If you’re keen on keeping your household vegan-friendly, you may have also considered switching to vegan dog food for your pooch. However, is this a safe move to make?
The good news is that with the correct planning and strategies in place, you can keep your dog on a very healthy vegan diet. Here’s what you need to know about turning your dog vegan:
It is much safer for dogs to turn vegan than cats
Dogs are typically classed as ‘carnivores’. However, this can be very misleading for people who are unsure about the best diet for dogs. While dogs may choose to eat meat over plants, they actually need both to sustain a healthy diet (unlike cats which are true carnivores).
Did you know that dogs actually couldn’t survive on an all-meat diet?
Around three decades ago, dog owners were encouraged to try their pooches on an ‘all meat’ diet. This resulted in the invention of meaty canned foods. After a lengthy spell consuming this diet, dogs were faced with an array of health problems such as the likes of hair loss, weak bones, and weight loss. So, it’s obvious to see that changing your dog’s diet to veganism may not be a terrible idea.
According to WebMD, veterinary nutritionist Cailin Heinze claims that dog owners who are looking to purchase vegan dog food and change their dog’s diet should think carefully about the dramatic change: “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”.
According to research from the ASPCA, cats that are switched to a vegan diet could face serious health risks; one of the main ones being heart problems as a result of lack of taurine. Luckily, this is not the case for dogs and the transition can be made much easier.
What are the key concerns about purchasing vegan dog food?
If you are keen on switching your dog to a vegan diet, you need to do so at a very gradual pace. It wouldn’t be wise to completely change their regular diet and throw the usual food away without trying it out first. Instead, mix in the new vegan dog food with their usual food, so they can get used to the transition.
In addition, take these essential points into consideration:
It’s quite a common occurrence for dogs to develop allergies to the likes of corn, wheat, and soy, which are typically contained within vegan dog food. It’s unlikely that you’ll spot these types of intolerances straight away.
Allergies usually develop over time. So as soon as you spot any symptoms such as the likes of red and itchy skin and swollen paws and ears, it would be wise to put your dog on a safe diet. This will mean the food will include no ingredients that have been known to cause allergies and will rid the food allergy from the system. In more severe cases, your dog may vomit or have diarrhea which will need immediate attention from the vet.
There may be some dogs who are lacking in deficiencies and quite similar to allergies, these aren’t spotted immediately. In most cases, it could take almost 6 months for any symptoms to develop. Be sure to keep an eye on your pooch in case they start to become unwell.
3. Urine tests
If you’re hoping to switch your dog to become a fully-fledged vegan, you will need to be sure that you’re carrying out regular urine tests to check the PH level. When dogs consume protein, the urine automatically becomes acidic, however, they consume very little protein such as in vegan dog food, the urine isn’t doesn’t contain enough acid which may lead to health conditions impacting the kidney. A good reading should be between 5.5 and 7. There are ways you can boost this level such as adding cranberries to their food. You can test the urine sample at home with your own kit.
4. Homemade vegan dog food
If you’re worried about vegan dog food ingredients, then you may decide to make your own vegan dog food. Do be aware that some foods are harmful to dogs and should be avoided at all costs.
Foods to avoid are:
Here are some of the nutritional aspects you need to consider for your dog’s vegan diet:
It may be easy for you to get protein from a vegan diet, but this isn’t necessarily the case for your dog. The minimum requirement of protein within standard dog food is 18%. Therefore, you need to try and match this when it comes to switching their diet to completely vegan. Dogs who are older and perhaps aren’t as active may find that the 18% is more than enough for them. However, younger and more active dogs will need at least 25-30% in order to function properly.
It’s not just the amount of protein that you need to take into consideration for your dog’s diet. It’s also the amino acids which are the essential aspects that make up protein.
You may never have realized, but there are in fact 23 amino acids that dogs need; 10 of which are essential while the other 13 are necessary but can be taken from the essential 10.
The good news is that the essential acids are contained within most vegan dog foods, however, they aren’t as readily available as human food which is an aspect to take into consideration. This may mean having to shop around online at specialist vegan dog food companies to find the most suitable products.
Where to buy vegan dog food
There are now many companies where you can purchase the best vegan dog food, for your pooch. Some of the most popular online include veggiepets.com and ethicalpets.com, however, you can also take a quick scan across Amazon to see the different vegan dog food brands which are available.
So, is vegan food actually better for your dog?
In conclusion, a vegan diet shouldn’t do your dog any harm. The key is to give enough time and attention into turning your dog vegan. And, making sure to include the correct dietary nutrients to ensure they remain in good health.
What do you think about switching your dog’s diet from meat and plant-based to fully vegan?
Let us know in the comments below!