Can Your Dog Be Vegan and Still Be Happy & Healthy?

Thanks for stopping by to find out if your pup can be a vegan. Before we dig into "can dogs be vegans", did you know that close to 9.7 million Americans follow a vegan lifestyle? Also, more and more people are committed to healthy living for themselves, their plant, and their pets.

If this is you, then chances are you would prefer to buy only plant-based foods for every member of your household--including your furry friends. Check the aisles of your grocery store, and you’re likely to encounter an array of pet food products that contain only plant ingredients. 

If you’ve been wondering if it’s safe to buy vegan dog food for your little four-legged pupster, here’s a closer look at some facts that can influence your decision.

Understanding What Goes into Vegan Dog Food

Vegan written out in green

As with food for humans, vegan food for pets can contain familiar ingredients. Such as blueberries, rice, lentils, pumpkin, chickpeas, carrots, and peanuts, to name a few. Moreover, dogs need proteins for tissue building and good health, and these whole foods provide them.

Also, the products contain a key, high-grade ingredient--yeast or fungi. Yeast is a powerful component, comprising 10 of the 20 amino acids that dogs need for healthy muscles, producing hormones, and building immunity to fight infections. Furthermore, those other ingredients complete the amino acid picture.

Good vegan dog food should state that it delivers a complete protein on the packaging. Although choosing vegan food is a good option, it's advisable to consult an expert (such as your vet) for your dog’s nutritional needs. Professional advice becomes critical if your pet has any health condition or is pregnant, lactating, or a senior.

Any Pet Food is More About Balanced Nutrition

As your vet will inform you, pet food is assessed for health in Biological Value (BV). The BV explains how well the dog’s body processes the protein within a particular food. For instance, their digestive system metabolizes proteins from beef, chicken, and soy each a little differently. Therefore, when choosing the right pet food brands, ensure that it has the right balance of proteins essential for keeping your little friend healthy, active, and happy. 

Your best bet is to talk to your vet about your vegan food preference and work with them to ensure your animal’s diet keeps them happy. Accessing veterinary care to monitor your pet’s wellness is essential for all dog owners. 

Vegan Food for Dogs with Special Medical Conditions

Older dog eating vegan dog food

If your pet has specific medical conditions, your vet may recommend that you start her on food containing only plant ingredients. Like humans, some doggy health issues can be exacerbated by meat consumption and improved by avoiding irritants. 

These health issues can include: 

  • Urate Bladder Stones
  • Kidney Disease
  • Allergy-Triggered Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Further, pets with high triglyceride levels and pancreatitis are often encouraged to adopt a low-fat diet, which often goes hand in hand with vegan dog food.

Look for AAFCO Approval On The Label

If you aren’t sure that a particular brand contains the required nutrients and complies with quality-control standards, check the label for the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) approval. This credentialing body certifies pet food brands as nutritionally suitable and provides information as well.

In addition to specifying that the product truly has only vegan ingredients, you’ll also see information about the particular life stage at which pets can safely eat the food. For instance, if the brand is suitable for aging, pregnant, lactating, growing, or adult dogs. 

Choose Pre-Formulated Foods to Ensure Proper Nutrition

Yorkie pup enjoying a bowl of vegan dog food

Do keep in mind that balancing your furry friend’s nutritional needs can be a complicated task. It’s advisable to feed your four-legged friend a professionally evaluated vegan pet food instead of cooking meals at home. 

You’ll also want to check with an expert for any supplements or vitamins you should get. Some dogs, mostly though with ongoing health conditions, need them to reach their optimal health while consuming a plant-based diet. You’ll find the supplements at most pet supply stores. 

So, to come back to our opening question, can dogs be vegan? Yes, dogs can be vegan, happy, and healthy. Follow your vet’s instructions, and your furry friend will stay energetic with a smooth, glossy coat.

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