The Best Vegan Dog Food You Can Buy + The Best Ingredients, Ingredients to Avoid, and Buying Tips
Welcome to one of the most controversial topics in veganism. Can your dog be vegan?
The short answer is yes. But, it is highly advised that before you start your dog on its vegan journey that you seek professional advice from your vet or a pet nutritionist. They can help you understand your dog’s diet in more detail and discuss the associated risks.
If you’re content with feeding your dog a vegan diet, there are plenty of great vegan dog foods to choose from. This article will help you understand a little better about the vegan dog diet and also give you the best vegan dog foods out there for you to buy.
The aim should always be to do what is best for your dog. I highly recommended investing in high-quality dog food, even if it means spending a little more.
The Best Dog Food You Can Buy
Each Garden of Vegan dog food product is specially formulated to provide your dog with all the nutrition they need to be happy and healthy. The brand is one of the most trusted vegan dog companies out there and is a firm favorite among vegan dog owners.
The formula is established by The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and made in the USA. This should give you some confidence that your dog is getting all the right nutrients throughout the day.
You won’t find any meat, dairy, corn, or wheat in this product. All ingredients are non-GMO and free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. The product uses peas, chickpeas, pearled barley, oat groats, and pea protein powder as the base ingredients making it protein-rich.
The main ingredients of Natural Balance include rice, oats, barley, and peas. It is a wholesome and protein-rich formula specially formulated to give your dog everything she needs.
Natural Balance is a wet food suitable for all breeds and sizes of dogs. There is no soy, no corn, and no wheat in the ingredient list. The tin even tells you how much to feed your dog, depending on the dog’s size and age.
The formula has been established by the AAFCO to give you peace of mind.
Royal Canin is another highly nutritious dry food with a formula using soy protein isolate, rice, rice flour, and vegetable oil. It is specially made to include all the essential nutrients your dog needs to thrive.
Dogs really enjoy the taste of Royal Canin foods, and many customers report it is the best choice for any fussy eaters. Depending on where you live, you may need a prescription to buy this product to treat dogs with allergy issues.
V-dog is one of the most popular and reputable dog food brands out there. Customers love this product, reporting that their dog has noticeable health benefits within weeks of feeding.
It is nutritionally complete and excludes any nasty ingredients that you want to avoid. It also meets the strict standards of the AAFCO and is highly recommended.
V-dog Vegan Kibble is one of the more expensive products on this list, but it is worth spending a little extra if you want a healthy and happy dog.
Made using rice, barley, and peas, AvoDerm is an excellent choice for anyone looking for the top-quality vegan wet dog food from a reputable brand. AvoDerm is a lesser-known brand, but don’t let that put you off.
There is no corn, wheat, or soy included. Reviews for this product are very positive, and it’s one of the most reasonably priced vegan dog foods on this list.
The formula uses all-natural ingredients, no by-products meals, no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
Evolution ranks high on the doggy taste test. If you check out the reviews, you will find tons of positive comments about dogs lapping up this highly nutritious dry food.
Evolution also comes in big 40lb bags for a reasonable price. The dry food comes with all the nutrients needed for a happy and healthy dog. Some people report needing to add moisture to it (veggie broth).
Some dog owners have been using this vegan dog food for over ten years and are incredibly loyal to the brand. That’s always a good sign.
Wild Earth is the only vegan dry dog food that uses fungi as its main ingredient. This is a super clean and healthy dry food that is trusted by thousands of vegan dog owners.
It contains an impressive amount of protein that is sourced from yeast. The protein profile is 31%, making it similar to that of its meat-based rivals.
The ingredients also include oats, sweet potatoes, and chickpeas with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
Soybean meal is the main ingredient here, giving it a rich-protein profile. You hate the idea of feeding soy to your dog, then you might want to choose another product above.
This product is also rich in omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, zinc, and linoleic acid, and uses no corn- or wheat-derived ingredients. If you’re on a budget but still want quality ingredients, Nature’s Recipe is the best choice for you and your dog.
What To Look Out For When Buying Vegan Dog Food?
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Not all vegan dog foods are nutritionally sufficient. The list above includes the very best vegan dog food, but there are some pretty lousy vegan dog foods out there too.
The common nutrients that these dog foods are lacking are protein, potassium, Vitamin B12, and sodium. It’s always worth checking each vegan dog food’s nutritional profile to ensure it contains their RDI of each or at least offers a healthy dose of each.
A recent study discovered that almost 25% of vegetarian dog foods did meet the minimum requirement for essential amino acids. It’s also worth noting that nearly 15% of regular dog food (including meat) again didn’t meet the requirements.
Pet foods are some of the most inferior quality food products on the planet. You must ensure the dog is getting quality nutrition. This often means spending a little extra money. But, your dog is undoubtedly worth it, right?
As a rule of thumb, when buying vegan dog food, do not jump to the cheapest one you can find. It will likely be nutritionally incomplete and not sufficient for a healthy and happy dog.
Stick to the best and most trusted brands (as listed in this article). This way, you can be sure you’re giving your dog the nutrition he needs. If you have limited access to quality dog foods or simply can’t afford the best brands, it’s essential to give your dog a mix of both wet and dry food to help cover any nutrition shortfalls.
Alternatively, if you’re really struggling to get hold of quality vegan dog food, you should consider buying them regular dog food (meat). The best quality of regular dog food is often cheaper than vegan dog foods.[/su_spoiler]
8 Ingredients You Should Avoid When Buying Vegan Dog Food
Here are 8 ingredients you should avoid feeding to your dog:
- Corn – the low nutritional value and common allergen.
- Wheat – contains gluten, which is not suitable for dogs.
- Fillers – no nutritional value, including rice bran, corn bran, soybean hulls, wheat mill run, modified cornstarch, oat hulls, etc.
- Coloring agents – pointless in dog food, and they offer no nutritional value.
- Artificial flavorings – pointless for dogs and again, no nutritional value.
- Artificial preservatives – often include dangerous chemicals such as BHA and BHT (known carcinogens)
- Sweeteners – no nutritional value, includes corn syrup, fructose, and sugar, leading to odd behavior in dogs.
These are just some of the sketchy ingredients used by low-quality dog food brands. If the ingredient list is full of chemical-sounding names and things like “Red 40”, avoid it. More often than not, it is a low-quality ingredient that plays no role in your dog’s health.
I also want to quickly mention soy. You will notice that some vegan dog foods include soybean meal as its main ingredient for high-protein. Soy is inflammatory, but it affects dogs (and people) in different ways.
You decide to buy vegan dog food that includes soy, then monitors their health closely. Inflammatory symptoms include itching, digestive issues, and runny stool. However, most dogs are just fine eating soy.
Benefits Of A Vegan Diet For Dogs
We all know that following a vegan or plant-based diet has tremendous health benefits for humans. But what about our dogs?
The most common allergies found in regular dog food include chicken, beef, dairy, and egg. Which is madness because they’re often the main ingredients and source of nutrition.
This may surprise dog owners everywhere, but most dogs are allergic to animal proteins. You may be thinking, “No way! Dogs eat animals in the wild. How can this be?”
Well, if we look at wild dogs and the diet they evolved on, it did not include cows, chickens, lambs, dairy, or eggs. Wild dogs mostly eat small rodents like mice, voles, rabbits, and birds.
Dogs did not evolve eating lots of muscle meat from large land animals like they do today. Feeding your dog, these types of animal proteins can actually lead to a myriad of health issues, including:
- Dry and itchy skin
- Loose stool
- Constipation, gas, and vomiting
- Eye discharge
- Yeast infections
- Fur loss
All the animal proteins we usually feed to dogs can cause health issues over time. Providing your dog with high-quality vegan dog food removes allergens from their diet. Creating a happier and healthier dog.
Many dog owners who feed their dogs a vegan diet commonly report that their digestion has improved. Usually, this is because their stools have become healthier.
Meat-based dog foods are often acidifying and inflammatory, causing digestive discomfort. Feeding your dog a healthy vegan diet can help to improve their digestion.
Because vegan dog foods are naturally anti-inflammatory, they help relieve joint pain and reduce your dog’s risk of developing arthritis. Improved mobility is often one of the most noticeable benefits when moving a dog to a vegan diet.
Improved Energy Levels
When humans go vegan, energy levels are one of the first benefits that are noticed. This is simply because your digestion system is using less energy to digest fatty meat proteins. It is the same for dogs too.
Many vegan dog owners report a noticeable increase in energy levels. Some even state that their dog has returned to puppy-like energy levels. This is highly beneficial for dogs’ physical and mental health. More exercise equals healthier dogs.
Most dog owners feed their dogs too much. In fact, pet obesity is an ongoing epidemic. Why? Because we often feed our dog as we feed ourselves. Tons of meat whenever the dogs want it.
This makes for a heavy and often overweight dog. Vegan dog foods include a lot less fat and sugar. Many vegan dog owners report noticeable but healthy weight loss after a few weeks.
Is Vegan Dog Food Healthy?
It is wholly dependent on the quality of the vegan dog food you buy. Low-quality vegan dog food exists, just like low-quality regular dog food exists. It’s vital to ensure that the vegan dog food you buy is high-quality and from a trusted brand.
In general, as long as the vegan dog food is quality, it is healthy for your dog. But, you should always seek the advice of your vet or pet nutritionist before putting your dog on a vegan diet.
A vegan diet for a dog can be just as healthy, if not healthier, than a meat-based diet. It’s important to remember that dogs don’t need meat to be healthy. They need the right nutrients, just like humans.
So, as long as your dog is getting the right nutrients and quality fiber, your dog will be healthy. The best way to check if your dog is thriving on a vegan diet is to keep a close monitor of your dog. Regularly assess their behavior, their teeth, and their fur.
Once your dog has been on the vegan diet for a month, go get them checked at the vet and ask for a general health check. The vet will be able to do a urine test and tell you if your dog is nutritionally sound and in good health.
Can Puppies Be Vegan?
You may have noticed on my list of best vegan dog foods that none are specifically for puppies. To my knowledge, there are no vegan puppy food products.
If you would like your puppy to follow a vegan diet, I highly recommend you speak to your vet or pet nutritionist first. They will likely tell you to feed your pup a meat-based diet for their first 12 months.
I can not recommend what is right or wrong when it comes to puppies. Please seek professional advice.