Can Dogs Be Vegan? Everything You Need To Know To Do It Right

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I’ve made it no secret that I keep my glorious mutts on a plant-based diet.

In my book The Kind Life I wrote:

“First things first: God didn’t create some special, different, dried food just for animals to be dropped down from Heaven in big bags. Conventional pet food is basically junk food, only worse: It’s chock full of animal byproducts (intestines, bones, brains, and other lovelies), preservatives, chemicals, and fillers. Is it any wonder pets these days routinely die of nasty conditions like cancer and kidney failure? The only thing sadder than that collection of ingredients is the fact that your furry friend can’t yell, “Stop!” Your animals deserve real and fresh vittles—just like you—so please consider giving them a kinder diet. You guessed it: grains, beans, and vegetables! You see, a vegan diet works really well because pet dogs don’t live in the wild; let’s face it, they’re sorta couch potatoes. They take a walk every day, maybe follow their humans around a little, and not a lot more, so a plant-based diet is just fine for most dogs’ energy requirements. My dogs favorite snacks? Carrots and corn cobs. Since starting to eat this way, they’ve stopped getting fleas, hot spots, and their coats look great. People always think they’re younger than they are, so they’re getting a little vain!”

No foods go unused in my home. Broccoli stalks and kale stalks are blended and added to the doggy dinner deliciousness. Then—to make it irresistible—I sometimes add peanut butter, molasses, seaweed, and chia seeds. I even add a supplement on occasion to make sure they are getting all that’s needed, and when I truly don’t have time—I give them my favorite commercial dry dog food which is currently Gather.

 I started giving my dogs a vegan diet about 20 years ago. I lived with 7 dogs before this new bunch, and they were all huge dogs. I’m talking 50 pounds and bigger, and each of them died around the average age of 16 (it’s very unusual for big dogs to live that long given mainstream diets.)

You can call me crazy, or say I’m evil, but I rest in confidence knowing I have the healthiest dogs on the block. Seriously! My last batch of 7 dogs outlived all the dogs I have ever known and they had perfect blood work.

But in terms of scientific data, according to Dr. Andrew Knight, one of the most notable studies done on sprint racing Huskies showed that those fed a meat-free diet fared just as well as those on an animal based one over the course of 16 weeks. The study focused on red blood cell counts, but the dogs received regular vet checkups throughout.

Ethically, I find it hard to  justify killing one animal to save or feed another.  I’m not god— so deciding that one life is more worthy than the other doesn’t sit well with me.

Also, some dog parents lose their pets to e-coli outbreaks from animal-based pet food, and then choose a vegan diet for their furry loved ones. Some may say feeding their pets a non-vegan diet is the dangerous choice – not the other way around.

And YES, I know that some animals in the wild eat other animals, but these domesticated dogs are dependent on our feeding them…and if it isn’t necessary, why do it? If it causes less harm to animals, and helps them thrive, it’s a no-brainer for me! I’ll stick to a plant-forward diet for my doggies as long as they thrive.

V-dog brand dog food has an exceptional wealth of answers on vegan dog food on its website, as well as vegan dog bones and more.

Here’s my recipe – I don’t always include every one of the supplements in my puppers bowls daily – but they all make the rounds every few days.

Alicia’s Vegan Dog Food Recipe

ALWAYS:

  • Beans (lentil, garbanzo, mung, etc)
  • Grains (oats, quinoa, millet, brown rice, barley, farrow)
  • A nice mixture of about 3 different kinds of raw vegetables (carrots, beets, broccoli, kale, cabbage, green beans)
  • Leftovers!
  • Hemp Oil (1t-1tpsn in each meal)
  • Spirulina (1t-1spn in the big mixture itself, not per meal)
  • Supplement Veg-e dog
  • LA CARNATINE AND TAURINE

SOMETIMES:

  • Kelp or dulse
  • Veg soup or miso broth
  • Hemp seeds
  • Chia Seeds

BONUSES:

  •  1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • ½ cup canned or fresh pumpkin/ SWEET POTATO
  • misc. ground seeds
  • nuts seed milk

Make sure what you use is organic and non gmo!

Also: Carrots makes a nice snack for a teething puppy – it soothes his teeth, keeps him busy munching, and nourished with vitamins!

Update: 

Since I initially wrote this post, my dog, Pinto, has become ill with heart failure. We were in the hospital for a whole weekend with him recently. The culprit in Pinto’s case? A vegan diet. This came as a huge shock. I have had 13 dogs live to be so old with excellent blood work on a vegan diet. For some dogs, though, like my sweet Pinto, it just doesn’t work. So I now have two vegan dogs and one who also eats meat.

So I just want to give some kind of warning—most dogs do great on a plant-based diet—they thrive, living healthier and more vibrant lives. But every once in a while there is one that cannot. So be sure you’re doing regular blood work and ensuring there’s enough L carnitine and taurine in their diets.

I think the important thing is doing what you feel is right in your heart—and if issues arise. You change.

It’s also important to keep in mind that not all dogs thrive on meat diets—especially the conventional, yucky food most people feed their pets. people’s food—like I wrote in my book—if not full of sugar and too salty or fatty—is as excellent for dogs as it is for us!

Love,

Alicia

 

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