While most dog lovers believe that dogs need meat in their diets to be healthy, it is possible to feed your hounds a plant based diet that is nutritionally complete. In fact, eliminating animal products in your dog’s diet can improve their overall physical condition. Dogs are omnivorous, so their nutritional needs can be met on a plant based diet, though they will need supplements occasionally – don’t we all? VegeDog is a terrific supplement that provides Vitamin B12, taurine and L-carnitine. A vegan diet has been shown to improve many canine health issues, like skin, coat, and digestive conditions, as well as cataracts, infections, allergies, diabetes, hypothyroidism, and inflammatory problems like arthritis. There is also evidence of a decrease in the incidence of cancer in dogs following a vegetarian or vegan diet.
The Right To Choose
People might argue that imposing my choice to be vegan on an animal who would happily gorge on pounds of bacon every day is cruel. Perhaps, but would they make the same argument about my toddler who would prefer to subsist on bread and pasta? Unfortunately, she seems to be gluten intolerant so she isn’t going to get her wish. I do my best to make sure she eats a well balanced diet, and I would certainly do the same for my dog.
There are some very well regarded vegan dog foods available in stores and online. However, if you prefer to cook for your dog, you just need to follow some guidelines. The base of every meal should be a source of protein like soy beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and oats. Legumes should always be cooked thoroughly and mashed. Other grains can be used like quinoa, millet, polenta, barley, and buckwheat. Other vegetables to include are carrots, pumpkin, broccoli, brussels sprouts, squash, yams, cooked cabbage, and dark leafy greens. Vegetables can be grated, or finely chopped. You can sprinkle on some sea vegetable flakes to add minerals. Dogs can snack on fruits, but they shouldn’t be part of a meal because combining the fruit and the protein can upset their stomachs.
Following are two recipes from Gentle World’s original recipe book: The Cookbook for People Who Love Animals.
3 cups cooked chickpeas
3 tbsp organic oil
3 tbsp organic peanut putter
2 cups of water or salt free veggie stock
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 beet, sliced
Mash the chickpeas in a large bowl. Add the oil, peanut butter, and one cup of the water or stock. In a blender, combine the remaining water, carrot, celery, and beet. Blend at medium speed for 30 seconds. Add to the chickpeas, and serve warm.
Lentil and Barley Loaf
2 cups water or salt free veggie stock
1/2 cup dried lentils, rinsed
1/3 cup barley
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 tsp sea kelp
In a large pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the lentils and barley. Reduce heat, and cover pot. Simmer for 25 minutes, or until barley is tender. With a little water in a blender, blend celery for one minute on medium speed. Add this mixture to the cooked grains. Allow to cool slightly, but serve warm.
About the Author
Emily Grant is an animal product reviewer focused on training devices for dogs and volunteer with the ASPCA who enjoys blogging about animal health and safety.