After committing to the vegan lifestyle, you’ve realized that you’ve never felt better. You’re losing weight, your health is improving, you have more energy and you’re starting to feel optimistic about the road ahead. You’ve stopped hitting up burger joints and fast food restaurants and started giving your business to the local health food store. For the first time in months, things are starting to look up.
Then, one day, you go to the store to pick up another bag of dog food. And that’s when you realize that you omitted one important factor in your vegan lifestyle. Because dog food is loaded with animal products. Chicken, fish, beef, pork, lamb, eggs, dairy–it’s all there, and much more. As a responsible pet owner, you know that your dog needs an omnivorous diet to be healthy. But how you can feed your dog a balanced diet without compromising your vegan principles?
In the past, you might have had no choice but to stick with the meat-based products. But today, there’s a variety of healthy plant-based dog food brands you can choose from. Like the vegan meals you cook in your kitchen, these meals are sustainable, ethically sourced and contain no meat or dairy products. Here’s everything you need to know about feeding your dog a balanced vegan diet.
Why Should You Switch to Vegan Dog Food?
When you look at a dry piece of kibble, it’s hard to believe that it has the same history as the slabs of raw meat in the grocery store. But despite its friendly marketing, pet food is just as cruel to animals as the traditional meat industry. When you look at the pictures of animals on the packaging, you might think that your dog’s food is made from fresh cuts of chicken, beef, pork and turkey. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.
Have you ever wondered what happens to the discarded animal pieces like blood, bones and organs that are left behind after the meat is butchered? They’re not simply thrown away. The meat industry takes these animal parts and turns them into pet food. That’s why most popular brands of pet food list “meat by-products” as one of their main ingredients. Your dog’s not eating the fresh cuts of meat–they’re eating whatever was left over, including beaks, bird feet, bones, blood, brains, kidneys, livers, intestines, hearts and much more.
In other words, you have no idea what your dog is eating when you pour kibble into their food bowl. And to make matters worse, animals that are unfit for human consumption are often thrown into the mix. This includes diseased animals, dead livestock and expired restaurant meat. Because no matter what they say, the meat industry doesn’t care about the health of your pet. All they care about is making a profit.
And as for the animals that produced the food, they don’t fare any better. To produce chicken by-products, millions of male chicks are tossed into grinders and shredded alive to be turned into pet food. Egg-laying hens also suffer the same fate once they’re too old to produce eggs. To the meat industry, these living, breathing creatures are simply trash to be discarded.
Animals in factory farms spend their entire lives trapped in tiny, windowless pens, never getting a whiff of fresh air until they’re brought outside to be shipped to the slaughterhouse. The animals are beaten, tortured and mutilated throughout their short, agonizing lives. A large percentage of animals die from disease before they’re ready to be slaughtered. Animals raised for their meat are crammed with food and hormones, then brutally murdered when they’re big enough to produce meat, often while they’re still alive.
What About Cruelty-Free Dog Food?
In recent years, cruelty-free dog food brands have appeared on the market. These brands are popular with people who want to feed their dogs real meat but don’t want to contribute to the cruelty of the meat industry. But while the animals might live happy lives, you can’t escape cruelty when you’re killing an animal for their meat. If they could speak, any animal would choose to live. They didn’t give us permission to kill them for their meat, and we have no right to take what’s not rightfully ours.
Is Vegan Dog Food Just as Healthy as Regular Dog Food?
Like humans, dogs are omnivorous. That means they can eat a variety of different foods, including meat, fruits, vegetables, grains and proteins. For this reason, vegan dog food is perfectly healthy and acceptable to feed your dog. Most brands of plant-based dog food are infused with vitamins, minerals and proteins to make sure your pet is getting all the nutrients they need and none of the chemicals and preservatives that you’d find in traditional pet food.
How Can You Feed Your Dog Vegan Pet Food?
Before you start a new feeding regimen, talk to your vet to make sure that plant-based food is the right fit for your dog. You might have to stick with traditional dog food if your dog has certain allergies or health conditions. But if your vet approves, try introducing the vegan food gradually by mixing it in with their regular kibble. Replace more of the meat-based food with the plant-based food until your dog has finally made the switch to a fully vegan diet.
What is Plant-Based Dog Food Made Of?
Plant-based dog food is made from a variety of sustainable, ethically-sourced ingredients to ensure that your dog is getting everything they need in their diet. This might include peas, spinach, flaxseed, beets, quinoa, lentils, blueberries, carrots, apple and more. It almost sounds like a tasty vegan salad you’d prepare for yourself! The kibble is also infused with vitamins, minerals, proteins, fatty acids and more to replace the nutrients that your dog would normally get from meat by-products.
If your vet doesn’t recommend switching to a full vegan diet, you can also buy vegetarian dog food. Vegetarian dog food is made from fruits and vegetables and contains no meat products, but it might contain animal products like dairy and egg proteins.
Can You Feed Your Dog a Raw Vegan Diet?
With the increasing popularity of raw meat diets for dogs, you might be wondering if you can feed your dog a raw vegan diet. While your dog can eat certain raw fruits and vegetables, other fruits and vegetables can be harmful to dogs. Additionally, you’ll have to plan out their meals every day to make sure they’re getting enough nutrients. If you don’t want to go through all that trouble, you might want to stick with the prepackaged dog food.
Where Can You Find Plant-Based Dog Food?
If you check the local pet store, they might have a brand or two of plant-based dog food on their shelves. If not, you can order most brands online and have them delivered right to your doorstep. Here on our website, we’ve got a list of the most popular plant-based dog food brands on the market. These products have been used and reviewed by vegans just like yourself. Pick up a bag or two, try it out and let us know what you think!