Many people are surprised to learn that not only can dogs enjoy vibrant health on a vegan diet, but just like people, their physical condition can actually improve as a result of eliminating animal foods.
By genus, dogs are classified as carnivorous, but metabolically, they are actually omnivorous. This means that their nutritional requirements can be adequately met with a plant-based diet, as they can source or synthesize all the nutrients they require from plant foods with supplementation.
“When we first found him on the streets of the Dominican Republic, Piggy was just a pup – he had no hair, he was skin hanging over a skeleton, and he could barely walk a couple of blocks,” Tod recalls. “After a few months recovering on his vegetarian diet, he literally tripled in size to 45 pounds, gained a foot in height, exploded with healthy, soft fur … and he runs for miles on his three legs.”
Still not sure? Consider this story from CNN, where six veterinarians agreed that the nutritional requirements of dogs can be adequately met with a vegan diet.
“The important thing is that you use a diet that has been shown to be nutritionally adequate for whatever stage of life you’re feeding, and it is absolutely possible to find a good quality commercial pet food that doesn’t have animal products in it,” states veterinarian Kathryn E. Michel, an associate professor of nutrition at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine.
Michel recommends using commercial pet food that has gone through The Association of American Feed Control Officials feeding trials. “Or, if you prefer to cook meals from scratch, consult a credentialed expert in dog nutrition to ensure a proper balance of essential nutrients.” (See resources at the end of this article for more information.)