Kind Lifer Kristen Magno sent me a message a while ago asking me if my dogs are vegan too, and if they are what I feed them. Well, I feed my three dogs, Sweety, Lacy, and Butterfly (we also call Butterfly, (The Pig) a 100% plant-based diet. They are all between 13 and 15 years old and weigh around 70 lbs (they are big guys!). I feed them Dr. Harvey’s brand dog food, their Canine Health line, and always give them all of our leftovers so there is no waste of food or money. Dr. Harvey’s is a mix of oats, grains, dried veggies and seaweed. It’s a little bit of a process to make the food for them, but it’s sooooo worth it. And if you set a timer and walk away it’s not difficult at all.
You cook it on your stovetop. You combine the Dr. Harvey’s with a protein source (we use lentils, mung beans, split peas, kidney beans, pinto beans, tofu, tempeh, etc.) and oil. It’s super important to rotate the type of beans so your dogs get different sources of vitamins and minerals. When we use beans, we soak them overnight in water with a piece of kombu (use a 1-inch by 1-inch square of kombu per cup of beans) and use the soaking water to water plants in the morning. Do not cook the beans in the same water that they soaked in. This will make for gassy dogs. Cook the beans along with the kombu. If you forget to soak the beans with the kombu, add it when you start cooking. This helps the beans cook more quickly and helps dogs (and you!) with gas issues.
We cook the beans until they are soft and mash them with a potato masher. If we don’t mash them, they come out of the dogs whole in their poo. After mashing, we add the Dr. Harvey’s mix along with any leftovers we have, when that is done, we plate up the food, wait for it to cool and add oil. We make a big batch once a day and that’s enough for 2 meals for all 3 dogs. If you want, you can make a big batch and keep it in the fridge for a couple days at a time. We just do it daily since we have 3 big dogs and have to make a big pot of food for them.
We also add the supplements, L-Carnatine and Taurine. These are 2 amino acids that are essential to some dogs. They might be added to some commercial dog foods, but in this case with Dr. Harvey’s they are not. When dogs are deficient in these nutrients, it can cause diomyopathy, a serious illness where the heart becomes large and flabby and can no longer function properly. This usually happens to middle-aged dogs that have an L-Carnatine or Taurine deficiency due to their breed, size, genetics, or diet. You can buy these supplements at your local health food store, places like Whole Foods or online. Look for supplements with veg-friendly capsules and not the ones that have gelatin in them! And make sure you always check with your dog’s vet before starting them on any sort of supplement regimen.
Since our dogs have been eating this way, they have stopped getting fleas, hot spots, and their coats look so nice. They are all super healthy with perfect blood work. People always think they are younger than they really are. Feed your animals grains, beans, and veggies like you would eat and you will absolutely see a difference in their health. Sometimes when we are in between Dr. Harvey’s orders, I’ll just give them rice, beans, and whatever leftover veggies we have around, and they love it!
And I have to say, their poo is amazing. I’m so proud of them! I see other dogs’ poo and it just doesn’t compare. It’s super healthy, easy to pick-up, and they don’t struggle to get it out.
You can order Dr. Harvey’s dog food from their website, or you can ask your local store to carry it. Sometimes, if we are in a hurry, we give the dogs Evolution brand, Vegan Kibble. You can get it from www.vegancats.com, or again, ask your local stores to carry it or order it for you. I try to always give them Dr. Harvey’s though because it just feels more pure to me and I’d rather them not have dry food, as I feel like it dries them out. But this dry food is great when the Dr. Harvey’s can’t happen. Natural Balance makes a dry vegetarian dog food too.
Remember that conventional pet food is pretty much junk food for your animals. It’s full of animal byproducts (intestines, bones, brains, etc.), preservatives, chemicals, and fillers. Personally I can’t justify killing one animal to save or feed another. If you feed meat to your dogs, that’s what we are doing…deciding that one life is more worthy than the other. They don’t need it and they do better without it, as long as you feed them a healthy, balanced food source like Dr. Harvey’s.
A vegan diet works really well because our dogs don’t live in the wild. 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.
And for doggie treats, here are a few we love:
Boston Baked Bonz
– their cookies look amazing. My assistant actually ate half of one of their ginger snap cookies and said it was really good…
Sweet Potate’r Chews from Dr. Harvey’s
Mr. Barky’s Vegetarian Dog Biscuits
– we grab these from Whole Foods – these are our staple treats
What are your thoughts on a veggie diet for your pets? Do you have brands of food that you love? Or treats?
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