I am coming up on my one year anniversary celebrating my switch to a vegan plant-based diet. An ongoing discussion in our house is about when is the right time to bring a dog into our family. We all want to get a dog but have wanted to wait until we move to a house with a bigger yard. This past year as we have eaten a clean, vegan diet, we have had more reservations about getting a dog because of the kind of food we might expect to purchase for the dog.
The pet food industry is highly unregulated, making the sources of animal protein questionable. It isn’t an industry that I care to support as a vegan. We began researching what dogs actually eat and it turns out that most of the calories in major dog food brands come from plant sources (albeit not the greatest quality or sources, but plant based regardless). A small percentage actually comes from animal protein. It turns out that dogs (at least domestic breeds) are omnivores and can eat a variety of foods easily. They do need a higher fat and protein content to their diet, but those sources do not need to be from animals.
This video was informational in my search:
This article from Vegan Health was also helpful:
“For both ethical and health reasons, many vegetarians and vegans choose to feed their companion dogs vegetarian or vegan diets. Up to 50 % of commercial pet food brands are comprised of “meat meal” and “byproducts,” which include various body parts (such as beaks, brain, spinal cord tissue, bones, lungs, intestinal tracts) slaughterhouse wastes, 4-D meat (from dead, dying, diseased or disabled animals), supermarket rejects, as well as rendered dogs and cats from animal shelters… Dogs can be healthy and in fact, thrive on a vegetarian or vegan diet, as long as all necessary nutrient requirements are met. Dogs are biologically omnivorous, but can adapt well to a plant-based diet which meets all their nutritional needs. It’s important that the food be digested easily as well as have good palatability.”
We are still researching this concept, but as of now, I don’t think we could own a dog if by feeding it we were to support the unethical treatment of factory farmed animals. I will keep you posted as I find out more and if you have any useful links or information on vegan dogs, please share in the comments below!