4 Vegan Dog Food Recipes That Will Keep Your Puppy Healthy and Balanced

As explained in Good Nutrition for Healthy Vegan Dogs, vegan caregivers can be confident that it’s possible to feed your canine friends a nutritionally-complete plant-based diet. With some basic awareness of dog nutrition and a little help from the remarkable products that are available on the current market, it’s easy to keep animal-based foods out of your dog’s meals.

Journalist and author Julia Szabo spent 11 years writing the Pets column for the Sunday New York Post, and is now the author of the Dogster.com column Living With Dogs:

“Many dog lovers firmly believe that dogs absolutely need meat to thrive. And I confess I used to be one of them – until I discovered that one of the most vibrantly healthy dogs I know is a vegetarian… ‘Piggy runs at least two to three miles a day on weekdays, and on the weekends he can run easily six or seven miles a day. The most he’s ever run is 30 miles in one weekend.’”

And that’s on only three legs, folks. This rescued stray from the Dominican Republic gets around without the use of his fourth limb, which was shattered when he was hit by a car. On his diet of vegan kibble, Piggy went from being a scrawny, scraggly, hairless, emaciated puppy weighing under 20 lbs, to being “one of the most outgoing, charismatic dogs on the Central Park scene.” Tod Emko, his vegan caregiver, describes him as “45 lbs of solid muscle.”

But what about nutrition? Some people claim that extending one’s veganism to include the meals we feed to our canine friends is actually cruel and unfair to animals who would naturally choose to eat meat. Such concerns might be valid if vegan food wasn’t nutritionally adequate for dogs, but is that simply a myth?

Szabo asked a veterinarian whether or not it was a health risk for dogs to adopt a vegetarian diet:

“‘Humans can eat meat or not, and dogs are the same way,’ says Dr. Louise Murray of the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital… ‘Dogs and humans are both omnivores, and that means our physiology is very flexible. We can get Vitamin A from animal flesh or from carrots…. So as long as they’re eating a balanced diet, dogs can certainly be vegetarians.’”

In fact, just as with humans, there are many canine health issues that a vegan diet can help with, from skin and coat conditions to digestive disorders and even mobility problems such as those related to arthritis.

Your next question may well be, ‘But what does a vegan dog eat?’ As it so happens, there are a number of fantastic ready-made vegan dog foods that are formulated to meet Association Of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards, and you can find a list of them here (along with some other excellent resources for feeding vegan canines).

Curious to find out whether her own canine companions would turn up their noses at vegan fare, Szabo goes on to explain that they had no problem whatsoever with the taste or texture of the vegan food she tried out on them:

“My dogs have been known to eat spinach, kale, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, romaine lettuce, sweet potatoes, and burdock as garnishes and/or treats. But I’ve never thought to feed any one of them an all-veggie meal. So I decided to give Natural Balance Vegetarian Formula a try, to see if it would pass muster… Everyone clamored around the opened veggie can with the same enthusiasm they show when, say, the lid comes off a can of venison food. And when my toughest, most carnivorous customers gobbled up this meatless medley, it was obvious that palatability was not an issue – they clearly approve of the way it smells and tastes.”

With the addition of VegePet, an excellent canine supplement product, it’s also possible to keep your dog healthy with home-made vegan food that’s very similar to what you yourself would eat.

To make things simple, we’ve included a few recipes to keep your canine friends happy… If you have recipes of your own, please feel free to share them!

 

Chickpea Stew

  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas (see Cooking Guide for Beans)
  • 3 Tbsp organic oil
  • 3 Tbsp organic peanut butter
  • 2 cups water or veggie stock (salt-free or low sodium)
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 beet, sliced
  1. Mash the chickpeas in a large bowl.
  2. Add the oil, peanut butter, and one cup of the water or stock.
  3. In a blender, combine the remaining water, carrot, celery, and beet.
  4. Blend at medium speed for 30 seconds.
  5. Add to the chickpeas and serve warm.

 

Rice-Millet Vegetable Dish

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup cooked millet
  • 3 cups leftover vegetables
  • 3 Tbsp organic oil
  • 1/2 cup water or veggie stock (salt-free or low sodium)
  1. In a large pot, combine rice, millet, oil and water.
  2. Put vegetables in a blender and blend at medium speed until creamy.
  3. Add to the grains. Serve warm.

 

Lentil and Barley Loaf

  • 2 cups water or veggie stock (salt-free or low sodium)
  • 1/2 cup dried lentils, washed
  • 1/3 cup barley
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 tsp sea kelp
  1. In a large pot, bring the water to a boil.
  2. Add the lentils and barley. Reduce heat, and cover pot.
  3. Simmer for 25 minutes, or until barley is tender.
  4. With a little water in a blender, blend celery for one minute on medium speed.
  5. Add this mixture to the cooked grains. Allow to cool slightly, but serve warm.

 

Vegetable Medley for Puppies

  • 1/2 cup water or veggie stock (salt-free or low sodium)
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1/ medium-sized zucchini
  • 2 tsp wheat germ
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  1. Place stock, diced carrots and zucchini in a blender, and blend at medium speed for one minute.
  2. Add the celery, wheatgerm, and peanut butter, and blend for one more minute.
  3. Transfer to a large pot and warm.

Have you had success with raising a healthy vegan dog? Please let us know about your experience in the comments below.

173 comments

hELEN h
hELEN h1 months ago

tyfs

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Past Member
Past Member 3 months ago

Hi!

I am considering getting a dog, if I can raise it ovo-lacto veg.

I am not quite sure how to get started. Google produces pages and pages of opinions on whether or not it is ok to have a vegetarian dog, with a few pages of vegan sweet potato recipes thrown in there.

I'm especially concerned because the local chain carries vegetarian food for adults only. What do you do for puppies? Do you feed them meat then switch? If I supplemented the adult show with some eggs would it be OK? Do people usually do home made?

Is there a how-to website, forum, book, anything that can provide guidance, stuff to watch out for, particular vitamins to add, etc? The PETA one is OK but very general.

Do you need to think about the breed? We're thinking something in the Bichon family.

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Jack Y
Jack Y3 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y3 months ago

thanks

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Kelly K
Kelly Kibbons4 months ago

Hi,
Is there something I can substitute for the peanut butter in the vegetable medley recipe?? My dog has had tons of allergy tests because she is miserable. I found out she is allergic to all animal protein and peanut butter. Would love to try the recipe but I need something besides peanut butter.
Suggestions??

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Marija M
Marija M4 months ago

tks

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Renata B
Renata B4 months ago

Melanie P: dogs are omnivores and they can thrive on a vegan diet, so why killing innocent animals when our dogs can thrive and be happy without killing? I hope there will be soon more choices of vegan food in the UK.

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Renata B
Renata B4 months ago

Our dog is 2/3 vegetarian (wet food with eggs) and 1/3 vegan (dry food). He is nine now and he has had this diet for almost his entire life (we adopted him as a puppy). It was suggested by our vet actually. We would like to find also vegan wet food but the only make available (as far as we know) in the UK is sometimes out of stock, difficult to have it delivered and when we tried it didn't seem to agree much with him. At that time he was still more or less a puppy but we didn't try again later due to the unreliability of the deliveries. He is doing very well with this diet. We are very happy with his health.

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Cindy S
Cindy Smith5 months ago

thanks!!!!

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natasha p
Past Member 5 months ago

ty

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