As a vegan diet is gaining in popularity for humans, those who have chosen a meat-free lifestyle may wish to extend this to their pets. If you are considering having your dog switch to a vegan diet, here are some pros and cons that will help guide your decision.
Advantages of Vegan Dog Food
The main appeal of vegan dog food to most consumers is that no animals had to be killed to make the food. A cruelty-free option, vegan dog food is made completely from plant-based sources. Many owners of dogs who eat vegan food claim that their dogs enjoy eating the vegan food just as much as they liked their meat-filled variety. Some also say that the energy levels of their pets has stayed the same or gotten better. The main concern you should consider with a vegan dog food is to make sure the nutritional needs of the dog are being met. Although vegan dog foods are naturally high in nutrients, finding the right balance of ingredients can be more difficult for vegan dog food manufacturers. As a result vegan dog food companies must conduct a lot of research and testing to make sure their food is up to par.
Disadvantages of Vegan Dog Food
The main point of argument when it comes to vegan dog food is the fact that dogs are naturally carnivorous. Descended from the wolf, domestic dogs have also evolved to consume a diet that has a lot of meat in it. Although wolves get some plant nutrients, they mostly get it from the stomach contents of their prey. Because vegan dog food is completely void of meat, one may naturally wonder how it could fulfill a dog’s nutritional needs. Because a dog is not naturally a herbivore, his body is not designed to easily digest fibrous grains and veggies.
Another concern is the fact that dogs need 22 different amino acids in their diet in order for it to be balanced for them. Their bodies are able to synthesize only 12 of these essential amino acids. Amino acids are found in protein sources such as chicken, beef, lamb, fish and eggs. This is troublesome as none of these foods can be found in vegan dog food. In order for the vegan dog food to be nutritionally complete, synthesized amino acids and fatty acids must be added to the food.
If you feel that vegan dog food is the right choice for your furry friend, here are some brands you should consider:
- Halo Vegan Garden Medley
- Natural Balance Vegetarian Formula
- V-Dog Dry Kibble
- Nature’s Recipe Healthy Skin Vegetarian Formula
- Wysong Vegan Holistic Dog Food
Although it is your decision what to feed your dog, it wouldn’t hurt to get a second opinion from your veterinarian, to make sure your dog’s nutrition is not compromised.