Can Dogs Be Vegan?

Can Dogs Be Vegan?

Can I Feed My Dog a Vegan Diet?

Traditionally dog food has been made largely from meat, but does that mean that our dogs cannot be vegan? In this blog post we explore the rising polularity of plant based diets for dogs, and whether or not vegan dog food are really suitable for your dog.

Dogs are Carnivore, right?

A carnivore is an animal which obtains its food exclusively from meat, while an omnivore will eat both meat and plants, and can thrive on a complete and balanced plant-based diet. Actually, despite a common belief that dogs are carnivore, they are in fact omnivores – why else will your pup nibble on a biscuit or munch on some carrots? But does this really mean that it’s OK for our dogs to have a vegetarian diet?

Andrew Knight, Veterinary Professor of Animal Welfare, University of Winchester says that “there is no scientific or practical reason why diets cannot be formulated entirely from plant, mineral and nutritional additives to meet all the nutrient requirements for dogs”.

He went on to say that “Pet food companies are to be commended for creating such nutritionally sound alternatives, which safeguard the health not only of companion dogs, but also ‘food’ animals and the environment.”

“there is no scientific or practical reason why diets cannot be formulated entirely from plant, mineral and nutritional additives to meet all the nutrient requirements for dogs.” Andrew Knight, Veterinary Professor of Animal Welfare

Can My Dog’s Protein Needs be Filled with a Vegan Diet?

Yes, dogs do need protein their diet, as an essential source of energy and to support their growth and development, but this doesn’t exclusively mean that it must be meat protein. Leading ethical brands like HOWND, have developed exciting options in complete diet for dogs using high quality plant based proteins, ensuring that you dog’s diet still includes that vital protein, without the meat.

Why Would My Dog Go Vegan?

There are a number of reasons why you might choose to switch your dog to a vegan, or possibly flexitarian* diet.

  • Allergies / Intolerances: some dogs struggle with intolerance or allergies to meat proteins, so moving the a plant based diet can help you manage these dietary needs.
  • Low Fat: Can help prevent obesity and aid in maintaining a healthy body condition score for your dog.
  • Ethical Choice: Choosing to move your dog to a vegetarian diet is an option if you prefer to choose plant-based alternatives
  • Better for the Environment: Plant-based diets have a significantly smaller carbon footprint than meat based foods

How Should I Make the Change to a Plant-Based Diet?

If you choose to switch your dog to a plant-based diet, these are our Top 3 Tips to ensure your dog is happy with the transition:

  1. Don’t go it alone: Always choose a specially developed diet for dogs that has been created by nutritionists to ensure a complete and balanced diet
  2. Take it slowly: Gradually make the change in your dog’s bowl, slowly reducing the amount of meat in his diet and replacing it with a vegan friendly option.
  3. Swap to Vegan Treats: Choose fruit and vegetable treats for your pup as you swap out meat in his diet.

As with any changes to your dog’s diet, monitoring her weight and overall wellbeing is essential to ensure a smooth transition. If you are concerned about any aspect of your dog’s overall health, arrange an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.

For more information on choosing the right food for your dog, read our blog here by Veterinarian Carol Doyle.

*Flexitarian diet is one which is made up primarily of plant based food, but occasionally includes meat.

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