This is my dog Nemo. Nemo is 10.5 months old and a thriving pup! We rescued him when he was 4 months old from Cyprus thanks to the Wild at Heart Foundation. I need to write a whole post about him and our journey with rescuing a puppy very soon, but first I wanted to touch on a subject that I get asked often : as a vegan is your dog vegan too? can a dog even be vegan!?
Well, the short answer is yes. Yes, they can eat a vegan/plant-based diet.
It was something we thought about before adopting him, and of course despite the fact that we are both vegan, we were ready to feed him an animal based diet if we had to and if it was the best for his health, we wanted to make sure that we made an educated decision.
So, after weeks of research and talking to a few people including our vet, as well as connecting with other owners who fed their dog a plant-based diet I came to the conclusion that yes, Nemo could be vegan. Not only that but he could thrive on a vegan diet, and find a lot of health benefits from it too, such as improved coat condition (so shiny!), allergy control, weight control, increased health and vitality, arthritis regression (in his old age!), diabetes regression, cataract resolution, and decreased incidences of cancer, infections, hypothyroidism and ectoparasites (fleas, ticks, lice and mites)..!
Dogs are not obligate carnivores (unlike cats who are true carnivores) – they are ‘scavengers’, they don’t need meat to survive but instead they need the right combination of amino acids, vitamins and minerals which can easily be achieved on a vegan diet. Over thousands and thousands of years of domestication, dogs have developed an enzyme that enables them to digest and process starch. This enzyme is called amylase.
As it turns out, vets recommend a vegan diet for dogs with food allergies, skin issues, and digestion problems as it is kinder on their system and healing as opposed to full of hormones, creating inflammation and often filled with animal parts unfit for human consumption, often coming from diseased animals, tumors included. The cheaper the food, the worse it gets.
He LOVED his food from day one, and hasn’t turned down a meal once (apart from once when he had an upset stomach as a tiny pup!), he gobbles it up twice a day like it’s the best thing ever!
We’ve been feeding him this Benevo Vegan Puppy Dry Food – we’re thinking of swapping him over to the adult version soon as he’s approaching 1 year old (in May!) mostly because the adult ones come in big 15kg ones which is much better than a lot of small bags.
A few other brands I’ve had my eyes on are v-dog which is an amazing american brand, but recently starting to launch internationally under the name v-planet, excited to find out when they’ll ship to the UK! Some other brands are Veggiedog Grain Free, Royal Canin Vegetarian Dry Dog Food, and Ami vegan Dog Food.
I just liked Benevo because it is UK based and they’ve been around for a while, their ingredients are great , wheat free and non GMO. Ticks a lot of boxes for us at the moment!
Nemo also LOVES their treat section, especially those Pawtato Sticks which he loves to chew on! and we use their Rumble Strips as training treats.
He now eats twice a day, I often soften the kibble with a bit of water, he loves a sprinkle of nutritional yeast on top too, and we sometimes give him extra veggies if we prepare any for ourselves like boiled potatoes, raw carrots, cucumber, red pepper, lettuce (he LOVES lettuce.. don’t ask me why!!) I sometimes add things like flaxseed and hemp hearts or a dollop of peanut butter if he’s been extra good ha! but generally he eats his kibble by itself and loves it!
and if you MUST know his poos are plump and moist (I am SO SORRY for any hater of the word), and he goes at least 3 times a day! which is a sign of great health (as opposed to dogs who I often see constipated, making small and dry poos..)
Someone asked me via DM the other day if we would give Nemo any medicine that was tested on animals if he needed it, and the answer is of course! If Nemo needed anything because he was ill, or anything at all that was a life or death matter of course we will do everything we can to do what’s best for him!
Sadly we live in a world that is heavily influenced by huge corporations, and sadly a lot of things if you trace back to the source are owned by X or Y who aren’t vegan, test on animals or are involved in animal agriculture. It’s just the world we live in, it’s not all black and white, we do our very best every day to our knowledge, and we try and make the best choices for us, our pup, the planet and the animals every day, and sometimes it crosses a grey area, and that’s just the way it is!
On that subject, for example I am not strict with Nemo when it comes to treats other people give him, or buy for him. We personally chose to have a vegan household, we don’t buy any animal products, but if a lovely lady at the park offers him a meat-based treat of course I’m not going to say no! So that’s that, you’ve got to let some things go, and that’s one I choose not to obsess over. 99% of his diet is vegan, and he’s thriving and we’re so happy!
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer.
I’d also like to say that this is a personal choice we have made for ourselves and our pup, I respect any choice you make for you, your family and your puppers!