If you have a dog in your life, then you probably know just how excited they get for bacon, sausage, or pretty much any food that contains meat or animal fat.
That’s because dogs are carnivores. From an evolutionary perspective, their entire genetic history has been spent hunting in the wild to sustain themselves and their pack.
That being said, there’s a growing movement of vegans who are switching their dogs over to a plant-based diet. To some, this may seem counterintuitive or even cruel and unnatural…
However, when you really break down all of the junk in most animal-derived dog food and compare it to the ingredients in plant-based dog food, you’ll find that most vegan dog food is actually healthier than traditional non-vegan dog food!
In today’s post, I’ll break down why vegan dog food is often healthier than non-vegan dog food, and address some of the top concerns that some pet owners have. Then, I’ll show you some of the best vegan dog food brands on the market!
Can A Dog Survive On A Vegan Diet?
To answer this question, it helps to break down what exactly “meat” is…
There’s only one reason why meat has been such a dominant food throughout history and animal evolution: it contains many of the essential proteins and minerals that we need to survive.
Whether you’re a human or a dog, meat contains:
- Amino acids
- Essential minerals
That’s why most living carnivores and omnivores have developed an evolutionary craving for meat.
However, thanks to modern technology, we’ve now been able to replicate the nutritional value of meat by using all-natural plant-based protein sources along with plant-based amino acids, fats, and essential minerals!
The main concern when it comes to switching your dog over to a vegan diet is malnourishment. Some pet owners try to make the switch without doing research or just try to feed their dogs a pure veggie diet. This can result in malnutrition, sickness, and even death.
This is why it’s so important to get the right vegan dog food.
What Do You Feed A Vegan Dog?
Switching your dog over to a vegan diet doesn’t mean that you’ll start feeding them a bunch of steamed veggies and tofu.
Instead, you’ll be feeding them specially-formulated vegan dog food that’s been designed alongside veterinarians and animal experts to ensure that it contains all of the essential proteins, amino acids, fats, and minerals that they’d typically get from eating meat.
The chemical composition of vegan dog food is very similar to a plant-based burger like those made by Beyond Meat.
Vegan Dog Food vs. Non-Vegan Dog Food
Here are a few of the key differences between vegan dog food and your typical bag of processed non-vegan dog food:
|Vegan Dog Food||Processed Non-Vegan Dog Food|
|Uses plant-based protein sources.||Uses animal-derived proteins using unsellable leftovers from slaughterhouses.|
|Contains essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals from plant-based sources that they’d otherwise get from meat.||Contains vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that naturally occur in meat, along with a few other added vitamins and minerals.|
|Typically grain-free or low in grain filler content.||Typically contains high amounts of corn, grain, and other non-nutritional fillers.|
|Contains fewer carcinogens, preservatives, and toxins.||Typically loaded with preservatives and toxins, many of which are cancer-causing.|
Is Vegan Dog Food Healthier For Dogs?
If you’ve ever read the ingredients list of most mainstream dog food brands, you’ll be disgusted at how many unnatural chemicals and poor cuts of meat they’re getting.
For one, most dog food is loaded with chemical preservatives. Secondly, they’re being fed the absolute worst scraps of meat scraped off the floors of slaughterhouses.
Non-vegan dog food is far from healthy, and leading research is showing that it’s one of the leading causes of cancer in dogs.
Vegan dog food is typically far healthier than most non-vegan dog food and contains fewer preservatives, fewer carcinogens, and fewer sugars and grains (which have no nutritional value to dogs whatsoever).
Most notably, Formula One racer, Lewis Hamilton, switched his dog over to a vegan diet after his bulldog was experiencing severe inflammation and health problems. Since the switch, he claims his dog has been healthier than ever!
The Best Vegan Dog Food: Plant-Based Food For Dogs
Now that you know a little bit more about the science behind plant-based dog food and why it’s often a healthier alternative to non-vegan dog food, here are some of the best vegan dog food brands on the market!
1) Wild Earth Vegan Dog Food (link)
- Type of Dog Food: Dry Kibble
Wild Earth Vegan Dog Food is one of the most reputable brands on the market.
While it is one of the most expensive dog foods I’ve ever purchased, it’s a brand I trust and contains nothing but pure, high-quality ingredients. After the one-week transition period (see below), my dogs loved it!
Unlike some of the cheaper vegan dog foods on the market, Wild Earth Vegan Dog Food was made alongside veterinary professionals to ensure that it contains everything your dog needs. It’s also 100% filler-free and doesn’t have any of the junk that you’ll find in typical store-bought kibble.
It’s made using real plant-based ingredients, such as pumpkin, chickpeas, spinach, sweet potatoes, and oats. Additional vitamins, minerals, and amino acids are added to ensure that it’s a complete, wholesome food source.
If your dog has allergies, this is a great option as well. It’s formulated without any of the typical allergy-causing additives. It also contains healthy fats that your dog needs for moisturized skin and coat, as well as healthy brain development.
- It’s 100% filler-free.
- It’s made with all-natural plant-based proteins.
- It’s formulated without allergy-causing ingredients.
- It includes added fats and minerals for healthy skin and coats.
- Developed with veterinarians.
- It’s very expensive dog food.
2) V-dog Vegan Mini-Kibble Dry Dog Food (link)
- Type of Dog Food: Dry Kibble For Small Dogs
V-Dog is another great brand that I’ve tried in the past. V-Dog Mini-Kibble is the perfect vegan dog food for those with small dogs that weigh under twenty pounds.
Smaller dogs often have smaller mouths and teeth, which can make it difficult for them to chomp down on larger chunks of food.
It’s not uncommon for small dogs or puppies to choke on large chunks of dog food. Additionally, the extra chewing and jaw movement can damage their teeth. So, I always recommend people with smaller dogs to try a mini-kibble.
V-Dog Mini-Kibble is made using a wide range of plant-based protein sources, including peas, pea protein, brown rice, potato protein, oatmeal, lentils, flaxseed, peanuts, alfalfa meal, carrots, blueberries, cranberries, beets, spinach, and even rosemary extract!
Additionally, it contains added vitamins and minerals to ensure that your pup is getting all of the nutrients they need!
The only downside to this product is the price point. Per pound, it’s even more expensive than the Wild Earth vegan dog food that I give my larger dog.
- Made with a wide variety of plant-based proteins.
- Contains real fruits, veggies, and even rosemary extract.
- Contains added vitamins and minerals for healthy bones, skin, and coats.
- Small kibble bites that are perfect for puppies and small dogs.
- High price point.
3) Halo Garden of Vegan Adult Vegan Wet Dog Food (link)
- Type of Dog Food: Wet Vegan Dog Food
Dry vegan kibble contains all of the nutrients that your dogs need to survive and thrive. However, I like to treat my dogs.
Several times a week, I always try to mix in some vegan wet dog food with their dry kibble. So far, Halo Garden of Vegan Wet Dog Food is the best my dogs have tried.
Every time I mix it in with their dry kibble, they gobble up their bowl double-time!
Unlike traditional wet dog food, which is made with copious amounts of junk and fillers, Halo’s wet food is made of all-natural fruits and veggies with a wet, stew-like consistency.
It’s super healthy for their digestion and is full of all-natural plant-based fiber and plant protein that will help them process their dry kibble even better. It also contains added Omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for your dog’s skin health and fur coat.
- Thick stew made from fruits and veggies.
- No artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors.
- Added Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Great for your dog’s digestion.
- Like most vegan dog food, it’s expensive (nearly double the price of non-vegan wet food).
4) V-dog Vegan Breath Bones, Vegan Dog Treat (link)
- Type of Dog Food: Vegan Breath/Dental Treats
I get it – brushing your dog’s teeth can be a chore. I try to get around to it once a week to ensure that their teeth remain strong and healthy throughout their life. I use V-Dog Vegan Breath Bones on the days I don’t brush their teeth, though!
These vegan dog treats are shaped like small bones and are perfect for small to medium-sized dogs to chew on after dinner.
They’re made with your dog’s dental health in mind and include all-natural ingredients that clean their breath and help keep their teeth and gums strong.
It contains cinnamon to cleanse the breath, along with several other vegetables and herbs, including broccoli, parsley, sweet potato, and chia seeds. All of these ingredients are high in vitamins and minerals that support healthy teeth and gums.
Plus, they taste great, so your dog will love them!
- Great-tasting treats that your dog will love.
- Supports dental health.
- Freshens your dog’s breath.
- Made with all-natural ingredients.
- They’re a bit small, so they might not be so good for larger dogs.
Important Note: You Need To Transition Your Dog Slowly!
It’s not healthy to immediately switch your dog’s food all at once. This can result in stomach illness, and indigestion, and may result in your dog refusing to eat at all, which can lead to malnourishment.
Here’s a good transition guide that you should use to easily switch your dog to a vegan diet:
- Days 1 and 2: 25% new vegan dog food, 75% old food.
- Days 3 and 4: 50% new vegan dog food, 50% old food.
- Days 5 and 6: 75% new vegan dog food, 25% old food.
- Day 7: 100% new vegan dog food.
Conclusion – Should You Switch Your Dog To A Vegan Diet?
I admit I was really apprehensive about switching my dogs to a vegan diet. I’d heard so many horror stories about dogs becoming sick and malnourished after getting switched to a vegan diet, and didn’t want it to happen to my dogs.
That’s why I made sure to do all of my research! I needed to be 100% sure that the food I was feeding my dogs was healthy and safe.
I’ve personally tried and used all of the products I listed above. As long as you work with your dog and give them a transition period to get used to the new food, they should be perfectly fine.
If you have any other concerns, I strongly recommend talking to your preferred veterinarian professional beforehand! They’ll be able to clear up any confusion and analyze whether or not a dietary switch is healthy for your dog.
If you’re a fellow pet owner or you’re looking for a new member of the pack, be sure to consider adoption! There are tons of unadopted pooches in shelters all across the US. By adopting, you might just save their life!