Vegan Dog Food

Vegan dog food is a controversial matter; some people say dogs need meat (and dairy products), while others opine that dogs can do well on a diet that lacks meat. The diet of the dog requires a few essential nutrients; if these are provided, the dog will be healthy, regardless if he eats meat or not. If you would like to consider a vegan diet for your pet, you should get informed on a few vegan diet essentials.

Essential Nutrients

A vegan diet will be made up mostly of vegetables and fruits and the dog will not get any meats or dairy products. The vegetables and fruits contain a lot of nutrients, but there are a few nutrients that are only present in meat products.

These nutrients include:

  • Taurine (essential for growing puppies)
  • Arginine
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B group (especially cobalamin and niacin)

These nutrients are essential for the health of every dog and should be administered to the dog on a daily basis. If you remove meats from the dog’s diet, you should get these ingredients (they can be produced synthetically). Even if the long term effect of synthetic essential nutrients in canines hasn’t been studied enough, it seems that dogs do well on a diet that is based on plant sources mixed with synthetically produced taurine, arginine and vitamin A and B.

The Pros and Cons of a Vegan Diet

Studies to prove that a vegan diet is healthy or not for canines haven’t been carried out; however, there is a fervent debate on whether dogs can live well on a vegan diet. On one hand, people say that dogs need to eat meat and not only some synthetic materials. On the other hand, there are cases of dogs that live a healthy life on plant products only.

A vegan diet may have a number of health benefits including:  

  • Prevention of cancer
  • Easier digestion, as the vegetables and fruits contain a lot of fibers
  • Strong immunity, due to the numerous vitamins and minerals that are present in plants

The disadvantages of a vegan diet include a few health problems that are more frequently met in dogs that eat plant products only:  

  • Urinary or bladder infections, as the urine is less acidic
  • Bladder and kidney stones, also due to the fact that the urine is more alkaline
  • Lethargic behavior, as the plant products may not provide all the energy the dog needs
  • Muscle spasm and muscle problems

Points to Remember

If you would like to feed a vegan diet to your pet you should bear in mind a few essentials. Ideally, the vegan diet should be introduced only after the dog is fully developed. Otherwise, the diet may influence the normal growth of the bones and muscles. You should carefully select the foods your pet eats; he needs the essential nutrients that are otherwise provided by meat. You should consult your vet to have a list of all the nutrients needed by your dog and the major sources of these nutrients. Don’t forget to get some supplements as well.