Vegan, Vegetarian or Meat

I have a completely open mind when it comes to vegan, vegetarian dog food. I’m not seeing dogs falling over in the street because they are on these diets. I know they don’t tend to score very well on the dog food sites but what is the true reality of vegan, vegetarian dogs, are they just as fit and healthy as any other dogs or perhaps even more so. We’ve seen on the forum how dietary intolerance can be a problem and the stress and worry it can cause the owner, not least the dog. So if a follower of the forum has made a change to vegan, vegetarian dog food or for whatever reason perhaps they would like to drop in and tell us about their experience. I suspect not many people who use vegan, vegetarian diets use the forum which is a pity as the more we talk the more we learn

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An interesting topic Seaweed, I saw a bit about feeding dogs a vegetarian diet on a TV programme once. Although I wasn’t convinced, I certainly didn’t feel as negative about it as I had before seeing what the dogs were eating,

Since having a dog, I have been feeling less and less like eating meat myself. We have been trying some veggie recipes and having one a week at the moment. Some have left us feeling like we need something more, other have left us satisfied so more trial and error. I can’t see me opting to go that down that route with the dog though.However I would be interested to hear peoples experiences.

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In 1994 PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) conducted a vegan, vegetarian Dog Health Survey of 300 dogs over a 12 month period. It was a survey of vegan, vegetarian dogs only and did not have a control group of dogs on a meat based diet. Although this survey is some years old, it still makes very interesting reading and does give an insight into this type of diet. Dog food manufacturing does not stand still and I’m sure many will have taken on board the conclusions of this survey.
The following link opens in pdf.

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Allegedly PETA have in the past made some controversial statements, however, I am not disputing all the content of the study.

We have a vegetarian in the household & although I eat meat I have reduced my intake of red meat significantly.

The alleged moral and health benefits for humans eating vegetarian are fairly well documented.

It will be interesting to see if a significant manufactured dog food develops (said the poster currently feeding an 80/20 product).

In 2009 The British Journal of Nutrition published a research paper by Dr Wendy Brown and her team" An experimental meat-free diet maintained haematological characteristics in sprint-racing sled dogs". This is where twelve pure bred Siberian Huskies were fed either a meat based diet or a meat free diet, the whole experiment lasted 16 weeks. The Huskies were competitively raced over 10 weeks. If anyone is interested in reading the full paper click on the red PDF at this link.
The Armidale also ran an article

I myself am a vegetarian and look at it this way. If I wasn’t able to feed myself and my dog could make the choice as to the type of food I’m fed, I wouldn’t be very pleased if she chose to fed me meat. Before choosing to feed a dog a totally vegetarian diet, I think extensive testing should be done where the dog is given a choice of either a veggie meal or a bowl of regular food. I’m guessing that when given the choice, they would pick meat every time. If you decide to feed your dog a vegan or vegetarian diet because of your own ethics, then I don’t believe you should force something upon them which is unnatural. If you can’t stand preparing raw or feeding tinned foods then kibble is available and I would like to hope that’s acceptable by any veggie or vegan owner. I wouldn’t dream of forcing a veggie diet on my dog, and have in the past chopped up raw liver and chicken for her. I didn’t find it pleasant doing so, but will do it for the overall health and benefit of my dog. It would be interesting to see a study done on veggie fed dogs over their complete lifetime to see if there are any health drawbacks or whether it decreases their longevity.

Silverb19 thanks for posting. I myself feed a complete raw diet and it’s something that suits my dogs. I understand and respect your views and it is shared by many. I myself don’t see feeding a vegan, vegetarian diet as the norm, a problem ( I know many will disagree) providing like any other diet it is done with care and understanding. It is the total health of the individual dog that counts and if a vegan, vegetarian diet can give a dog a long and healthy live that’s fine by me. Interestingly “Bramble” the blue merle Border Collie bitch who lived to 27 years old is often brought to the front by vegan, vegetarians in defence of this type of diet. Bramble was a rescue dog in the care of a lady called Anne Heritage. Of course dogs on a meat based diet have also lived a very long life.
When I see dogs on meat based diets and see so many suffering with allergies and anal gland problems both so difficult to deal with and with dogs going to the vets monthly to have their glands expressed which goes on year after year I do wonder rather than struggle on and on with a meat based diet, they wouldn’t be better off on a vegan, vegetarian diet or at least give it a fair trial. Yes, I also would like to see a long term study done perhaps someday it will happen. I can see vegan, vegetarian diets for dogs becoming more popular through customer demand as time goes on, as people move away or cut right down on meat in their own lives. Looking around at the vegan, vegetarian dog food shop front, there appears to me, to be still a gap in the market for more premium British made vegan, vegetarian dog food ranges. As for the omnivores or carnivores debate in which one could drive oneself barmy trying to get to the bottom of, for me in two sentences Dr Sarah Ritzie (Royal Canin) sums it up very well. The reason… The vegan, vegetarian vs meat diet is certainly a subject of great debate.

Well Seaweed, I didn’t think it would happen but I shall now keep an open mind about the idea of feeding Vegan or Vegerarian diets to dogs. I know from personal experience that it’s possible to get everything you need nutritionally from them, so why not dogs? If they enjoy what they are being given, and provided it’s nutritionally balanced, then I suppose that’s all that matters. Unless it it scientifically proven by a long time study, who’s to say it’s bad for them?

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My personal view is that i always feed a meat based diet to my dogs.

However, i do think dogs have evolved as scavengers that live alongside humans - i believe they are far better at breaking down
carbs than wolves are and can utilize good quality protein sources meat or not.

I dont personally buy into the ‘dogs are wolves’ argument, humans are 99% genetically similar to chimps, but our diets are very different.

Having said that, my dog enjoying their food is a major factor for me- and i THINK my dog prefers to eat meat.


Veganism For Carnivores by Rodney Habib.

It is my personal opinion that dogs should not be vegan or vegetarian. Whilst I don’t dispute that manufacturers can create a vegetarian food that provides everything a dog needs, I don’t believe it can ever be optimum, and definitely not for cats. Ultimately, it is unnatural.

'PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) claims the nutritional needs of dogs and cats can be met with a balanced vegan diet.

All of my nutritional study has taught that cats are obligate carnivores and must eat meat to survive. Taurine is an essential nutrient for cats as they cannot produce their own - it cannot be sourced from plant based foods and would have to be supplemented synthetically. Personally, I completely disagree with the statement that cats can be vegetarian or vegan.

This is a very interesting topic and one which I shall research further. If any one else has links to scientific papers comparing meat and plant based diets, and long term effects of high carb diets in dogs please share! Thanks for starting.

Indogo, a Canine Based Plant Nutrition Company based in Vancouver appears to be presently running feeding trials, they are hopefully going to make the results made public this year. This is an interesting company and in my opinion it’s worth spending a little time going over their website.

Lily’s Kitchen are to launch a Vegetarian wet dog food “Wholesome Veggie Feast”. It will be very interesting to read the reviews over the coming months especially the dogs who have allergies to meat.


Lily’s Kitchen " Wholesome Veggie Feast" is now available.
Carrots, Cottage Cheese, Parsnips, Dried Egg, Pumpkin, Broccoli, Amaranth Flakes, Linseed Oil, Oat Flakes, Apples, Beans, Chickpeas, Yeast, Vitamins & Chelated Minerals, Lentils.
Crude Protein 6%, Crude Fats & Oils 6.1%, Crush Ash 1.4%, Crude Fibres 0.4%, Moisture 73%.
Nutritional Additives (per kg), Vitamin D 600IU
Trace Elements (per kg) Zinc Chelate of Amino Acids Hydrate 1,500 mg, Cupric Chelate of Amino Acids Hydrate 150 mg, Iodine as Calcium Iodate 25 mcg, L-Carnitine 20 mcg
Natural Thickener (per kg) Locust Bean Gum 1g

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i think that food with meat is the best choice for dog

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An update to the Vancouver based Dogg Canine Nutrition Company (previously known as INDOGO) feeding trial. The results of an informal 12 week plant based feeding trial is now in. They are to release a formal announcement along with a summary and clinical abstract in the coming weeks. Here is a statement from the Supervising Veterinarian at Yaletown Pet Hospital.!DOGGs-Canine-PlantBased-Diet-Feeding-Trial-Results-are-IN/c1eqn/57a3c4820cf2a7b92a32a1d0

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That all sounds quite positive. Good news for anyone thinking about a meat free diet.


Dog food studies seem to be few and far between however recently a dog food study, Vegetarian versus Meat-Based Diets for Companion Animals was published.


Tara’s vegan story has made some of the daily nationals but I believe this was the original article. Looks like a tray of Benevo Grain-Free Vegetable Feast with Mixed Herbs next to the Yarrah Dry Dog Food. Benevo is not rated in the food directory at present but the ingredients for this particular product is
Composition: Lentils (10.0%), Potato (5.5%), Chick Peas (5.5%), Peas (4%), Carrots (4%), Sunflower Oil (4%), Linseed Oil (1%), Tomato (1%), Sunchoke (0.5%) Mixed Herbs (0.5% Rosemary, Parsley, Oregano, Marjoram & Mint), Seaweed (0.25%), Minerals
Analytical Constituents:
Moisture 70%, Protein 6%, Fat Content 5%, Fibre 0.5%, Ash 2%

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Meg thanks for posting. I hadn’t read that article before. Indogo mentioned in the article is now the Dogg Canine Nutrition Company.