New to this forum, I’m just skimming as I’ve been feeding and researching vegan dog foods since I decided to try V-Dog about 3-4 years ago, as there was a sample at the shelter where I volunteer. What I heard from UC Davis veterinary school is that dogs are OMNIVORES. Although related to wolves, they’ve been a separate species for MILLENNIA. They generally do not hunt, so they don’t get the vegetables and grains (and by-products, btw) wild canides get when they eat the entire animal they’ve killed.
Again, according to Davis & several sources ,including Nestle & Nesheim’s “Feed Your Pet Right,” dogs are biologically capable of digesting animal proteins.
I could cite many other sources, although there are veterinarians who disagree. But the facts are facts. Meat does not contain better “quality” protein; it simply contains complete amino acids. If you combine properly and add B12 and a few other supplements, the food is complete.
What I’ve found, in reading the arguments against, is that people have a ‘feeling’ dogs should eat meat for health because they are descended from wolves. But that’s a cultural bias, not a biological one.
Forgive me if I’ve repeated; I just skimmed for now.
Will give more citations on request!Shasta220Member
I know this is a very old thread, but I read through it. Very very interesting food for thought….if I had the money and option, I’d quit feeding kibble, and start buying only hand-raised meat that has had a good life, as I am very very compassionate about animals (especially after getting a pet cow…he’ll never ever end up on the dinner plate.), but I just could never ever feed a natural scavenger/predator a meat-free, or even low-meat diet. Period.
I know some people on here are defending veg by saying how healthy their dogs are. Yes, I believe your dogs are healthier than many kibble-fed pooches, but that’s because the food that they /do/ get is /truly/ quality… The excuse for “meat” in many Kibbles is waaaaay worse than any of these vegan diets, I’d say.
If you feed your dog a veg diet (and I know a person or two in real life who do, and they have healthy dogs), then I’m not going to shame you or tell you to quit, but I will always believe that animal protein is what dogs need and crave the most, and even if I were to become vegetarian myself, I’d never make my dogs do it….they don’t know that “oh, this food is cruelty free! Good. I didn’t want to harm that squirrel anyway! Those poor cows and chickens! How do other dogs stomach that stuff?!?”
Again, sorry for posting on such an old one….but I find this controversial subject to be very very interesting. It’s like we all /know/ dogs need meat, but it’s something that will never quite be settled…mark FMember
I am very happy to hear when someone has been blessed. To have a dog that 17 years old and healthy is great! However I have a friend who owns cattle. His dog lived a very active live. His dog past away at 23 years of age. His dog herded cattle and ate a diet of mostly fresh good quality meat. So I believe it has more to do with the quality of food given to the dog and also to an active lifestyle. Sure there is a vegan dog who live to 27 years of age. But I wouldn’t try to use that as proof that a vegan diet is better than meat diet for a dog. As the longest living dog ever recorded was a meat eater. I believe his name was bluwie (I might be spelling the dogs name wrong) and was recorded to lived to 29 years and 5 month old. That bests the vegan dog by more than 2 years or more than a decayed in dog years. So all these dogs that are living long life have more to do with the quality of the food, exercise, breed type, love and effection they are getting.laconradParticipant
There is no doubt that animals and people can live long lives that are quality living despite what they eat. But there is also no doubt that an animal suffers tremendously to become dog food. I love my animals, my dogs and I would not want to end the life of another animal or to cause it any pain or suffering if I didn’t have to in order to feed my dogs. And since I don’t have to I don’t. Vegan is never about health but that frequently comes up because it is a myth that people tend to believe, that it’s not healthy. Vegan is about having a choice and choosing the one that causes the least amount of suffering as much as you can. So when I found out I could buy a dog food that was healthy and didn’t directly take the lives of other animals I chose that over the other. My dogs love it. They did from the very first time I offered it so I never had to force anything. I think it’s great that there is a choice like this and what makes it such a great choice is that dogs both love to eat it and they are healthy eating it. It’s a win win win.rogerharrisMember
I think dogs need non-veg food as well as they re actually carnivore. Feeding only veg food may have some health issue on him. But you should take advice from a senior vet. He is the best person to give you proper advice. Moreover you can read some magazines on dogs. Some of them are available online as well.Cesar MMember
Yeah, dog needs meat for keeping dog healthy and energetic. Only those gives the vegan food to dogs who have the vegan food only.
Thank youChristopher EMember
The amount if misinformation on this thread is a reflection of our ignorance regarding our own dietary needs.
You should all go and watch the documentary Forks Over Knives. To sum it up if you haven’t seen it… They basically spell out how overwhelming scientific data proves that eliminating animal based foods from our diets (dairy and meat… Just any animal protein) completely eliminates cardiovascular disease and reduces cancer rates exponentially, the two leading causes if death in the US. You’ll have to watch the documentary or do some independent research to fully understand how, but, basically, without animal product the higher levels of cholesterol that lead to cardiovascular disease are not present and cancer cells do not grow and in most cases actually diminish.
What’s important to understand is that we all have carcinogens in our bodies. They are in the air we breath, the products we consume, and most of everything we touch. This is becoming increasingly true as society advances. The fact of the matter is that we are all at risk and those of us who eat meat might get cancer while those of us who consume an all whole food plant based diet probably won’t.
The next important connection to make is that there is no reason to think a dog or cat’s biology is any different, at least not at this level of biology, that is, when considering cancer grow in mammals at the molecular level. (After all most-all cancer studies are done using mice… Creatures much “further” genetically speaking from humans) Before dogs and cats were domesticated… When they were wild wolves and big cats they had no carcinogens (or as near zero as possible on earth) in their diets so eating a diet that consisted entirely of animal product didn’t have any adverse affect. BUT TODAY our dogs and cats are living in the same society as us, exposed to the same increased(ing) levels of carcinogens.
So, in conclusion, there is no reason to believe that eating a whole food plant based diet void of animal product wouldn’t have the same effect of reducing cancer rates among cats and dogs as seen in human studies…. It is true that canines and felines require a larger percentage of protein in their diets than humans, but even those levels are obtainable with the right plant based diet…. The goal would be to provide a diet nutritionally equivalent to your pets pre-domestication, carnivorous diet with a plant based one.
Also… I personally am not a vegan…. I love bacon, milk chocolate, steak, all of it… But I am also not an idiot and I know what I should and shouldn’t beep eating… ideally. Hopefully a year from now I will have been able to cut out all animal product from my diet… and I don’t see any reason (nutritional or otherwise) not to consider bringing my 6 year old Aussie or two 1 year old cats along for the ride so long as I make sure they are getting all the necessary nutrients at the proper levels.Richard WMember
Everything JamieK typed is accurate. Being around dogs all day, working in a pet store, etc. doesn’t make one an expert on nutrition. No offense intended at all. Dogs evolved to be scavengers, getting nutrition from plant and animal sources. That makes them omnivorous.
Since plant-based foods contain more vitamins and minerals per calorie compared to animal-based foods, there are legitimate reasons to consider vegan or mostly-vegan diets superior.
The question of digestive enzymes or gut flora could tip the balance back toward meat, but that is largely unexplored territory. Humans have comparatively large digestive systems, but that is more because our ancestral diets contained large amounts of raw plant matter (more energy required to digest). Assuming that vegan dog food isn’t raw, and is prepared to optimize digestion and nutrient uptake, it could certainly work.
Again these are just the facts. If you disagree then your notion of common sense is flawed.Dana DMember
Can someone please recommend a well rounded vegan/vegetarian dog food? Thanks!!AMISH JMember
To all the learned people here please comment on scientific facts about dog nutrition. People have posted cat nutrition papers and supported meat essentiality for dogs some have argued about taste being a criteria for right stuff, but the fact is dogs can digest both veg and non veg ingredients quite easily and can get maximum benefits out of them, advocates of meats put more stress on proteins in dog nutrition( however blend of plant protein can provide it) but can they deny that protein is not the only nutritional factor in diet and also can you name any food available in store where you don’t find any plant ingredient in fact canola oil is considered good source of fat. If food is balanced in nutrients and properly processed for good digestibility every other factors like ethics is for individuals to decide.
I always believed that dogs were carnivores but my naturopathic vet informed me that, like us, they are omnivores. They require protein but not animal protein. That’s a huge relief for me because my dog, who had a life-long problem with diarrhea, has been diagnosed as having an allergy to animal protein. After years of runny poop and chronic diarrhea, within 48 hours of putting him on a vegetarian diet, his stool is firm, every single day. I started him on a kibble and he now also gets a wet vegetarian diet. He can tolerate small amounts of scrambled egg and a tiny bit of fish but I don’t want to push it and have the problem return. I, myself, am a carnivore, have always been a meat-eater and assumed my dog was, too. I am so grateful to have found this solution for my lovely boy; he no longer has to suffer the discomfort of having an upset digestive system. I am still searching for more variety in the brands of vegetarian food (his diagnosis is quite recent) which is why I came on to the website. Don’t be too quick to judge; not all owners who are looking for vegetarian food are doing so because of their “beliefs”.Bully MMember
Findings by actual vets:aquariangtMember
Your dog has allergies to all animal proteins? That’s almost always a bit far fetched. What foods have you tried? Maybe a novel protein LID diet would do the trick
I don’t know what a novel protein LID diet is. The allergy diagnosis is very recent and in order to stop his very advanced, chronic diarrhea, we made the switch immediately to a vegetarian/vegan food, both kibble and canned. I am just starting to explore a wide solution; that’s why I posted on this thread. He can, so far, tolerate a small amount of egg and a small amount of fish without any change in his stool.aquariangtMember
Novel protein would be a protein that is more rare. Something he is unlikely to have been exposed to. An example would be Zignature’s Kangaroo diet. LID means limited ingredient, just the essentials so it helps narrow down where the intolerances are coming from. Allergy tests don’t really tell too much, they give false negatives and false positives. The best way to figure out intolerances is trial and error. Since you know he can handle fish, i’d find a fish LID and keep very close tabs on ingredient panels, keep a list of what things aren’t working. Natural Balance, Nature’s Variety, Zignature, Acana, Fromm all have diets that may work. Buy small bags so you aren’t out all the cash, but it will take some time and money to get it pinned down. I don’t love Natural Balance, but it can help with this type of issue as they have a lot of options in the limited line. I’d use some digestive aids in the process as well- The Honest Kitchen’s Perfect Form is a good one.
I am in agreement that dogs are technically omnivorous, but I also find it more in the scavenging nature of canines, as they do what they need to to survive, but definitely have a carnivorous bias. Dogs need meat. That’s how they thrive. Don’t cut out all options of animal protein until you’ve exhausted them.
Thanks for this explanation. My dog has been tried on just about every food going, almost every variation of a meat protein. He has dramatically negative reactions to some more than others, but he reacts negatively to all of them, so far. It also doesn’t help that he gets bored easily (meh). Right now, he’s on Natural Balance vegetarian/vegan formula, kibble and canned. I started him on the kibble first and he seemed to love it. Three weeks in, he went on strike. I started using the canned from Natural Balance and he’s eating that happily, with a supplement of their kibble. He’ll eat a little more kibble now if I entice him with some scrambled egg or a bit of fish mixed in, if I’m having salmon or sole for dinner. But just a little bit or his poop immediately becomes runny again. We tried digestive aids, no improvement. He’s due for another check-up at his naturopathic vet in May. We’ll explore it a little more then.
Grandma Lucy’s has a goat food. You can feed a raw diet. I feed a ground raw, one of the companies has novel proteins that I doubt your dog is allergic to: goat, llama, quail, rabbit and more from Hare Today. I’m kind of surprised a naturopath vet is ok with a vegan diet.
We have been using V-Dog for 10 months with amazing results in our hyper-allergic English bulldog. Only after switching to V-dog did we learn through allergy testing that she is allergic to milk and every kind of meat (tho’ we suspected at least some meats were an issue as we tried ~6 types). To the person who has never heard of a dog being allergic to meat, you’re welcome to call our vet and discuss our dog’s case. It happens. A week after we adopted her, her previous owner commented that she has “allergies” but he didn’t specify details and we had never heard of meat allergies. I had to buy a cone collar to keep her from scratching herself raw.
The first vet we saw recommended a novel protein diet so we proceeded to try salmon then various rare protein and grain/potato-free options. I didn’t notice any changes in her intense whole-body itching, skin yeast and bacterial infections, and ear infections, so I figured we had not given it enough time to show benefit as I was told it takes 3 months after switching foods to notice a change.
We switched to the V-dog a week after our pup had a severe allergic reaction with facial and airway swelling, wheezing, and hives that failed to resolve with 2 steroid injections and oral prednisolone. She gobbled up the V-dog and begged for more, which was a huge change from me having to lace the other foods we’d tried with peanut butter or moist food (which she often would just lick off and leave the kibble behind).
Within a few days of switching to V-dog we noticed a dramatic reduction in the itchy-scratchies, yeasty body smell, yeasty ears, red face after eating, and watery eyes after eating. Her hives resolved and thanks to her improved smell I was able to wait 2+ weeks between baths (vs 3x/week with medicated shampoo as previously directed by our vet). Her hives totally resolved. The bald spots in her coat filled in and now her coat is thick and shiny.
A while after switching to V-dog, I tried giving her a fresh raw meat knuckle bone which she gnawed at for 2 minutes then promptly threw up and then refused to touch it. I thought maybe she didn’t like the raw aspect, so I cooked meat and made homemade broth from bones, at which point her allergies dramatically worsened. Stopped the meat, allergies gone.
The V-dog is expensive, but we happily pay for it as our dog is now healthy and happy. She was so miserable before. When we go to the vet for routine care she and her staff all say how nice it is to see a healthy bulldog. We also supplement with coarsely ground home-cooked beans and veggies (especially kale and broccoli), which she devours. We give her plain organic PB mixed with freshly ground flaxseed for treats. For training treats we just use the V-dog kibbles since she loves them so much. She also loves and begs for raw carrot sticks and fruits like thin apple slices, mashed cherries/berries, watermelon, and banana (tho’ we heavily limit fruit to small amounts due to high sugar content and also give watermelon from near the rind to limit sugar).
I would like to find a home-cooked food option in case there is a time when we can’t get the V-dog (and also it seems that baked kibble is not really an ideal food, despite how well she does with it compared to other kibble and moist foods), but for now I am very happy to support the company. The vet told us that we should stick with V-dog as it is working so well for us.
Of note, our dog also has environmental allergies, but as long as we vacuum to keep dust/pollen at a minimum she does fine. I do limit her time outdoors during the worst of the pollen season. But even if her allergies flare from pollen they are nothing like what they were before the V-dog switch.
MM: exactly which meat is your dog allergic to?
She is allergic to beef, chicken, turkey, venison, lamb, fish + milk per the allergy testing. The only one of these we hadn’t previously tried in food was chicken because the original vet said chicken is the most common allergy. She just loved yogurt as a topper but it gave her diarrhea which took more than a month to resolve. But thankfully she loves her bean and broccoli topper just as much!
The allergy test didn’t specifically check salmon (just “fish”) but our experience before the allergy testing was red face, red watery eyes, and wet sneezes immediately after eating. We didn’t know that wasn’t normal for her until we saw the difference with the V-dog.
She had been off all meat for a long while and was doing very well before allergy testing so the allergies are likely true allergies, not just markers of an overactive immune system. I don’t know why the pea and bean protein seem to be just fine for her.
Thank goodness she has done well on the V-dog as she was downright miserable before and it was so hard to watch her and be unable to provide any comfort as meds and topical preparations were no help. We also love that she no longer stinks to high heaven a day after her bath and doesn’t need daily ear flushes to keep yeast in check.
So she is not allergic to “every kind of meat”. There are some kibbles with kangaroo and rabbit, there is a freezedried food with goat. You can feed raw like I do (ground) and feed goat, emu, rabbit, pheasant, quail, off the top of my head. MUCH better for a dog than a vegetarian food, IMO.
Oops, forgot rabbit (based on our experience — don’t think this was specifically tested).
M M- I’m very glad to hear that your dog is doing well on a vegan diet. It is first and foremost important that dogs are healthy whether they are eating meat or not. I am not a supporter of vegan dog diets and as an aside I feel it should be considered animal cruelty to do feed them to a cat as they can become critically/fatally ill, however, your dog is clearly an extreme case.
Do you know if she is allergic to Rabbit or Kangaroo? You can feed those raw as well and for a dog with such extreme allergies you probably have already found out that raw is usually best. Hare Today also makes Cavie grinds (guinea pig). That could be another novel protein to look into. However, the grinds from Hare Today are not complete and balanced and would require you to make them such (your vet could probably help you).
As I said though, it is great that you have found something that is working for your dog. As long as she continues to remain thriving and healthy for her yearly check-ups and allergy and yeast free then more power to you both!ElMember
“I am not a supporter of vegan dog diets and as an aside I feel it should be considered animal cruelty to do feed them to a cat as they can become critically/fatally ill, however, your dog is clearly an extreme case.”
If feeding a cat a vegan diet is animal cruelty, then they way we treat the animals we feed to our dogs and cats should be considered a capital crime!Dog_ObsessedMember
I agree completely with pitlove. My dog is currently also on an elimination diet, and I know how incredibly frustrating it can be to not find anything that works, so I’m glad you have found something that works! I think that now that you’ve found a diet she is stable on, you could try slowly introducing a “challenge item.” starting with the novel meats that others suggested above, and switching back to V-Dog if she reacts. I would recommend consulting your vet for guidance on how to do this. She could be allergic to all meat sources, though she is not necessarily, because food allergy tests can be unreliable.
As pitlove said, if she is doing well in terms of overall health, then you and your vet may decide to just keep her on the diet she is on. I consider your situation very different from people who are feeding their dogs a vegetarian/vegan diet due to personal belief. I am a vegetarian myself for belief reasons, but I don’t believe that pets should be except in extreme medical cases such as this one. I don’t think cats should be fed vegetarian/vegan under any circumstances.
I 100% agree El Doctor. It is a shame the way animals are treated that are fed to dogs, cats and humans as well. The documentary “Food Inc” was very enlightening for me.
so, she’s allergic to rabbit. There are other proteins you can feed her. Grandma Lucy’s has a goat then there are all the raw proteins I listed, not to mention that I forgot.theBCnutMember
There are foods with duck or pork too.L RMember
Everyone love’s to point to the starch study, but I don’t think it explains anything that wasn’t already known.
And I tend to agree that when the coefficient of fermentation for a dog is low, as it is for cats, that plus jaw, teeth, digestive system, all really point to the dog being a carnivore.
- This reply was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by L R.
I have been an omnivore most of my life (and btw dogshtcollector, Squirrels are omnivores) but recently, I watched the doc. “Cowspriracy” .. this movie turned really turned my head. Vegan is not just a personal choice any more for me. It is now something that we should all seriously consider, including for our dogs. The livestock industry is the number one, by far, source of greenhouse gas emissions and runoff pollution and this movie not only makes this very clear but, explores why it is not the number one topic among environmental groups.
Our planet is getting smaller and our health, well, it’s not doing so great either so, look at the Vegan lifestyle for it’s health benefits for yourself, your dog and the planet. Thanks! Oh, and watch the movie!cynthia pMember
Oh, I forgot to mention the issue of Soy.
Soy is one of the plants that has estrogenic compounds (mimics estrogen). This is not good for any one. Men have higher rates of Prostate issues than ever, women breast c. and dogs definitely do not need estrogen as well.
Unfortunately, Soy is very popular as a protein source and is being used in most animals feed used for meat and dairy, organic or non organic, soy is big and bad so, try to avoid it.
Another reason to go Vegan, soy free!Jack BMember
I’ve been trying for 30 minutes to post my response here, I think all my links are causing it to not go through. I’ve uploaded the text of my response and linked it here. I encourage everyone who has opinions on whether or not dogs can be healthy on vegan diets to skim it.Thor JMember
The soy is one of the greatest myths out there that its raises estrogen levels in men OMG.The reality and the science is that ISOFLAVONES when they first isolated them the scientists they discovered that these molecules are look like the estrogen estradiol.BUT their effect on humans are HIGHLY BENEFICIAL and they act like SERMS (SELECTIVE ESTROGEN RECEPTOR MODULATORS) like the well known drug tamoxifen for example BUT without the sides of the drug.We all have the alph and beta estrogenic receptors in our body,usually the alpha are linked with some hormone related cancers and the beta they have only favourable effects for us.The alpha they are mainly in breast tissue ovaries,liver,testicles the beta in lungs,prostate,blood cells,bladder thymus,bones.Now how do the isoflavoes work.They BIND to the ALPH receptors (the bad receptors) when you have EXCESSIVE amount of MAMMALIAN ESTROGENS (the REAL ESTROGENS) in your blood for example in adolescence or when a woman is pregnant or when you are drinking for example too much COWS MILK or you are eating cheeses red meat etc then the isoflavones they BIND with the alpha because IF THE MAMMLIAN ESTROGENS (your own or the estrogens from tha milk or animals that you are eating or medications that many women are taking) they will stimulate on the long run SOME POSSIBLE HORMONE RELATED CANCERS.The isoflavones protect you that way and tou pee the extra estrogen through the urine.On the other hand when either a man or a woman tou have VERY LOW ESTROGEN (and even for us men SOME percentage or estrogen we MUST have in order to have health cardiovascular system bones etc) the isoflavones they go and bind the beta receptors and they excert ONLY FAVOURABLE EFFECTS ON YOUR BODY and they continue to excert their effect even after the levels of estrogen have decreased.Plus isoflavones are powerfull antioxidants and they have shown promising activity in combination with some other interesting molecules like sulforaphane for example in cancer fighting.Similar things like the soys ANTIESTROGENIC activity if you have high estrogens in your blood they excert all the cruciferous vegetables like broccoli,kale,brussels sprouts etc the 3-indole-carbinol and the diindolymethane DIM.Soy is PERFECTLY fine food high in COMPLETE protein minerals and many other beneficial phytochemicals just beware of GMO soy.In reality more that 95% of the GMO soy is feed for the livestock among with GMO corn and oats.Organic soy is perfectly fine.The only animal (food) that its perfect from any aspect is the egg especially the egg WHITE caus ethe yolk has too much ARA and it acts as and proinflammatory marker.Egg white is only protein water sodium and selenium go for it.I’m on a whole food plant based diet (dont like the word vegan) with the exception of egg whites (always free range from a friends farm,real farm) and the gains are better than ever.Dont stay in the medieval times STEREOTYPES ARE THE CURSE OF KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM.anonymouslyMember
@ Jack B
Just post your links in a fragmented way, example: www . dog food advisor. com
If people are interested enough, they will figure it out.
PS: Oops! I didn’t realize this post was over a month old.
Here is a story on Care2.com
Have you heard about the veggie-eating dog who lived to the ripe age of 27? That’s 189 dog years!
The dog, Bramble, a blue merle Collie, lived in the UK and held the Guinness World Record for being the oldest living dog at the time.
What’s most amazing about this story is that the dog actually lived on a vegan diet of rice, lentils and organic vegetables.
She ate once a day and exercised a lot.
The owner of the dog, Anne Heritage, was a vegan herself. She just fed Bramble a big bowl of vegan dinner every evening. She explains that Bramble “is an inspiration and [he] just goes to show that if you eat the right things and keep on exercising you can extend your life”.
This story shows that dogs CAN thrive on such a diet.
I don’t believe that anyone would even consider feeding a scavenging carnivore a vegan diet. Don’t say you care about the humane treatment of any animal, then put a dog on a vegan diet. THAT is cruel.
The proteins from plants are not the same as the proteins from meat. Nor are they digested the same.
I don’t believe everything I read & see. I’m not a fool. Thus I don’t believe that dog lived that long on a vegan diet. I find it hard to believe that dog even lived that long. And if it did how was its health? Was he suffering? Was he uncomfortable? Was he healthy? Was he kept alive that long because his owner was so extreme in her beliefs to not kill an animal that his life was not one of quality in his later years?
DO NOT FEED A VEGAN DIET TO YOUR CARNIVOROUS PET IF YOU TRULY LOVE & CARE ABOUT THEM. THEY ARE NOT HUMANS. STOP ANTHROPROMORPHIZING THEM TO AN EXTREME.
- This reply was modified 4 years, 3 months ago by Jenn H. Reason: Misspelled word
For the doubting Thomas’s, here is a record from the Guinness Book of World Records:
“The greatest reliable age recorded for a dog is 29 years 5 months for an Australian cattle-dog named Bluey, owned by Les Hall of Rochester, Victoria, Australia. Bluey was obtained as a puppy in 1910 and worked among cattle and sheep for nearly 20 years before being put to sleep on 14 November 1939.
Most dogs live for 8–15 years, and authentic records of dogs living over 20 years are rare and generally involve the smaller breeds.”
Bluey was 29 and was a non-vegetarian and beat Bramble out of the Guinness book.
In my experience, I had a German Shepherd that lived until the age of 17 years and 7 months, while on a vegetarian diet. She was very active and healthy, and more importantly never experienced the hip problems common to the breed. We hiked several legs of the Appalachian trail, swam a great deal and played ball every day (her favorite). Currently, my Mastiff weighs 140 lbs and Lab 70 pounds. They are both lighting fast, play and exercise every day, and travel with us every where. BTW I prepare food for them, they don’t just eat kibble. Perhaps like people, if you eat the right things, and keep on exercising you can extend your life and theirs.
It may not work for you, but that doesn’t mean that it does not work. Instead of SCREAMING orders, keep a positive and open mind. That, may be the healthiest thing you can do for yourself and your companion.
@Olga, what did/do you feed your vegetarian dog? Do you give any vitamin or taurine supplement?
We use V-dog kibble and she adores it enough for us to use it as training treats, but she goes NUTS over blended beans and broccoli so I would like to home cook for her more. Our dog cannot have milk due to food allergies, but she just loves all the veggies and low-sugar fruits she can get.
I will likely check out a new cookbook called Healthy Happy Pooch with recipes for home-cooked meals, but I would also love to hear what someone with your experience feeds your dogs as you clearly have had great results. We’re happy V-dog exists, but processed kibble in any form doesn’t strike me as an ideal long-term diet.
Thank you for sharing your story. Our dog is thriving on her veggie diet (vet and staff always remark how nice it is to see a healthy dog of her breed), but it has been only a year.
Since my buddies are big, and in the interest of time, I make a big pot of food and freeze it in daily portions. when I serve them, I include whatever fresh veggies I am having that day as well. I’ll give you a list of some of the ingredients that I use.
For protein – lentils, chickpeas, and black or red beans.
Grains – quinoa, whole oats, brown rice, and barley. However, I don’t add them all the time.
Veggies – pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot, zucchini, squash, peas, green beans, kelp, kale, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower.
Fruits – apple, blueberries, coconut, mango and watermelon.
Herbs – lemongrass (my dogs will graze on it), oregano, turmeric and parsley.
Oils – Coconut, safflower, flax
Supplements – Nupro joint and immunity support, Nutritional yeast, Green Mush (Green Mush and kelp is supposed to be easily absorbable and contains thousands of phytonutrients, protein, and amino acids), L-Canitine, food grade diatomaceous earth, and digestive enzymes (prebiotics and probiotics)
I cook in a big pot of water whatever beans I am using. I use lentils a lot because they love them. If I am using a grain, I’ll add it also. Once they are soft, I add the chopped harder vegetables like the pumpkin, sweet potato, etc. Once they are softened, I add the shredded softer vegetables, e.g., zucchini, kelp, yellow squash, peas, peeled apples, etc. I cook that for a few minutes, then take the pot off the stove and add the chopped leafy greens, 1 clove of finely minced garlic, oregano, lemongrass, and turmeric. I have a garden, so the herbs and many of the vegetables are fresh picked.
I cool down the food by adding ice before adding the oils and supplements.
I add coconut, safflower and flax oil; some Nupro, nutritional yeast, diatomaceous earth, and green mush. The digestive enzymes I sprinkle on their food when I serve them. Occasionally, I’ll ad a capsule of L-Carnitine in their bowl when I serve their food.
I make enough for at least 6 days, and most of the things they eat (except for the Nupro), I also eat. They devour the veggie stew I make, although the Mastiff will eat anything that is not tied down. LOL
It is my belief that eating the carcass of an animal that has been tortured in captivity their entire life, is not healthy for anyone. Also, the food you make will be healthier than any packaged food, and you can always start by adding some of your food to the kibble. Remember though, that if you are giving them soft food to give them things to chew to keep their pearly whites in good shape. Mine love biscuits, balls, toys, antlers, tug ropes, etc.
Thanks for asking about vegetarian food for dogs, I was beginning to think that I had grown a third eye.
@Olga, thank you for your detailed response! I already pressure cook big pots of beans and eat lots of vegetables so it should be pretty simple for me to get in the habit of putting the rest of it together in a big batch as you do. I will try the lentils, too! I already have most of these ingredients although most of the supplements (especially the Nupro, Green Mush, and DE) are new to me.
I agree that eating the carcass of a factory-farmed animal is not healthy. I also do not think processed food is healthy. I am a long-time vegetarian but bought into the “dogs need meat” dogma when we adopted our girl. Our vet swears that dogs don’t need or miss the meat (as if kibble even resembles meat), which is comforting as a lot of other folks clearly think I’m a dog abuser for feeding her veg food. I know of at least 7 other dogs who have done very well with the V-dog with or without home cooked supplement.
A few more questions (and I understand if you do not have time to answer all these):
How did you figure out how much to feed and the ratio of your ingredients? I am concerned I may accidentally under- or overdose on the calorie and protein/fat content.
Do you feed any kibble at all or just the home-cooked food? If so, what kind? As I said, ours loves her kibble but words cannot express how much our dog adores her beans and greens mix.
What kind of biscuits do you feed?
What brand of digestive enzymes/probiotic/prebiotic do you like?
Do you mash the food or just let it cook down in the stew? Our dog really does not chew unless I give her something long like an apple slice or carrot stick. She has a powerful jaw but her teeth seem to meet only in one place on each side due to her strong underbite. She has some rubber toys from Westpaw which she loves to chew and tug but her breath is pretty bad if I don’t add liquid chlorphyll to at least one of her meals.
Are there any veggies you know of that are off limits due to toxicity (e.g., raisins, onions, garlic)?
Thank you again for helping us to improve our dog’s diet. I am going to start using your method this weekend and have saved your post to make sure I explore all of the ideas you gave as seasons change.
I have no poblem with vegetarian diets for dogs (that are nutritionally balanced of course). I had a dog that couldn’t breakdown animal proteins. (If there were enzymes available for it then I would’ve given him that instead). He was a vegetarian. But still got his protein from eggs. Which is a food that has the highest biological value. Eventually it was realized that a lot of dogs were having difficulty with the most common meats in dog foods because of the sources & inbreeding of the animals, etc. He did fine with kangaroo & rabbit.
Anyway, vegetarian and vegan diet are NOT the same thing. Dogs have been close companions of humans for 45,000 yrs. You bet they have evolved. They are more omnivorous than ever and actually do best on a diet of plants, grains and MEATS. While they can adapt to a WELL-BALANCED vegan diet, they do best with a diet of animal fats & proteins.
Vegetarian & vegan diets require adding synthetic amino acids. Dogs cannot produce these very important elements themselves. Make sure none of that is sourced from China.
If you go to certain parts of the world you will see lots of dogs on the streets surviving on whatever they find. While that shows they can adapt, I wouldn’t exactly say they are thriving.
As for the dogs that have lived well into their 20s on vegan diets I don’t believe they aren’t getting appropriate proteins somewhere. I would bet they eat other animals. Mice, birds, whatever they hunt unknowingly to their people.
The cattle dog you mentioned admittedly wasn’t vegetarian. But I also have to say that I doubt Guiness followed that dog through its whole life. Who’s to say it was 29? Were they able to prove it by means other than a birth certificate? I couldn’t find any other means used to prove the ages of the oldest dogs. It appears they were (assuming their ages were real) the exceptions. Miracles really.
We all want our dogs to live as long as us with the best quality of life. Sometimes that means not anthropromorphizing them, doing/feeding things that are disgusting to us, but necessary to them. Or making difficult choices that will break our hearts, but will relieve them of pain. They are dogs. They are not humans. We have a great responsibility & are privileged to provide them with everything they depend on.
I only want what is best for anyone’s animals.
It is incredibly selfish to insist that your dog should be vegan because you are. Even if you supplement appropriately it isn’t the same as getting nutrients from the right food source. “Let your food be your medicine.”
I understand some dogs need to be vegetarians for health reasons. I have been there when other options weren’t available until later in his life. As soon as I discovered other choices I tried them. Because he was a dog. I didn’t love feeding him kangaroo or rabbit (we have rabbit pets. His best friend was a rabbit.) But he didn’t know he was eating cute animals. He only knew & cared that he was eating and not feeling bad afterward.
I should mention that I have only ever had GSDs my entire life. None of them that I raised developed arthritis or hd. Others I have adopted/fostered improved almost instantly once given an appropriate diet & exercise for that individual dog. Right now I have 3 dogs and 5 different foods because all of them need different things at the moment.
My point is just do what is best for the dog. Don’t push your beliefs on them. They don’t care. Feed them meat products. Even if it’s just eggs and raw goat milk. But make sure they get a balanced diet. If they live to be 20+ that’s awesome if they are healthy, happy, pain-free. If they live to be a happy & loved 10 year old without any suffering, then you’ve done your job.
Their time with us flies by. Enjoy them fully. Love them completely.
My favorite pro-bio was Wysong. It came in a little bottle w/ a pump. It is very expensive though.
In a pinch I use Nutri-vet food transition packets. You can get it at PetCo. Also works well.
My all time favorite now is raw, unpasteurized goat milk. Only takes 20 min to digest and they absolutely love it. Can’t get enough. (I personally think it’s the nastiest stuff, but it’s not about me.)
I also give them pure pumpkin & bananas. They love that too. Bananas are a very good prebiotic.
If you’re insistent on vegan I guess the raw goat milk won’t be OK for you though.
Olga is right on to suggest Nupro Joint & Immunity Support. Love that stuff. Since I have GSD I feed it about 1/2 hr before meals. It’s a whole digestive system/absorption thing with GSDs and flax.
Great results with that product.
Olga I don’t think it’s wrong to feed a vegetarian diet. It’s the vegan nonsense that has me reeling.
Plenty of dogs do well as vegetarians.
I do however think it isn’t right to feed them vegetarian just because the owner is vegetarian. I am vegetarian, but I don’t push it on my animals. (Honestly I am only veg becasue I don’t like meat texture.) Well except the rabbit & the horse. That’s not really a push. That’s who they are. Dogs are more carnivorous than humans. It is what it is.
If there was a medical reason for feeding veg I would & have absolutely do/done that.
I think it was you who suggested antlers for the teeth. But I think that goes against the vegan goal. That’s part of an animal.
Sounds to me that with the time and research we all do to care for our companions, when I die, I want to come back as a doggie to someone who would care for me as much as we do.
I’m in total agreement, I don’t give them anything from CHINA – Not even toys! As for the antlers, they are naturally shed. My dogs just chew on them they don’t eat them.
For me it has not been a science the percentage of proteins, fats and vegetables I give my dogs. I’ve been doing it a long time, and I vary their diet somewhat. I say the food I make is 20-25% protein, 10-15% fats and the rest veggies. I give them NaturVet enzymes. For more precise information you may want to check on line.
Those that feed meat, it would be advisable to feed them wild salmon, or free range meats. It’s more expensive, but like for us, we can spend our money on staying healthy or at the doctors.
BTW from what I read the Guinness Book of World Records does thorough investigating before being added to the book. Thanks for the info on the bananas, I have a large hand from my backyard and it’s good to know I can share them.
I’m not sure if you are aware that approx 80% of vitamin C is from China. Although we may buy a product made & sourced from the US, Canada, Australia, the vitamin C in it is likely from China. They seem to have some sort of monopoly on the stuff.
Even vitamin companies are forced to use it from China. It’s very difficult (thus not cost effective) to use vitamin C that doesn’t come from there. I don’t know why it can’t be made more affordable here.
I am glad to see another person who doesn’t even give toys made in China. I know people think I’m crazy because they don’t actually eat the toys, but they can still ingest something harmful. Look at the kids who wore jewelry from there. They didn’t have to eat it to be sick. But they touch it and put fingers in their mouth. And EVERYTHING goes in a dog’s mouth.Aymee lMember
I know this forum started in 2013 but since it’s still going and a lot of research has been done since I figured I would cwould give my input.
For starters, people are correct to say animals do not produce the enzymes needed to break down heavy cellulose but they can consume those enzymes which are usually found in the dog foods. They are listed. That same cellulose is actually used as fiber which helps with diarhea. They are also good providers of potassium.
The speculation that the trolls are pointing out about protien not affecting renal failure is entirely false. While human research shows it is safe for healthy adults it is not safe for unhealthy adults and if a dog is diagnosed with renal problems you will want to lower the protien intake regardless of vegan or non-vegan food which the animal nutritionalist pointed out.
Congestive heart failure dogs will also have a big problem with meat foods because souch salt must be used to preserve these meats which would cause edema. I would look into making a homemade no-salt diet for these dogs just to be safe.
While meat is considered a complete protien it is easy to combine protien sources to get all amino acids. As long as the dog gets all its nutrients either diet will work.
Someone mentioned the case of the vegan could feeding the cat. It should be noted that cats need taurine which is produced synthetically (this is what’s in your energy drinks) however this particular couple did not own this cat. It was a stray so to claim it was abuse was based solely on a person’s opinion of the diet and not the situation.
The novel meats are usually ineffective for dogs who can not tolerate animal protien. This is usually a result of an immune response similar to when a patient gets an organ transplant. The body sees the new organ as an antigen and tries to combat it. Regardless of the protien the body will do this.
Bottom line is that each dog is different and requires different needs. Vegan diets are a tool that can benefit many . Most dogs could eat one or the other safely but only the owner and their vet know the dogs health. Having a vet who learns from education and experience is a must. If you feel a dog may benefit from a vegan diet discuss it with your vet and allow them to monitor the progress.
I don’t agree with you Dick but it’s a shame you had to go throw around insults and curse words, which will probably get your post pulled because you sound like an intelligent man.
Dick, you said: “consider how your dog would feel watching those animals being slaughtered and tortured. Probably just as bad as you would, I’d imagine.”
What makes you think a dog could connect on an emotional level with watching an animal be slaughtered? Are they not capable of brutally killing other animals with no second thought? My co-workers dog just the other day got away from him and killed their neighbors cat.
And yes, I’m inclinded to agree with Marie and add that the barrage of insults does not make your opinion more credible.ElMember
Hi Pitlove, you said
“What makes you think a dog could connect on an emotional level with watching an animal be slaughtered? Are they not capable of brutally killing other animals with no second thought?”
Are not people capable of the same thing?
I find it sad that you read his statement;
“consider how your dog would feel watching those animals being slaughtered and tortured. Probably just as bad as you would, I’d imagine.”
And failed to understand the message he was trying to convey about the horribly inhumane way that food animals are treated.
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