Should You Feed Your Dog a Vegan Diet?

Personally, I choose to live a vegan(ish) lifestyle. I really enjoy an organic, mostly plant-based diet and haven’t eaten meat in over 25 years. However, I can’t say the same about my dogs.

My aversion to meat has been a struggle lately. After my senior dog, Sanchez, was diagnosed with E. coli,  I started cooking his meals. The site and smell of meat makes me nauseous. I’ve been known to beg friends to come over for a healthy, vegan meal made by me in exchange for them cooking ground turkey for Sanchez.  I started researching whether it would be a good idea to put him on a vegan diet. It would certainly align with my values.

I’ve been closely following the work of pet nutritionist Rodney Habib and Dr. Karen Becker lately. Rodney recommends a combination of home cooked or raw meat combined with veggies for our pups. Watch his Planet Paws video with great detail here.

Dr. Karen Becker also finds evidence on why it’s dangerous to feed dogs a vegan diet. In Healthy Pets, she writes,

“As scavenging carnivores, dogs can survive on plant material but they can’t thrive on it alone. To thrive means to grow vigorously – to flourish. Carnivores, including dogs, fed a diet of plant material will not live a long, healthy life, and will have medical and degenerative conditions along the way. When a carnivore is fed a vegetarian diet, or an herbivore like a rabbit is fed a meat-based diet, health problems are the inevitable result.”

While there are a number of organic, vegan kibble options on the market today, they all have one problem in common. Kibble is processed food with a short shelf life. No matter what the ingredients, the carbs in kibble (even grain-free) is starch turned into sugar, which supports cancer growth and weight gain. Habib states, “A diet high in carbohydrates has definite relevance to a dog’s rate of getting cancer.”

On the other hand, some pet owners say their dogs thrive on a plant-based diet. For example, a blue merle collie named Bramble lived 27 years on a vegan diet of rice, lentils and vegetables. The average life span for collies is about 10 to 17 years.

According to a CNN article, six pet experts agreed that dogs can live (not all agreed that they can thrive) on a vegan diet, but they said it may require careful attention to a balanced diet. Care2 has published a guide for transitioning dogs to a nutritious vegan diet. As always, when you make a major change to your pet’s diet, monitor changes and talk to your veterinarian if you have concerns.

Regarding my senior Lab, I choose to cook him ground turkey combined with The Honest Kitchen and a variety of veggies and sardines. Sometimes I cook up a batch of dog food from Rodney’s recipe. While I don’t like smelling or looking at meat, I personally have found that it has helped me nurse Sanchez back to full health. While he’s 13 1/2, he’s been acting like a middle-aged 8-year-old lately.

I make sure to combine both their meals with fresh veggies and fruit (and I also use some as treats). Gina will eat anything green, including kale, green beans, spinach, zucchini, bell peppers and grass. Sanchez also loves carrots, bananas and apples.

Do you feed your dog a plant-based diet? Add your experiences below.

Related:
How To Make Your Own Dog Food In 3 Easy Steps
Want Your Dog to Live to 30? Add This to Their Bowl
Top 3 Health Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs and Cats

222 comments

Jacklyn Zalopski
Jacky Zalopskiabout a year ago

I do feed my Chihuahua an almost entirely vegetarian diet. Strictly organic, that's for sure! He was diagnosed with a liver shunt at age 2 with most passing away in 10 months to 2 years after diagnosis. I found Rick & Cindy Scheyer (animal nutritionists) and incorporated their diet suggestions ... they saved our little guy's life!

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Jerome S
Jerome Sabout a year ago

thanks

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Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for sharing.

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Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen1 years ago

Thank you

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Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen1 years ago

Thank you

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Marie W
Marie W1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Janet B
Janet B1 years ago

Thanks

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Rosemary A
Rosemary A1 years ago

It's wonderful to hear from/about a vegan who puts aside their lifestyle and cares enough for their naturally meat eating pets to recognise they should provide them with the meat diet their bodies need. For every person you meet that says raw meat is dangerous to feed pets you will find equal if not more that that recommend raw meats. I personally agree that some pets with sensitive tummies may require their meat to be cooked. There are also many skeptics who say you should never feed your dogs eggs ??? I believe nature guides the way and while there may be incidences, overall they are of a very small proportion. Just like people there are those who will react to something that is in general considered to be the healthiest way. That's how life goes.

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Renata B
Renata B1 years ago

Raw meat is very dangerous because of the pathogens it can have: our vet is pretty much against it. He recommended a vegetarian diet and since we have adopted it our dog is better. He has 2/3 of high quality (Burns) wet food (there are free range eggs too), and 1/3 of vegan dry food as a treat at the end of the day (he is very keen on that: we give him 30 pieces precisely and he is 16 kg). He has been on this diet for some years now and it's the best we have had so far. He is 7 years and 4 months (we adopted him as a puppy: an Irish boy).

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iveta NoFwdsPls cer
Iveta cer1 years ago

Thank you

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