My vegan dog

My dog eats vegan dog food. Have I lost my mind? Am I forcing my beliefs on my poor dog? Not at all! Let me explain.

Frankie is an 11-year-old rat terrier. Ever since I adopted him when he was five, I was interested in feeding him the healthiest food I could find. I started with a high-quality, human-grade, fish-based food, thinking I’d be avoiding factory-farmed meat. But fish is often factory farmed too. And the oceans are being depleted, so wild-caught is just as bad. Fish are sentient beings and I couldn’t justify it.

Later, I made Frankie homemade vegan meals, to which I added Vegedog, a powdered supplement especially made for dogs. Frankie loved it, but planning his meals was a lot of work. Besides, Frankie will eat anything. Cheap kibble, human food, garbage, cat poo. I felt like my culinary skills were being taken for granted.

frankie with his v-dog

Then I found V-Dog, a cruelty-free kibble. It’s free of wheat, corn, soy, fillers, GMOs–and of course animal products. Frankie loves it. He has lots of energy, and “clean up” is better too (by which I mean, good in, good out).

As for me forcing my beliefs on Frankie, here’s how I see it. In the wild (well, dogs are domesticated, but you know what I mean) dogs wouldn’t be eating prepackaged food. They wouldn’t be chemical-laden, not-fit-for-human-consumption castoff meat bi-products from factory farms. Reality is, most commercial dog food is crap. The parts of the animals that people don’t eat are sent to rendering plants for pet food. The diseased animals, the ones with tumors, even roadkill and euthanized cats and dogs, can end up in dog food.

In the wild, Frank would be a scavenger, an omnivore. He loves watermelon, but he won’t turn down meat. For him it’s not a moral issue. For me it is. I had a hard time aligning my vegan values with the fact that I bought him meat-based food. Heck, some pet food companies even test on animals. Luckily with V-dog, I don’t have to compromise.

There are other vegetarian dog foods on the market (like Evolution, Ami Dog, and Natural Balance vegetarian formula) and if you have a dog, I’d encourage you to try a few and find one that suits him or her best. I chose V-Dog because it’s a vegan-owned business and is recommended by a host of organizations, from veterinarians to animal sanctuaries.

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28 thoughts on “My vegan dog

  1. I honestly believe Frankie will live longer and healthier this way. It actually makes sense that a vegan would want to feed their dog healthy, but cruelty-free, food. A BIG difference between wild animals who eat meat and humans who eat meat is that animals do not confine and keep their prey in despicable conditions and torture them. Humans have much healthier choices and don’t need to eat animals to live. In fact we are healthier without it. Carnivores do not have as long a lifespan.

    • You’re so right. Carnivorous animals eat out of necessity and don’t torture and confine the animals they eat. Humans are responsible for cruelty on such a huge scale and I feel this little bit helps. Plus, I know it’s healthier!

  2. Thanks for your post. I just ordered some and am so excited! I feed my dogs high quality dog food I buy online, but they LOVE raw fruits and vegetables so much that I think they will love this too.

    • Frankie loves veggies too! I give him carrots and apples for snacks sometimes. I’m glad you ordered some. I mixed it with the regular food for a while so Frankie could adjust to the change (that’s recommended no matter what they’re eating though). Let me know how they like V-Dog!

  3. Hi Jean, great post! Thank you! I was wondering how your experience with Vegedog and home cooked meals was like (other than the time issue you mention above). I’ve been considering it for my dog and I was wondering about the quality of the product. Also, did you supplement with taurine when your dog was on Vegedog? Thanks so much in advance for any advice you can give me! Look forward to browsing your site! I discovered it thanks to a link through Vegucated’s facebook page! 🙂

    • Thanks for writing. I’m glad you found me through FB. My dog loved his home-cooked meals. I mixed up a batch and froze it so he had a couple of weeks’ worth at a time. I got the ingredient list from the Vegedog site. You don’t have to worry about taurine because the Vegedog powder has it (and a bunch of other vitamins that dogs need). The site has recipes for baking kibble but I haven’t tried that. I made “soft” food (veggies, beans, grains and Vegedog supplement). It was funny taste-testing the food before I froze it, but it was all human grade from the supermarket. You can check out the supplement info at http://vegepet.com/vegetarian_dogs.html and the recipes at http://vegepet.com/resources/Dog_Instr.pdf

      I should note that the taurine in Vegedog is synthetic, but most commercial pet foods (even the meaty brands) use synthetic taurine.
      Let me know how it goes!

  4. I rotate my dog between V-Dog and Natural Balance Vegetarian (actually vegan) formula. I also add things like beans, tofu, chopped whole grains, etc to it and my dog seems to love it.

    • Excellent tips! When I made my dog’s food from scratch, I used brown rice, garbanzo beans, tofu and other foods–he loved it and it’s healthy. I still give him healthy treats like a bit of potato or watermelon. Thanks for commenting!

  5. Great post! My dog also eats VDog and other veggie foods I lmake. He loves the food and is very healthy. No animals need die so he can eat. Thank you for writing about this.

    • That’s great! I’m meeting lots of people with vegan dogs now! Sounds like your pup eats healthier than most dogs. So glad no animals have to die so your dog can eat. Thanks for commenting!

  6. I eat a vegan diet, but have feared it would be going against nature to expect my dog to adopt that diet as well. I am definitely interested in reading the comments here, both for and against.

    • I was really concerned about that too. I obviously want what’s best for my dog. It’s only after reading about the horrible things in most commercial dog food that I realized he wasn’t eating a natural diet anyway. As long as it’s tasty and has the right nutrients, we’re both happy. I like that V-Dog is vet-approved.

  7. My parents have a friend in Poland who is not vegan or vegetarian herself, but she has a very smart, charismatic cat who himself seems to have decided that he doesn’t want meat or any animal products. I don’t recall exactly what she feeds him, but I remember hearing that he seems to really love vegetables. My aunt in Poland wasn’t vegan or vegetarian, either, but she would make meals for her dog made with rice and grains and veggies, too. No processed dog food for him.

    • That’s a great story! Thanks for sharing. Isn’t it funny how that cat liked vegetables! I think your aunt was onto something. Rice grains and veggies are great for dogs. My grandfather always fed his dogs rice and veggies (and meat). Natural, whole foods are best for everyone! And since I don’t want other animals to suffer so I can treat my dog like a king, V-Dog is a good option. I still think fresh veggies are a good part of a dog’s diet.

  8. Thanks for the post! I have an old guy that is half rat terrier/half chihuahua. He looks a lot like your Frankie. I adopted him from the shelter about 7 years ago. Unfortunately, he’s a pretty picky eater and isn’t 100%veg. My other 2 dogs love V-dog though. My golden has been vegetarian for the last 3 years and is doing well. His skin allergies and digestive problems have cleared up. It’s great. 🙂

    • Aw cute! I can picture a pint-sized version of Frankie. That must be your guy 🙂 You’re doing great, having two veg dogs and one who’s a part-time vegan. It’s tough with the picky ones. I noticed Frankie’s dandruff went away after I transitioned him to V-Dog. So it’s working well. Glad to hear your golden’s skin and digestive problems went away! I know some dogs can’t handle animal proteins, and then there’s the questions of what else is in the food? Chemicals, filler, who knows? Sounds like he’s healthy now!

  9. This kills the protein myth that dogs must eat meat. Protein is protein. It makes no sense to have a farm animal suffer, so you can feed your domesticated pet. And plant protein is so much better for your dog, and you!

    • That’s a great point! Dogs need the right mix of vitamins and they need a certain amount of protein, but they don’t need to get it from a specific source. It’s a good choice for both my dog and me–and it’s good environmentally too! Frankie’s blood work (from his last vet check) came back last week and he’s really healthy. Thanks for commenting!

  10. Both my labs eat V-dog. It is so nice to not only have vegan food for them, but it is also sourced in USA. The breathe bones are great as well!

  11. I’ve just started feeding my big golden retriever girl Benevo. I’ve had a couple of bewildered frowns from people but I agree with this post wholeheartedly and educated myself on this before making what I believe a well adjusted choice for the health of my girl. I wouldn’t try the same with a cat though as tourine can only be found in meat and would therefore be compromising the cat’s health. This is not so with dogs.

      • People will look bewildered 🙂 Many don’t think plant-based is healthy for humans so they wouldn’t think a dog could thrive. Sounds like you’ve done your research and are doing what’s best for your dog. Cats are trickier but there are foods available. As you pointed out, taurine can be vegan. I thought synthetic taurine was substandard until I found out that meat-based cat foods have synthetic taurine added too! Thanks for the tip about Benevo. I’ve not heard of that brand and I’m checking them out now!

  12. Hey Jean! I switched Mambo to a vegan diet a few months ago. I was making him meals with vegedog too. Unfortunately, however; Mambo is picky. He loved it at first, but after a couple of weeks he stopped eating it. He wasn’t eating at all!! Then I found out he was sneaking to our neighbor’s house and sneaking dog food over there. I did some experimentation and found out that it was the vegedog supplement itself that Mambo didn’t like. I switched Mambo back to meat kibble, but I want to try him on a vegan diet again. Thanks for this post! I’ll check out V-dog. Celeste 🙂

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