Vegan Dogs

Dogs are omnivorous and need the correct nutrients. These can be provided by a vegan diet as long as you ensure all their nutritional needs are met. 

If one spends a while researching a vegan diet for dogs then you will realise that a sensible vegan diet can be healthy, healthier even, than the processed convenience food meat rubbishmany dogs are subjected to. A recent study in America estimates that 60% of domesticated dogs will get cancer in their lifetimes. Giving them "greens" three times a week reduces this risk by about 90%. It is virtually essential to incorporate fresh food into their diet.

The Vegan Society, PeTa, and Viva all have advice about vegan pets. A PeTa vegan dog food recipe.

There are several vegan dog facebook groups including "vegan dogs thriving", "vegan dog nutrition UK" and many other vegan dog sites with info like

Two really useful resources are The Veterinary Vegan Network and (the latter is an especially well-designed website).
One of the best vegan websites is Gentle World which has plenty of useful info about good nutrition for healthy vegan dogs

Marcia Katz, a vegan of over 40 years, has had healthy vegan dogs throughout her duration as a vegan. Here is her recipe for vegan dogs and her experience with these dogs.

The informative Dog Aware website has an excellent section on diet - it includes info about raw and fresh food. It explains quantities and what to avoid and so on!

Here is a video from Vegusto 's YouTube channel, showing a vet's take on vegan dogs and cats based on the peer-reviewed reports. "The health benefits of cats and dogs being on vegan diets."

"Mic the Vegan" is one of the more articulate of the YouTube vegan publicists.
His articles/topics are well researched and logical.
"Are Pets Vegan? Dog-matic Vegans Say No | +What Pets Can You Feed Vegan?!)"

Emily (Bite Size Vegan) has made nine well researched 5-minute videos about Pets & Veganism  One of those videos specifically deals with what she feeds her rescued bulldog, Ooby, who had a plethora of problems, typical of the breed.

Cutting a dogs carbon footprint article from the Irish Times.

Here's a video by someone who has switched their dog's diet to vegan. The transition to a vegan diet also seems to have cured the dog's lifelong incontinence problem!

Vegepets Website has a lot of info about diet amongst other topics.

Of course, your dog doesn't know they are vegan! They will probably eat that half-eaten chunk of cow burger that someone discarded on their way home from the pub the night before (if they see it before you steer them away from it). My dog tends to draw the line at eating from carcasses/raw/dead animals which is interesting!

This Guardian article from 2010 discusses the ethics of veggie pets. It exposes some of the myths about vegetarian cats.  The PDF link is broken but the Wakefield article is shown here


A well-researched article about pet food by Gina Shaw.
What About Our Pets? by Dr Gina Shaw

The Daily Treat points out the things that dogs should never eat. 

I'm lucky my dog will eat most things; she didn't like Organic Benovo at first but now prefers it to V-Dog Nuggets and V-Dog Flakes  I get the Organic Benovo from Veggie Pets and the V-Dog from Essential Trading. These are all 15kilo bags. I mix all three brands in an 84 litre Really Useful Box which is good enough to keep out any mice! As they are dried goods I don't think the container needs to be food grade plastic. I would not limit a dog to these commercial packet foods though. They are mixed with other things; I tend to make a batch of food similar to this video recipe of a vegan dog food "stew".

Dogs can enjoy/eat fruits (bananas, apples, dates, pears, (water)melon including skin); raw/blended or cooked vegetables (sweet potato, carrot, beetroot, cucumber, cooked cabbage), occasional rice, quinoa, seeds (soaked and sprouted sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are anti-parasitic, soaked and sprouted lentils and mung beans, chickpeas, sesame seeds, buckwheat seeds), herbs (oregano is said to be especially good for dogs) wheat/barley grass powders, spirulina, turmeric with black pepper, aloe vera juice, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, kelp/seaweed powder, pea and hemp and corn protein powder. A blended mix of sweetcorn and soya beans is a perfect protein mix for dogs. Hemp and coconut oil (they need oils/fats). Apple Cider Vinegar helps with digestive disorders (as it does with humans).

My dog will get treats like Yarrah biscuits and Healthy Paws Fruit Cookies. A Kong stuffed with food and then frozen can keep a dog happily engaged for ages!  Liquorice root and sugar cane sticks are good for the teeth as are vegan chews which are sometimes shaped like crocodiles and toothbrushes!
Since being vegan my dog's breath hasn't smelt so bad and her coat is much more healthy and shiny. Occasionally her breath does smell, usually, after she's spotted (and eaten) some discarded junk food before I do - one day she found a whole Scotch Egg! Some chopped parsley in her food soon helps get rid of doggy B.O.

Anne Heritage's list of ingredients for nutritional requirements is:

Here is a recipe, the base of which is the same but veg can be changed daily and mixed to provide full range of vitamins needed daily, which are:
Calcium, Choline, Chlorine, copper, Folic acid, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, Phosphorous, Potassium, Riboflavin, Selenium, Sodium, Thiamine, Vit b6, vit k, Zinc. All the B vitamins including 12.

So, this recipe is for a medium sized dog, up or downscale for bigger or smaller Dogs;

One cup of Long grain, organic Brown Rice,

Half cup red split lentils/

Either half cup of TVP, or a half cup of Tofu or Quinoa.

Half teaspoon of yeast extract.

Half teaspoon Turmeric,

Half teaspoon dried mint (mixed herbs and oregano are also good for dogs).

Put all ingredients in a big pan, and add one mug of the following veg.
(use veg from all the groups in food daily).

The following veg are examples of what nutrients are in what veg...

For Thiamine you need some of following; Broccoli/Green Beans/Carrots/Beet greens/Green peas.

For Calcium you need Dandelion greens/Kale/Turnips/Swede/Butternut squash/Swiss chard/Collard greens/ Fennel/Turnip greens/Celeriac/Kelp/Cabbage/Brussell sprouts.

For Choline you need Broccoli/Brussel sprouts/Green peas.

For Copper, you need Dried beans [pre-cooked] /Pumpkin/Squash/Sunflower seeds.

For Folic acid, you need Peas/Beans/ Asparagus.

For Iodine you need Navy beans[cooked prior]/Sea veg/ Cranberries.

For Iron, you need Podded Peas/White button Mushrooms/Acorn Squash/Green beans/Blueberries/Blackberries.

For Magnesium, you need cooked Pinto beans/Artichoke hearts/Butternut Squash/Black beans[cooked] Red Kidney beans [cooked]/Soya bean [cooked]/Lentils/Chick peas.

For Manganese you need pumpkin seeds [ground]/Sunflower seeds [ground]/Chia/Sesame seeds [ground]/Black eyed Beans [cooked]/Tofu.

For Niacin you need Sweet potatoes/ Butternut Squash/ Peas/Winter Squash.

For Pantothenic acid you need Broccoli/Mushrooms/ Sunflower seeds [ground] Cauliflower.

For Phosphorous you need Carrots/Artichokes/Broccoli/ Brussel Sprouts/Peas.

For Potassium you need Beet greens/ Yams/ Lima Beans [cooked]/Fennel/Swiss Chard.

For Riboflavin you need Mushrooms/Sesame seeds [ground].

For Selenium you need Pinto beans[cooked]//Lima beans [cooked]/Chia seeds [pre soaked ]/Broccoli/ Cabbage/White button mushrooms.

For Sodium you need Broccoli/Carrot/Sweet potatoes.

For vit B6 Apples/Artichoke/French beans/Broccoli/Cauliflower.

For B12 yeast extract [already mentioned above].

For vitamin K Brussel sprouts/Kale/Cabbage/Broccoli.

For Zinc you need Sesame seeds [ground]/Squash/Chick peas/Pumpkin seeds [ground]/Soya beans [cooked]/Lima beans [cooked]Asparagus.

Add Oil via Chia seeds, soaked for ten minutes before adding to cooked food./sesame/sunflower etc [ground ].

If you put a mix of this veg and legumes in with basic recipe daily, i.e. some veg from each group this should cover nutrients necessary. Use organic veg where posssible, or you will be feeding loads of toxins like herbicides and pesticides. All ingredients go in big pan. Cover with plenty of water, bring to boil and simmer for one hour. Add oily seeds after food has been drained and cooled down. 

Gina runs an animal rescue. facebook page 

We are seeing disease conditions in animals that we did not see years ago. Many of these may be traced to nutrition as the source..." Don E. Lundholm, DVM

Dr. Kollath, of the Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm, headed a study done on animals. When young animals were fed cooked and processed foods they initially appeared to be healthy. However, as the animals reached adulthood, they began to age more quickly than normal and also developed chronic degenerative disease symptoms. A control group of animals raised on raw foods aged less quickly and were free of degenerative disease. In nature, we see another example of wild animals eating entirely enzyme-rich raw foods being free of the degenerative diseases that afflict humans.

It may be that, as you've started to incorporate more raw foods into your own diet, you are thinking of changing your best friend's diet too; your cat or your dog. It is a natural move, as you evolve in your own perspective regarding health and well-being. Your companion animal will inevitably prosper at your decision. However, if you are undecided in any way, let me offer you some information which may push you in the right direction! Please understand that I am a professional as far as human nutrition is concerned, but not animal nutrition, so please do not think of me as such. I am merely recanting from my own experience and research, and hope that this information will be helpful to some of you.

A few years ago, I read a book which contained information about what's contained in pet foods and it changed my cat's life, for the better! I was horrified to find that not only were the '4 D's' contained in commercial pet foods - diseased, dying, disabled and dead animals, but also a whole range of ghastly other ingredients. Okay, if you insist, I'll let you in on it too! What's in pet food? Well, in summary, there may be road kill (animals killed on the road), spoiled or mouldy grains, cancerous material cut from slaughterhouse animals, tissue high in hormone or pesticide residues, and even shredded styrofoam packaging, metal ID tags and minced flea collars. Animal parts sent to rendering plants to be included in commercial pet foods include cancerous tissues, worm-infested organs, contaminated blood and blood clots. Compounding these toxins, slaughterhouses add carbolic acid and fuel oil to these remnants as a way of marking these foods as unfit for human consumption. Slaughterhouses aren't the only source for animals that end up rendered. As mentioned, animals classified as "4-D" (dead, diseased, dying and disabled) that is, 'too unhealthy for human consumption' are rendered. These include animals with residues of antibiotics, such as chloramphenical and sulfamethazine, that are commonly used in meat production.

Road-kill animals and some deceased zoo animals are also sent to rendering plants. A report in the San Francisco Chronicle on 19th February 1990 presented evidence that dead pets from animal clinics and shelters are carted away to be rendered - with their name tags and flea collars intact. Other items tossed into the rendering "soup pot" are rancid grease from restaurants and supermarket meats that are no longer fresh (including their styrofoam and shrinkwrap packaging). All of this material is slowly ground up at the rendering plant, then chipped or shredded, and cooked for up to an hour at 220 degrees F to 270 degrees F. The fat or tallow separates during the cooking and is removed. What's left over is then pressed to remove all moisture and crushed into what is misleadingly called "bone meal" or "meat meal.". Also, wait for it, there is dried pig and poultry excrement....

As mentioned, there may also be grain that is too mouldy for humans to eat, and so it is incorporated into pet food. Mycotoxins, potentially deadly fungal toxins that multiply in mouldy grains, have been found in pet foods in recent years. In 1995, Nature's Recipe recalled tons of their dog food after dogs became ill from eating it. The food was found to contain vomitoxin, a mycotoxin. Harmful chemicals and preservatives are added to both wet and dry food. For example, sodium nitrite, a colouring agent and preservative and potential carcinogen, is a common additive. Other preservatives include ethoxyquin (an insecticide that has been linked to liver cancer) and BHA and BHT, chemicals also suspected of causing cancer. The average dog can consume as much as 26 pounds of preservatives every year from eating commercial dog foods.

The manufacturing process will, of course, destroy most of whatever minimal nutritional content remained from the dubious list of ingredients. "Processing is the wild card in nutritional value that is, by the large, simply ignored," states R. L. Wysong, DVM, a veterinarian who founded Wysong Corporation to produce healthful pet foods. Proteins, enzymes, vitamins and minerals and fatty acids present in the foods can all be altered or destroyed by the manufacturing process, leading to nutritional deficiencies in the pets eating these foods. No consumer agencies are looking out for your pet's health interests. The pet food industry is virtually unregulated regarding food composition. In fact, information about the poisons in pet foods is not easily obtained; hence its shock-value when it's finally revealed to the unsuspecting public.

The problem is that only the label, not the content, of pet foods, is regulated. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) in the U.S., a group of federal and state bureaucrats, define the ingredients listed on the labels of pet foods, but they do no testing on the foods themselves and have no enforcement authority. So don't expect their semantics to keep your pet healthy.

Recent studies have shown processed foods to be a factor in increasing numbers of pets suffering from cancer, arthritis, obesity, dental disease and heart disease, comments Dr Wysong. Dull or unhealthy coats are a common problem with cats and dogs and poor diet is usually the cause, according to many veterinarians and breeders. The AAFCO nutrient profiles may play a role here, in the "balanced" nutritional levels they recommend may be inadequate for an individual animal.

It is estimated that up to two million companion animals suffer from food allergies. Dr Plechner believes that the commercial pet foods are a primary cause and can contribute to a host of health problems. "Among pets, there is a widespread intolerance of commercial foods," he states. "This rejection can show up either as violent sickness or chronic health problems. It often triggers a hypersensitivity and overreaction to flea and insect bites, pollens, soaps, sprays and environmental contaminants."

Feline urological syndrome, a chronic condition similar to cystitis in humans (characterized by frequent urination with blood in the urine), is an increasingly common and potentially fatal illness in cats. It has been linked to elevated levels of ash and phosphorus, two substances commonly found in commercial pet foods. High iodine levels are seen as a contributing factor for thyroid tumours in cats. "New diseases are being discovered that are linked to '100% complete' diets," states Dr Wysong. These include "polymyopathy (a muscle disorder) from low potassium levels, dilated cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disorder) from low taurine levels, arthritic and skin diseases from acid/base and zinc malnutrition and chronic eczema from essential fatty acid malnutrition," he reports. Given the high possibility that your favourite pet foods may be slowly poisoning your cat or dog, it's crucial that you find brands you can trust to be animal-friendly.

So it may be that 'your favourite pet foods' may be slowly poisoning your cat or dog. You already know that cats and dogs in the wild don't eat cooked or processed foods, so it should not be a surprise that domesticated animals fed these products are less than healthy. If you do decide to feed your cat or dog raw food it is important to take into account its biological nature. For a cat, of course, they are carnivorous animals. Dogs are more omnivorous but still need some meat or animal products in their diet Raw meat (organic) can supply part of your companion animals diet, but never forget that an important part has to be bones (raw and from uncontaminated animals), organ meat, and vegetables. The vegetable component can be a mixture of carrots, sweet potatoes, cabbage, squash, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips and kale, whichever they will eat (small portions at a time with meat would be recommended with cats in particular). It is important to remember that in the wild they eat the whole carcass, which means that they should be eating the bones, cartilage, organs, etc. This provides them with complete protein It is worthwhile purchasing a mincer to mince bones and other tissues if your cat is used to eating 'mush' and has either tooth problems or lazyitis!

Due to the atrocities of factory farming, the salmonella and BSE risks, not to mention F&M, etc. It is difficult to know what to feed our pets these days. This is why I choose organic meat and vegetables to feed my pet. Many people opt to feed their pet cats raw fish instead, but there are some problems with this too. I did a little research about taurine, having been misinformed by a vet that it does not contain taurine, and discovered that fish provides the richest source of taurine available! However, there are a number of points to consider when feeding cats raw fish. Fish contains sea salt, which is as poisonous as artificial salt (sodium chloride). If you are able to, and still want to feed your cat raw fish, try to seek out a reliable source of fresh-water fish (it's difficult and fraught with misleading comments). I believe Talapia fish are from the fresh waters of Asian countries (not salted sea water).

Although raw fish is very rich in taurine and protein (but not a complete food) some types of fish seem to contribute to a vitamin B1 (thiamin) deficiency. They contain an enzyme, called thiaminase, which destroys thiamin according to 'Canine and Feline Nutrition'. Consumption of these types of fish has been shown to cause thiamin deficiency in a variety of species. Experimental studies with cats have produced signs of thiamin deficiency within 23 to 40 days of consuming diets composed solely of raw carp or raw salt-water herring. Although both carp and herring can cause thiamin deficiency perch, catfish and butterfish do not show thiaminase activity. Other common types of fish that contain thiaminase include whitefish, pike, cod, goldfish, mullet, shark, and flounder. However, it is not known whether the thiaminase levels present in these fish are sufficient to produce a deficiency in animals. Thiaminase is a heat-labile enzyme and is denatured by normal cooking temperatures. As a result, the potential for thiamin deficiency exists only when uncooked fish is fed. Although it is worth considering the fact that the cats under experimental conditions might have been stressed and therefore B vitamins may be robbed from them, and that these studies might not be conclusive after all. Apparently, cats are more susceptible to this deficiency because of their high requirement for this vitamin in their diet. Because thiamin is essential for normal carbohydrate metabolism, the central nervous system is severely affected by a deficiency of this vitamin. Initial signs include anorexia, weight loss, and depression. As the deficiency progresses, neurological signs of ataxia, paresis and eventually convulsive seizures are present. The terminal stage is characterised by severe weakness and prostration and eventually leads to death.

Conventional veterinary textbooks advise that treatment includes removing raw fish from the diet, replacing it with a 'well-balanced commercial pet food' and thiamin therapy. I would not recommend giving a cat conventional cat food (though I am not a vet you understand) as it will inevitably all the ghastly horrors mentioned, and would be very low in nutrient value. Remember: If it is unfit for human consumption, it is also unfit for animal consumption! I also advocate leaving cats to catch their own as much as possible as this is fresher and therefore more nutritious, and less prone to contaminants.
Although fish is a high protein food, it does not supply complete nutrition. In general, most types of deboned fish are deficient in calcium, sodium, iron, copper and several vitamins. Some types of fish may easily lodge in a pet's throat or gastrointestinal tract and cause perforation or obstruction. Tuna is a type of fish that is commonly fed to cats because it is readily available and inexpensive. Canned tuna packed in oil contains high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids. The excessive intake of these oils can result in a vitamin E deficiency as a result of their high polyunsaturated fat and low vitamin E content. In the cat, this eventually manifests as a condition called pansteatitis or yellow fat disease. Signs of pansteatitis include decreased appetite, lethargy, elevated temperature and tenderness and pain in the chest and abdomen. Feeding cats raw fish also carries the potential for parasite transmission (presumably frozen fish does not contain this risk as tapeworm would be destroyed). They recommend feeding cats cooked fish(!) and in very small amounts.

I hope that this information has given some people, who are lucky enough to have companion animals, some food for thought. Although many vegans have an aversion to touching animal flesh and it's products, it is nevertheless imperative, I feel, that if you have decided to responsibly take care of another animal's dietary intake, and they are carnivorous animals, that you think and research for yourself and act upon your own conclusions as to what is right for them. If you want to feed your companion animal a vegetarian diet, get a rabbit instead!

'Feline and Canine Nutrition' (link to the book on Amazon)
Shirley's Wellness Cafe web site

An interesting link about dog vision: