canine teeth, shorter digestive tracts, the whole nine yards. But, they are domesticated animals and not quite the same as their wolf ancestors. I am just like you in that I hated supporting the factory farming industry by buying his dog food. Hated it.

Somewhere along the line, we tried two commercial vegan dog foods, both of which resulted in the runs and bad yeast in the ears, as well as biting of the paws (which indicates allergy.) I would obviously 100% prefer to feed him vegan food, but with his allergy to grains, I didn't think that was possible. I was uneducated and felt like I had no choice.

From what I have read recently, I know vegan dogs can do very well on vegan diets. You might have heard that the longest-living dog was a vegan dog who lived more than 27 years. Many of the degenerative diseases that humans get from heavy meat consumption can affect dogs as well.

In fact, the same dog of mine had skin cancer last year. It was stage 2, which means it can either go to stage 3 and be fatal or can sometimes go away. After surgery and a year of medicine cocktails designed to suppress new growth (and one more surgery in between for something we thought was a recurrence), he is cancer free. He still takes medicine for hypothyroidism daily, as well as some maintenance medicine for the cancer that we can hopefully wean him off of with no recurrence. My guess is that dogs with compromised immune systems are more likely to develop these diseases than ones that are healthier. The problem is, probably a good number of the domesticated dogs nowadays have problems with their immune systems.

Any loving dog owners knows that someone who takes so much time researching and considering foods for their dog couldn't possibly want to neglect or abuse them in any way, but must be acting out of love. Of course you are doing nothing wrong! But, I feel your anxiety about this.

If vegan diets are hardly accepted for humans, imagine what vets think about them for pets. But, just like with our own diets, we have to remember to do what we believe is best. My dog was sick, and so I bit my lip and ignored my beliefs in favor of giving him what I felt was best for him, but it turns out that meat is not best for him, so had I honored my ethics all along, he might have been better off.

You Won't Believe What Food My Dog Loves Best

We are now on a diet that makes my pup the happiest I've ever seen him. His ears have cleared up, he's not scratching or biting his feet, his fur is shiny, he's got more energy, and his eyes sparkle. Can you guess what I've been feeding him? Quinoa and lentils. This combination alone will not sustain him long term, but he needed some plain, neutral, "sick dog" food to get back to a baseline from which we can see what foods work for him.

I know making food for your dog sounds time-consuming and perhaps a little ridiculous, but if you have time to boil quinoa and lentils, puree them in a food processor, and divvy them into cup servings in the fridge, you could make some food a little while.

There are two amino acids that dogs need to thrive that are not available in plants, l-carnitine and taurine. We add a mix called VegeDog Mix by Hoana that was designed to supplement vegan dog food. When you buy it from Vegan Essentials, a recipe booklet comes too, which is incredibly helpful.

There are a few other vegan dog foods on the market that you can try to see how your dog does with them. Once my dog is stabilized and the toxins from his old food have completely left his body, he might be able to handle those commercial vegan dog foods. We'll begin adding potential allergens slowly, and add nothing else, to see how he adjusts to them and see if they cause a reaction.

Our dogs have always loved bananas, apples, carrots, and kale, and they know those foods by name. When they hear the vegetable peeler or the snap of a banana peel, they run to the kitchen. As long as you stay away from known toxins like raisins, grapes, onions, and chocolate, most vegetables are great supplements to your dog's diet.

Anyone else have stories to share about their vegan dogs?

Comments for Vegan Dogs?

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Feeding my cats? They are strictly carnivores.
by: Dana

I have been a vegetarian for 3 1/2 years and am moving to becoming a vegan. I am a huge animal lover and the more I learn about factory farming, the horrible cruelty that goes on with that I know becoming a vegan is for me. I however really struggle about feeding my two cats that I adore. I read all of the questions you have posted from other people and saw the one about feeding dogs. However cats are a bit different, they are completely carnivores. I would love to hear your and everyone's take/suggestions on this. Thank you for being here!!!

how to go vegan with my dog
by: Anonymous

I am totally serious about going vegetarian or vegan but I have a small dog that he eats chicken and rice I feel hypocritical if I don't eat meat but allow the meat still in the house how can I get him off the chicken?

Grain-free home cooked dog food
by: Dasha

Nobody needs to feed grains to a dog. Here's what my dog gets to eat (organic, gluten-free):

Cooked buckwheat with cooked millet

Chickpea flour (for folate and phytohormones)

Nori (for iodine)

Freshly grounded flax seeds (for omega 3)

Coconut oil

Blended raw veggies (carrots, zucchini, cucumber, beetroot, broccoli)

Sometimes banana, soya sprouts, arugula etc.

Her coat is super soft, her eyes amazingly clear, her scent is really lovely and her poop has the perfect consistency, it never leaves any residues when I pick it up on the street.

Blood tests were also great, the only thing artificial in her diet is B12.

Regarding taurine and l-carnithine: Most dogs can produce that themselves, only certain purebreed dogs (mostly big ones) are prone to a defect in that area.

I wouldn't give her kibble, since all the vegan kibbles here in Germany are full of synthetic vitamins that are either useless or harmful. They also are expensive despite the fact that they are made of many cheap ingredients that can cause allergies (soya, wheat, corn).

Vegan Dogs Thriving facebook page
by: Anonymous

Check the thread on the cover photo of Vegan Dogs Thriving (facebook page) to learn how to manage urinary issues in dogs.

Thanks for your comments
by: Linda

Thank you all for your comments. And thank you to the person who mentioned Whiskers in NYC.
My dog has had diarhea issues and bladder issues, since being rescued from a shelter.

I give her bits of raw meat in her food.
She loves her veggies. And I give her a little bit of Natural Balance to make sure she gets all of her vitamins.
I think it is important to give animals raw meat.
If I buy fresh meat I open the package, roll into little meat ball sizes and then freeze it all, because freezing removes any bacteria, etc.

Both my dog and cat, if given little meat ball sizes of raw meat daily, have glossy skin, and no smelly poops. And my dog's doggie smell disappears.

My dog also has suffered from urinary tract infections, and after three courses of antibiotics, I said no more, and use apawthacary Golden seal, echinicia and it works like a miracle.

Now I am struggling to get her off of kibble.
I also do not give her any corn or soy.
She does well with sweet potatoes also.

Thank you for all your posts, enjoyed reading them.

Dog diet
by: LyNel

I have two Great Pyrenees. Keeps the mountain lions & bears away. My vet said, the zoo's feed Hills dog food to lots of their animals. They know what to supplement in the way of fruits & vegetables for each species. Now I simply cannot afford the Hills brand. My dogs go through 100 pounds in three weeks of dry food. It's very cold where I live & they run two acres. On top of that I have never seen Hills sold anywhere in 50# bags. Only cans of food. My vet. said wild animals do just fine because they eat wild animals & the entire animal. My problem is how to get this kind of eating into my two dogs without breaking the bank or inviting parasites. Just food for thought. Maybe talking to zoos is a good idea.

Dog allergic to ALL human products?
by: Anonymous

WTF does that even mean. That's not possible. Please do not provide misinformation.

I also highly do not recommend feeding cats and dogs a vegan diet. Especially cats, they should really only be fed a raw diet IMO. They barely even need water if fed properly.

by: Rafa is my dog

I have my dog on a low glycemic diet to lose 10 lbs. I found that if I gave him a few lentils he was jumping up and down for more. Just loves them.

So when I make lentil soup, he has lentil soup too. You're correct, commercial dog food is junk.

good brands?
by: Victoria

I have two beagles and a cat, and it bothers me that they eat regular pet food and treats, which undoubtedly comes from factory farms.

I'm a busy sixteen-year-old, and I live with both my non-vegan parents, so preparing vegan pet meals myself seems a little out-of-reach, especially because my parents aren't bothered at all by their current diet. Additionally, I'll be leaving for college in less than two years, and it seems unlikely that my parents would uphold a vegan diet after I've left.

Of course, the health of my pets it important to me as well. For dogs, a vegan diet seems a bit more attainable, as they are natural omnivores. But feeding a cat mashed chickpeas? It seems fundamentally wrong. Although, my cat is pretty strange and likes to eat dog food when the beagles have breakfast and dinner. I'm pretty sure he eats more dog food than cat food now. Unlike our perpetually hungry beagles, he always has access to this dry cat food, which I'm sure is where he gets his taurine.

So my main question here is, how healthy and practical is it really to feed dogs or cats a vegan diet? And how could I convince my parents to go along with this?

I'm also considering encouraging my parents to purchase non-vegan brands that seem more animal-friendly in their production. I need to do some more research, but I've read on this forum that Canidae, Natural Balance, Pinnacle, Timberwolf Organics, and Azmira are good brands to consider. Are there any thoughts on this?

I would really appreciate any thoughts, advice, or stories about your personal experience. Thanks!

by: deb

hi, can you please help me here? ok, first off what food is your dog still eating? still the lentils n quinoa? and do you mix other things? or did you give him that till he seemed"better?" now what is he eating? I am also vegan, and have tryed my dog on 2 commercial foods, neither worked(well one now says they have changed their formula), vet said duck n garbonzo beans n peas, so I did that for over a mo, she broke out all over:(, someone was kind recently, sent me food, with meat, n dairy in it, and she got very sick.. please, can the owner of this site e mail me private? I really need to have some help re my poor dog:( thanks

Vegan cat food?
by: Robert

Hi. I'm a vegan and a cat owner. To the best of my knowledge and abilities I live vegan. Other than buying nonvegan cat food. I know there is no valid excuse that buying regular cat food is still vegan. But I can't imagine my life without my cat. What do some other vegans think about pet food?

Healthy Vegan Dog
by: Anonymous

I am a long term vegan but I had always fed my cat and dog meat products. Cats need taurine to survive and thus are not suitable for a vegan diet, unless taurine is supplemented. However most cats are unhappy with dry food diets and this should be considered before feeding a carnivorous animal a veg diet. However my dog suffered allergies and poor health for years until I put him on a strictly vegan diet (at the advice of my non vegetarian vet). He is allergic to ALL animal products. Dogs are omnivorous and can, like humans thrive on a vegan diet. My dog has never been healthier on a diet of chickpeas/lentils, sweet potato, green vegies, and occasional non wheat grains like brown rice, quinoa etc. Sometimes I supplement his diet with a protein powder too! My dog is a high energy farm dog and he does very well on this diet.

please do not make your cat be vegan
by: Anonymous

Please do not try to force your dogs and cats to live on a vegan diet. I was vegan for a time and, while my health has dramatically improved after reincorporating animal products into my diet, I support everyone's right to eat what they want. With a lot of planning, many people can be reasonably healthy on a vegan diet, however, dogs and cats evolved to have a diet much more focused on meat than the broad diets that humans evolved for. Lack of meat in the diet of these animals can lead to severe health problems, I would suggest that vegans who have ethical compunctions about purchasing meat to feed their pets do the right thing and try to find omnivore homes for their cats and dogs. Perhaps a rabbit or a turtle would make a more appropriate pet for extremist vegans. If you must go the vegan pet route, please, please do not just feed your cat or dog what you are eating. I have seen more than one vegan activist do this and watched the unpleasant consequences. While in a human, the diet of soy yogurt, miso soup, and Tofutti may just make you pale and tired, this kind of diet can condemn your cat to a death of slow starvation.

I agree about dogs
by: Polly

Yes, this is exactly what I've been thinking about, thank you. I've been on other sites where the more 'freakier' of vegans have condemned others for even giving their kids cheese, which I do, and feeding their pets meat which I also do. They say you are not a true vegan! I think being a vegan is also doing what's practical and safe ( I also have to take asthma meds). Scooby is actually a very happy healthy little dog as he is but it's only ME that feels bad about his diet, not him. Maybe I'll just have to get over it, will defo be giving it some more thought. Thanks Alexandra :)

Dogs can be Vegans, But Not Cats
by: Alexandra

Dogs can do well on a vegetarian diet, but do not try it with cats. Before you try this on the dog, I think you need to consider whether inflicting your diet upon an omnivore is fair. I have been an ethical veg for nearly 25 years and have struggled with this since I picked up a stray cat. Research led me to understand that I would be jeopardizing his health for my ethics. At the end of the day, we have to ask what they would eat if they were on their own and I think the answer would not be commercial food or veggies other than grass. An adopted rabbit would be the ideal companion for those who resist this truth.

Please Don't Make Your Cat Vegan
by: Anonymous

Please do not force a vegan diet on your cats. I am an ethical vegan and have a cat whom I picked up from the street as a kitten. He loves all kinds of fruits and veggies but he must have meat. I cook him poultry stews and buy high quality cat foods. I have done the research and even vets who recommend veg diets for dogs (no vegan) are against it. Cats are carnivores and do not have the digestive enzymes to for grains; in fact, too mnay grains can result in UTI. Also, fish should be limited. Trust me, I tried to get around the meat by giving my cat mackerel, salmon, and tuna, and it caused problems. We have to understand that for us it is a choice for them it is necessity.

Here's another good resource
by: Ron

Check out The Vegetarian Site for more info on the Vegan Dog Book

Works for some
by: Susan

The United States Humane Society has put out an organic vegan product for ADULT dogs only. As a vegan, I have researched this topic a lot, and feel that one has to make these decisions for their pet based on what they can tolerate. The dog food I purchased from USHS was not tolerated by my two labs. They promptly threw it up. They cannot tolerate grain, although I make dog biscuits with a little rice flour and they are ok with that. I feed Orijen fish because of the joint issues and do not have to supplement my lab with congenital hip issues and have been extremely happy with this product.

I must also comment on the cat question. Cats are very carnivore and need moist, grain free meat. Sorry folks. Dry food for cats is not a good choice because they are desert animals and do not drink a lot of water and dry food can cause physical problems. My opinion from extensive research and trial. I have two dogs and two cats who are all very healthy.

Cat Vegan Food
by: Anonymous

Can anyone help me regarding vegan cat food? I have two cats - 9 and 3 years old. I feel horrible feeding them the typical cat food, yet concerned about having them go vegan.

Vegan dogs
by: Anonymous

Cathleen, you are right on - as usual! I'd like to add some information that I have because of the whole allergy and longevity issue you brought up.

There is a holistic pet supply in NYC. It has been around for about 30 years (I think). Anyway. the guys that run the place are not only famous, but brilliant! They have a full understanding of animal disease, nutrition, allergies, behavior and owners. If you walk into their store you will find it covered in thank you letters and when I've walked in to thank them and praise them, I always get a bunch of nodding heads around me from people who share my gratefulness. These guys have saved me thousands of dollars that would have got spent at the vet for temporary results only.

Before i met these guys I had spent thousands at the vet and gotten no results. After I met these two, I simply walk into their store or call them on the phone if I have an issue, I spend anywhere from $0 -$60 and the issue is completely resolved -Forever! They have their own line of products but, support other good products too. They have been through it with their own animals and understand it inside out. Phil and Joe: 1-800-WHISKERS.


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