Best Vegan Dog Food 2020

We know how challenging it is to be a dog parent, vegan or not. And we’re fully committed in providing them with overflowing love and care that they need. For vegan dog parents that are quite caught up with their daily lives, we make sure that you have the best vegetarian/vegan dog food options to choose from. Here are the top vegetarian or vegan dog food (with their key benefits) that are not just popular but also known for their range of quality vegan/vegetarian pet food products.

Top 5 Best Vegan Dog Food

V-Dog Vegan Kibble Dry Dog Food, 30 lb

V-Dog features 100% vegan, healthy and delicious whole foods like peas, lentils, quinoa and brown rice; made without the use of corn, soy, wheat, gluten, fake stuff or fillers.

This vegan dog food is fully supplemented with everything your precious pup needs to thrive, including 24% protein, L-carnitine, taurine and many other whole foods, vitamins and minerals. Other benefits of this pet food can include elimination of allergic reactions, improved oral hygiene, healthier skin and coat, and effective weight management.

Is your dog sleeping in an Eco-Friendly dog bed? See our round up of the best Eco-Friendly dog beds for your K9.

Natural Balance Vegetarian Formula Dry Dog Food, 28 Pounds

Natural Balance Vegetarian Formula pet food provides adult dogs with the same essential nutrients found in diets with meat as the protein source but uses only vegan ingredients.

It provides complete and balanced nutrition for dogs without any animal or dairy products. It features brown rice, oatmeal, pearled barley, peas and potatoes for a great taste your dog will love. It contains increased levels of B vitamins, and is made without any artificial flavors or colors.

Halo Vegan Dry Dog Food, Garden Of Vegan Recipe, 4-Pound Bag

Halo Vegan Garden Medley Formula Dry Dog Food features wholesome ingredients from the earth, this special vegan dry food formula is made with nutrient-rich chickpeas, a cornucopia of non-GMO garden vegetables and nourishing oils.

It is a highly digestible plant-based pet food, complete and balanced non-meat diet that also includes a special vegan blend of vitamins, minerals and trace nutrients. Designed to keep your dog happy and healthy–inside and out. This is ideal for dogs with sensitivities or allergies to more traditional dog foods.

Avoderm Natural Vegetarian Formula Wet Dog Food, All Life Stages, Case Of 12 Cans

AvoDerm premium vegetarian dog food uses only quality ingredients in all our formulas to provide healthy, balanced levels of protein, fat, and nutrients.

It is naturally preserved with mixed tocopherols to ensure freshness and palatability and with added antioxidant nutrients to help support a healthy immune system and overall dog wellness. This product is rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 and especially formulated without corn or wheat.

PetGuard Organic Chicken and Vegetable Entrée Wet Dog Food, USDA Certified Organic, 12.7-oz, case of 12

Enrich with protein, vitamins, chelated minerals and healthy omegas and formulated to help support your dog’s heart, kidneys, liver, skin, coat and overall health.

All ingredients in this PetGuard Organic Vegetarian Vegan Entree Canned Dog Food are ethically sourced to ensure they have been handled under the best conditions and with the best practices. This wholesome, meat-free recipe is crafted with USDA certified organic fruits and vegetables for a meal you can feel good about feeding your dog. This plant-based pet food is also made without the ingredients you want him to avoid like artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, sweeteners, sugars and by-products.

Which Would We Buy?

Other Vegan Dog Foods

Gather Endless Valley Vegan Dry Dog Food

Petcurean hand-selected the farmers and growers that provide the ingredients for Gather Endless Valley Vegan Dry Dog Food. They kicked the dirt in their fields and inspected their farms to make sure your dog gets only the best possible nutrition available. In the making of this delicious vegan dog food, they gathered a delicious assortment of non-GMO, sustainably-grown fruits and vegetables like organic peas, lentils, potatoes, blueberries, cranberries, kale and carrots, along with wholesome grains like organic barley, organic oats and quinoa. The result is a complete and balanced dog food that’s highly nutritious, packed with protein, highly palatable, and completely free of any animal ingredients, rendered ingredients, corn, wheat, soy or artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

Wysong Vegan Dry Dog Food & Dry Cat Food

This meatless vegan cat and dog dry food is suitable for all life stages of cats and dogs. This vegan pet food contains higher levels of protein, fat, micronutrients/nutraceuticals, including prebiotics, probiotics, enzymes, omega-3s and antioxidants. This is an improved formulation that is designed to take advantage of new processing methods to preserve natural value, and nutritional advances in epigenetics and nutrigenomics. Coated with probiotic and enzyme and with all natural organic vegetarian formula. Excellent choice for vegan cats and dogs.

The Best Vegan Dog Food

Being a pet owner, it is your sole responsibility to assure that you’re aware of your dog’s nutritional necessities. Whether you’re a first-timer or not, constant learning and hands-on involvement is needed when it comes to dog veganism. Figuring out what are the best vegan dog food takes a lot of curation to execute. There are tons of formulated vegan dog food options, but how reliable are they? Is homemade vegan dog food more palatable for your best friend? Proper consultation with your vet should always be the first step. If your plan is going in full-time for homemade vegan dog food, thorough strategic research, formulation, preparation and consultation is needed in order to meet the abundance of nutritional requirements. Consider these pointers before feeding them homemade vegan pet food for good.

  • Do your research and find a recipe that is veterinarian-approved.
  • Choose your ingredients diligently – FRESH is always best.
  • Ensure that you clean your fruits and vegetables properly – any trace of pesticide could be harmful to your dog.
  • Following the recipe as close as 99% as possible.
  • Avoid swapping out ingredients unless the recipe offers other close alternatives.
  • The accuracy of using food scale to measure your ingredients is important.
  • Add the necessary supplements to ensure that the recipe is complete with essential nutrients and balanced for your dog.
  • Be prepared to spend more on a homemade vegan dog food diet than you would on kibble – if you can’t commit to it long-term, don’t make the switch.

 

While it’s very crucial to always check in with your vet, here’s some quick tips for what you need to look for in an essential and balance vegetarian / vegan dog food.

  • Wholesome, natural ingredients
  • Plenty of plant protein
  • Balance of omega fatty acids
  • Digestible carbohydrates
  • Complete and nutritionally balanced

Can Dogs Eat Plant-Based?

Is it really okay for dogs to be vegan? While we, humans, may freely fulfill the vegan lifestyle, it is still an ongoing discussion if it’s the same case for the protein lover dogs. Most dog people that hardly consider this transition for their pets are vegan themselves (and also, ethics). Some falls down to the other category, in which dogs having allergies to certain types of meat protein, thus veterinarians and pet nutritionists pushing dog owners to consider a meat-free diet.

Many of us believed that dogs are natural-born carnivores, like their wolf ancestors. They’re actually not, canine digestives are capable of digesting nutrients from fruits and vegetables making them part of the omnivores class. That’s not the main case though, because there aren’t that much commercial study about vegetarian dog diet yet to maintain a sustainable vegan/vegetarian movement for dogs. For your dog to be able to go through with this transition without giving his/her health a bad nutritional impact that it doesn’t deserve, it should be carefully planned with the help of a professional dog nutritionist. The essential nutrients, especially the protein they acquire from consuming meat, can also be acquired through plant-based diet. The sound of a simple logic as to justify common vegan dog food from the market as basic compliance to their nutritional needs is a little overrated to the whole picture of dog veganism, making the subject matter more scientific-based incomparable to human diet. It’s not surprising that even in many dog cases, plant-based diet can clear up allergies and various dog skin issues.

To further dig in with dogs being the omnivorous type, a compiled research from Hill’s Pet stated their several key omnivorous qualities.

  • Molars with relatively flat surfaces designed to grind up bones as well as fibrous plant material
  • The ability to digest the majority of carbohydrates they consume
  • A small intestine that occupies about 23 percent of the total gastrointestinal volume, which is consistent with other omnivores (true carnivores like cats have even smaller intestines)
  • The ability to create an essential nutrient, vitamin A, from beta-carotene found in plants

 

The potential benefits of healthy plant-based diet for dogs are proven by various vegan dogs owners. This ethical choice is really not just about lifestyle but mostly for the sake of your pet’s health status and condition in the long run. Here’s a wide range of benefits they may acquire by having vegan dog food.

  • Low Carcinogen Exposure – Plant-based dog food generally represents less carcinogen exposure, due to bioaccumulation in animal-derived food.
  • Balanced Nutrition – Dogs have no nutritional requirement for meat, thousands of dogs in the world today thrive on plant-based diets.
  • Heals Skin Allergies – Many vets routinely prescribe plant-based food for dogs with allergic dermatitis.
  • Treats Food Allergies – Many dogs suffer from allergies to meat proteins, particularly those found in chickens and cows.
  • Less Aggressive Behavior – It has been observed that plant-based diets can calm aggressive behavior.
  • Overall Health – Most people who give their dogs healthy plant-based food notice overall improvements in health and vitality.

Do Dogs Need Meat?

Biologically speaking, dogs have evolved alongside humans for over 10,000 years. Domesticated dogs have a different genetic component that allows them to thrive and make excellent use of starchy, plant-based food. Putting it simply, dogs need protein. And since it is proven that dogs can thrive on a complete and balanced vegan diet, thanks to evolution, we can provide them a diet filled with nutrient-dense plant proteins as protein is not mutually exclusive to meat (animal flesh). The adaptations of dogs to a more plant-based diet through domestication haven’t just been at the enzyme level. All animals rely to some degree on the bacteria within their gut to help them digest food properly.

In an article published through veganoutreach by Dr. Armaiti May, D.V.M, C.V.A., being a full-time clinical practitioner treating dogs, she shared that one of the most common ailments she diagnose and treat in dogs is skin allergies. Quoting Dr. May:

“Most of the time when a dog has a food allergy, it is to a meat protein such as beef, chicken, or one of the other common meat sources. Vegetarian diets may bring these food allergic dogs relief from their skin allergies. A smaller percentage of dogs are allergic to soy, which may limit choices of commercially available vegetarian diets. In that case, if a caretaker wishes to feed a vegan diet, a homemade diet may be the next best option, but even more care must be taken to insure appropriate nutrient balance and supplements may need to be added to the diet.”

Citing such general cases are very crucial to really understand the clinical dynamics on how dogs respond to certain types of diets. As far as their need of meat is concerned, based on Science, it’s always a different scenario for any dog

Do Vegan Dogs Live Longer?

You may have heard about Bramble the Collie, the v-dog who lived for over 25 years. During one of the interviews of Anne, Bramble’s mom, she talked openly about her dog’s diet. Anne stated that it was made from 100% vegan ingredients and consisted mainly of lentils, textured vegetable protein and brown rice. Bramble was one of the greatest examples of a vegan dog that surpassed its own life expectancy. It’s a fact that as long as a dog’s diet is complete and balanced, their nutrition can come purely from plant-based sources. Nonetheless, it is worth-mentioning again that with proper guidance from a professional pet nutritionist, it can be very beneficial for your dog to adapt a vegan diet with the avoidance of the unnecessary.

Dr. Richard Pitciarn, DVM, from the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy is a plant-based diet advocate for dogs and cats. He said that our dogs’ standard diet, which is chock-full of animal products and byproduct, contains shocking levels of toxins due to bioaccumulation up the food chain. Additionally, “The food sources that contain, by far, the highest amount of toxic chemicals are meat, bones and other animal products. Upon switching to a nutritionally complete vegan dog food diet, many of my patients noticeably improved their condition.” he says.

On a different note regarding meat-free diet, take this major study from the British Journal of Nutrition as an example.

An experimental meat-free diet maintained haematological characteristics in sprint-racing sled dogs.

The study: Compared highly athletic huskies on meat-based and meat-free diets to determine whether nutritional requirements are met with a meat-free diet.

The results: “Haematology results for all dogs, irrespective of diet, were within normal range throughout the study and the consulting veterinarian assessed all dogs to be in excellent physical condition. No dogs in the present study developed anaemia. The present study is the first to demonstrate that a carefully balanced meat-free diet can maintain normal haematological values in exercising dogs.”

Real-life testimonies from vegan and vegetarian dog owners are a massive proof that plant-based diet can really affect a dog’s life longevity. More and more cases of successful vegan transition are being published around the world in order to upscale the awareness about this healthy and ethical lifestyle. For pet owners, the terms are not just to follow a certain trend but to really know what’s in line for your dog’s or cat’s health. It’s a long process to persuade them the complete vegan nature of it all, but the potential benefits are for the long run as well

The Potential Downside of Feeding them Vegan Dog Food

Sometimes it’s not up to the owners to decide whether they should or shouldn’t continue a vegetarian or vegan diet for their dogs. An improperly-balanced vegan diet without complete medical advice can lead to a few serious deficiencies and health risks according to WebMD. Dr. Cailin Heinze, VMD, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist and assistant professor of nutrition at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicines said:

“For dogs, certainly vegetarian and vegan diets can be done, but they need to be done very, very carefully. There is a lot of room for error, and these diets probably are not as appropriate as diets that contain at least some animal protein.”

Dr. Lisa Freeman, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist and a professor at Tufts University, said that there were no long-term studies on the effects of veganism in dogs. Dr. Freeman is a vegetarian herself and understands the ethical disputation for avoiding meat but believes that a balanced diet for dogs should include meat. Alternatively, she recommends feeding a dog a high-quality fish-based diet instead. Following with a statement:

“We know a lot about dog nutrition, but there are unknowns as well. We want them to be eating a diet that is nutritionally balanced. That means it has all the proteins, vitamins and minerals that they need in the correct ratios and with the best quality control. It isn’t easy to formulate a high-quality diet for dogs, and it’s particularly difficult with a vegan diet.”

Plant-based diets for humans are beneficial in reducing the risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease or Type 2 diabetes, on the contrary, dogs and cats do not guarantee with the same benefits.

“While dogs and cats get some of the same heart diseases that people do, they are very resistant to coronary artery disease, the main heart disease affecting humans. So the nutritional strategies that are beneficial for preventing heart disease in humans are not useful in dogs and cats. Since obesity is the main risk factor for diabetes in cats and dogs, maintaining a pet’s ideal body weight with a consistent diet is the key to successful treatment of that disease.” said Dr, Freeman.

Needless to say, dogs can sustain vegetarian/vegan lifestyle. It may differ from vegan human preferences and nutritional requirements but it’s with the same ethical impact. The most important thing to always keep in mind is to really know what’s best for your canine companion’s nutritional and health needs. May it be meat-based, plant-based or anything in between, their overall nutrition and health is our top-most priority. Whatever reasons may concur, just continue learning about dog/cat vegan and vegetarian lifestyle with your vet, nutritionist, and like-minded vegan individuals. Knowledge always come in handy in fulfilling our long-term vegan life advocacies.

Jenny Hutchings

Jenny Hutchings

I’m Jenny Hutchings and I share my healthy eating journey here! I hope you find the recipes and How-To guides useful, I look forward to hearing from you in the comments and on social media 🙂