While it is common sense that both humans and dogs are omnivores (they’ll eat both meat and vegetables), it is still quite uncommon for most dog owners to feed their beloved pet with vegetables, since most dogs love animal foods. This is explained by the fact that dogs are mostly on the carnivorous side of being omnivores, meaning that they’ll eat more meat than veggies in general.
Dana Humphrey in charge of Public Relations at Kaleb’s Organic Dog Treats says that today’s commercial pet foods are jeopardizing our pets’ health greatly. Believe it or not, these foods are often composed of ground-up parts of animals that the U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors have deemed unfit for human consumption. This would include the flesh of animals that fall into one of these categories: dead, dying diseased, or disabled.
Most pet foods contain the same hormones, pesticides, toxic ingredients, and antibiotics that are found in commercial meat products for humans. In addition, studies have shown that the same risks associated with meat consumption in humans like allergies, cancers, heart, kidney, and bone problems, are also affecting many companion animals.
Due to the various health concerns, ethical reasons, and the severe impact today’s animal agriculture has on the environment; veganism is on the rise in our society. Because of this, more pet owners who are passionate about these topics are making a lifestyle change in their four-legged friend’s diet as well.
Although dogs are classified in the order Carnivora, they have evolved biologically as omnivores, meaning their systems can derive nutrients from a wide variety of plant-based sources, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. Many dogs today are thriving on both vegetarian and vegan diets.
One example is a border collie named Bramble, whose vegan diet of rice, lentils, and organic vegetables contributed to nearly a record-breaking lifespan of 27 years!
At the very most, a dog will end up being vegan or a vegetarian due to the very fact that his or her owner is also a vegan or vegetarian, so they feed the same thing to their pets. This has led some owners to believe that a dog going vegan or vegetarian is not necessary at all.
Top 10 Best Vegan Dog Foods
We’ve worked hard and selected the 5 best vegan dog foods and vegan dog treats.
1. Natural Balance Vegan Dry Dog Food
Completely free of dairy and meat products, Natural Balance Vegan Kibble is healthy dry dog food for vegetarian and vegan dogs who want premium quality with no compromise. It’s a little pricey, but it’s also free of artificial colors, preservatives, and flavors. Linoleic acid, whole ground flaxseed, vitamin E, biotin, and kelp are put together in a premium formula boosting your dog’s coat and skin health.
Macronutrient ratios are 18% proteins, 8% fats and 4% fibers. The main ingredients include filling oatmeal, highly-digestible brown rice, and tasty potatoes. Healthy fats are brought to your dog thanks to popular canola oil and flaxseed; there are great levels of Omega 6 fatty acids (2%) and Omega 3 (o.3%) making this great vegan dog food complete and balanced. Essential amino acids and quality proteins are also present in good amounts, and so are micronutrients, minerals, and vitamins.
Quick warning, this vegan dog food is not organic, just in case, it matters to you.
- Free from dairy and meat products
- Does not contain artificial flavors, preservatives, and colors
- It is not organic
- Didn’t work well to some dogs
2. V-Dog Vegan Dry Dog Food
Manufactured without fillers, this vegan dog food is packed with wholesome vegetables and is composed of a 100% plant-based recipe. With over 24% of protein content, this vegan dog food is of great quality both in terms of palatability and nutritiousness. Peas are a big part of this vegan kibble thanks to their great protein profile, while peanuts, quinoa, brown rice, and canola oil are complementing the great ingredients list of this premium dog food for vegan dogs.
The list of ingredients that are NOT included in V-Dog Vegan Kibble is long so this premium kibble excludes soy, gluten, wheat, corn, animal products, byproducts, and fillers. Additionally, V-Dog is not using any factory farming products from what I understand from their marketing.
Dogs are omnivores and can do just fine on a plant-based diet but you have to be extra careful with the nutrients the diet will provide. V-Dog understands that and makes sure their vegan dry dog food is complete and balanced.
- 100% plant-based recipe
- Does not contain any fillers
- Provides complete and balanced nutrients
- Not for dogs with a grain allergy
- Some dogs had loose stools
3. Natural Balance Ultra Premium Wet Dog Food
The moisture in wet dog food decouples its palatability and appeal to dogs, and the very same applies to vegan wet dog food! Natural Balance brings you wet food that’s vegan-friendly, tasty, complete, and balanced. Like its counterparts, this vegan food for dogs includes a lot of brown rice, oatmeal, canola oil, potatoes, and obviously, peas! This is pate-style wet dog food, there is no added sauciness or gravy.
This is one of the best vegan canned foods — free of added sugars and superflux dietary fat! Several veterinarian nutritionists are aware of it as the best vegan wet dog food, specially conceived for dogs affected by pancreatitis or in need of low-fat dog food. Such dogs will have their symptoms improve drastically within a few weeks.
Overall a vegan wet dog food that offers wonderful value for money with a good ratio of proteins, carbohydrates, vegetables, and micronutrients. It’s also cost-effective so worth being trialed over a few weeks!
- Free from added sugar
- It is a low-fat diet
- It is in paté style wet dog food
- Inconsistent texture
- Some cans have dents
4. V-Dog Vegan Breathbones Dog Treats
Make sure your dog treat pouch is full of these delicious vegan dog treats — they are free of gluten, soy, corn, fillers, wheat, and animal products! Plus, those yummy plant-based dog treats are of good help for your dog’s periodontal health, so go ahead with a bulk order and stash them up, ha!
A friend of mine has two dogs, both on a vegan diet. She has been using V-Dog Vegan treats for a while now and she confirmed that after long research, they are the most nutritious Vegan treats for dogs out there.
The bag doesn’t reseal so make sure you store them in a dog food container. Also, each bone is quite big so try to break them into smaller pieces so they last longer. It depends whether you want to use these vegan treats as dental sticks in the evening, or dog training treats.
- Great for keeping your dog’s dental health
- You can use this as training treats
- Not resealable bag
- Has a strong cinnamon smell
5. Old Mother Hubbard Just Vegg’n Treats
Whether you are a dog breeder or a dog owner, we feed our dogs their regular meals as well as delicious dog treats. These are not the healthiest but they are vegan dog treats, and unfortunately, there aren’t many available out there. Their low price makes them a go-to choice for plant-based treats that are free of artificial preservatives.
The list of ingredients is neither good nor bad and this is due to the vegan diet being very restrictive. For example, the first ingredient is whole wheat flour, which is one of the cheapest ingredients available to manufacturers. Cane molasses are the fourth ingredient on the list and we only recommend them sporadically — they are refined sugarcane or sugar beets!
- Free from artificial preservatives
- Affordable vegan dog food
- Contains whole wheat flour
- The treat size is too big for other dogs, but it’s breakable
6. Halo Vegan Dog Food, Plant-Based
The Halo vegan dog food features a superior adult recipe that has a high protein digestibility with added wholesome non-GMO fruits and veggies. It has no fillers, artificial flavors, color, or preservatives and has a delicious meat alternative that’s protein-rich and completely plant-based.
This nutritionally balanced vegan recipe promotes whole-body health since it’s rich in Omega oils for healthier skin and coat, whole meat for healthy digestion, and supports a healthy immune system. A perfect meatless option for your fur buddies when maintaining a plant-based lifestyle.
Its Garden of Vegan recipe has tasty and premium ingredients that have a smooth texture with tender bits of colorful vegetables and the benefit of added hydration. Even picky eaters will dig in because of its aroma and taste that your dog will surely love.
- Highly digestible protein
- Free from fillers
- Contains non-GMO fruits and vegetables
- Inconsistent texture
- Not for picky dogs
7. Wild Earth Veterinarian-Developed Vegan Pet Food
Since all dogs need a high protein diet, this vegan pet food will surely deliver the proper amount of healthy protein to your pets. This dog food has no filler, additives, or preservatives and has real ingredients such as sweet potato, pumpkin, spinach, blueberries, dried yeast, chickpeas, and oats.
Its veterinary-developed recipe is backed up by science and its formula provides a complete diet to any dog breed. No worries if your dog has a sensitive stomach since it’s made to nourish and provides optimal digestive support.
The chickpeas in its ingredients are full of energy-boosting carbs that have essential amino acids, potassium, magnesium, folate, and vitamin A while the oats are a rich source of dietary fiber and energy that promotes heart health. Apart from these nutritious ingredients, spinach is also high in vitamin A, B, C, and K and is packed with iron, antioxidants, and dietary fibers that are perfect for a healthy and balanced meal.
- Free from fillers, preservatives, and additives
- Contains superfoods
- Supports healthy digestion
- It is pricey
- The kibble size is big
8. Nature’s Recipe Healthy Vegetarian Wet Dog Food
This veterinarian wet dog food has a soy and pea protein that offers a wholesome alternative to meat. It has nutritious brown rice that is a highly digestible source of carbohydrates to provide energy to your dogs.
It has no added corn or wheat, no poultry by-product meal, and no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Nature’s Recipe has added vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to ensure that your pets will maintain and improve their overall health.
The Nature’s Recipe brand has been dedicated to creating purposeful and delicious dog food for more than 35 years. Their vegetarian recipe is perfect for owners who are planning to place their pets on a plant-based diet and who are aiming to have a healthier lifestyle for their pets.
- Contains soy and pea protein
- Highly digestible source of carbohydrates
- No fillers added
- Not for dogs with soy allergy
- A few cans have dents
9. Health Extension Vegetarian Entree
This vegetarian entree is a tasty recipe that’s great for owners who prefer to give their dogs a vegetarian diet or meatless meals once in a while. It has premium ingredients that are carefully selected to ensure the taste and quality of the product.
It also has a unique inclusion of turmeric, apple cider vinegar, ginger, and green tea extract. It’s made in the USA and has the highest quality and safest recipes on the market to assure your pet’s safety.
All ingredients are thoughtfully handpicked, especially fruits and vegetables like blueberries and carrots that are responsibly sourced. After that, they add beneficial ingredients like coconut oil to enhance the whole body’s health.
- Has the highest quality and safest ingredients
- Contains real fruits and vegetables
- It has coconut oil for a healthier skin and coat
- Some dogs don’t love the taste
- Customers received dented cans
10. The Green Dog – Super Premium Vegan Dry Dog Food
The Green Dog premium vegan dry dog food supports better health for your fur buddies with improved appetite and digestion, vibrant skin and coat, relief from any allergies, healthy teeth and gums, greater stamina, vitality, and a healthy immune system.
As their customers say, this might be the healthiest dog food that you can purchase in the market. I also have no meat by-products to prevent digestive issues and promote a healthier and vibrant lifestyle.
This high-quality plant-based dog food converts the energy levels 38% more efficiently compared to meat-based pet food. It’s packed with vitamins and minerals and has nutrient-dense formulas that are selected for a purpose. It also reduces symptoms and prevents food allergies, and fatty tumors. Heart disease, infections, thyroid issues, and parasites are often caused by meat byproducts.
- Improves digestion and appetite
- Promotes healthy skin and coat
- Supports healthy immune system
- The bigger bag is no longer available
Can Dogs Be Both Healthy and Vegetarian?
Vegetarians and vegans have argued that dogs can receive all of the nutrients they get even without consuming meat, simply because they are still omnivores. The amino acids that they can get from plant-based foods should suffice even if they completely stay away from meat products.
In fact, some dogs may also live longer if they are fed with the right balance of vegetables and no-meat diets. Combining organic vegan foods and veggies with rice, beans and the like can become a great food source for your dog (or growing pup – see below section for puppies).
Likewise, some dog owners may also be frustrated if their dog has allergic reactions to certain meat or animal products. In this case, a vegan or vegetarian diet will be just fine for your pet, given it has been recommended by your local vet.
Differences Between a Vegetarian and a Vegan Dog Diet
Most people do not know that “vegetarian” and “vegan” are two different things.
People (and dogs) who consume a vegetarian diet only avoid animal meat products such as chicken, pork, beef, and the like. However, vegans also avoid products originating from animals, such as eggs and milk. In the case of a dog’s daily meal, going for a vegetarian diet is okay but heading for the vegan route is more challenging. This is because your dog has to avoid anything that involves dairy products other than meat.
Is There a Specific Vegan Diet for Puppies?
While puppies and adult dogs are both omnivorous, it could be riskier to feed your puppy a vegan diet because a lot of nutrients could be insufficient, such as protein, is a must-have for your puppy’s diet.
However, you can simply get protein sources from vegan foods such as soy, corn, whole grains and beans may help your puppy stay fit. Adding coconut or flax oil to a pup’s meal is a great source of healthy natural fats.
Here below is a video of a popular vegan blogger who shows how she feeds vegan dog food to her pets.
How to Pick the Best Vegan Dog Food
If a dog receives too little protein, calcium, or vitamin D, his or her health could be jeopardized. It’s important to do your research before transitioning your dog to a vegan diet and do so gradually. There are many recipes and supplements available so that you can prepare your own vegan dog food and track exactly what’s being added to each meal.
Additionally, when choosing the best vegan dog food, you should consider the following factors first before you go on ahead and buy or prepare it for your pet.
Calories and Macronutrients
It is advisable that your dog should only take 25 grams of protein or less per 1,000 calories of serving. While protein is mostly found on meat, it can also occur on soy and some wheat products. Not knowing how much protein you give to your dog may put your pet’s health at risk.
Proteins and Essential Amino Acids
Amino acids such as L-carnitine and taurine may not be digested easily or found in most no-meat and no-dairy diets, whether for humans or for dogs. Your pet may not only have an imbalance (or even loss) of protein but also a lack of taurine. These two amino acids are naturally occurring in flesh foods but can be added to the diet via synthetic supplements which are readily available.
When a dog has a deficiency in taurine, he or she can suffer some heart problems in the future such as dilated cardiomyopathy, or a condition in which the dog’s heart enlarges abnormally. While dogs can make taurine in their bodies (in comparison to cats who have zero ability to do so), dogs can still suffer deficiency in that macronutrient. Doberman pinschers, boxers, giant breeds (e.g. Scottish deerhounds, Irish wolfhounds, Great Danes, Saint Bernards, Afghan hounds), and Cocker Spaniels are the dog breeds predisposed to DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy.)
In fact, there is proof that soy, wheat, corn, and other grains take slightly longer to digest in comparison to meat and fish for dogs. This particularly suggests that if your dog has some digestive problems then going on a vegan diet should be consulted with a vet first, just to avoid more complications for your pet’s stomach and digestive system.
Among the micronutrients your dog might miss when switching to a vegan or vegetarian diet, you will find the following:
Such minerals, vitamins, and trace elements are commonly found in meat, offal, and dairy products and only rarely on plant-based diets, meaning that your dog may have some micronutrient deficiencies if you don’t consider keeping a balance between meat and veggie products.
Homemade vs Wet vs Dry Vegan Dog Food
When looking at what kind of vegan dog food you want to feed your dog, here’s how we compared dry, wet, and homemade dog foods.
Dry Vegan Food
A lot of dry dog foods come in kibble form, which is convenient to store for weeks without getting that really nasty smell and has more shelf life than wet dog foods. Perhaps the only downside to dry vegan food is that it doesn’t hydrate your dog as much as wet foods and processed ones might contain fillers that aren’t necessary for your pet’s nutrition.
Wet Vegan Food
Dogs that are older may start to lose their sense of taste and this is why most of them prefer wet vegan food over dry vegan food due to the stronger appeal and palatability. Hydration from wet food is also a plus for your dog’s health. However, wet foods for dogs can easily expire, in comparison to dry dog foods.
Homemade Vegan Food
If you don’t like buying from the grocery store due to the fear of unnecessary chemicals and fillers that may compromise your dog’s nutrition, you can stick to homemade vegan food. If you have an organic garden with lots of fresh veggies then that should do the trick. However, people who don’t have a lot of time due to everyday work may find making homemade vegan food for dogs kind of a hassle to do.
Best Protein Sources for Vegan Dogs
Dogs can be healthy on a well-balanced, nutritionally complete vegan diet, as long as all necessary nutrient requirements are met. These can be met through plant-based sources as well as mineral sources. The right balance of different plant-based sources of protein, such as beans, corn, soy, and whole grains, can still provide the needed essential amino acids.
If you are not sure where to start, here are some good sources of protein in case you want your dog to go vegan.
Quinoa is an ancient pseudo-grain loved by the Incas and since very recently, we’ve adopted it in our diets. It was about time for our pets to get introduced to these marvelously nutritive seeds.
Quinoa has a high protein content unlike other grains — around 16 grams per 100 grams! If you are not familiar with proteins, they are broken down into 20 amino acids and this is how we judge the quality of a protein profile. Like with eggs and most meats, Quinoa holds the nine essential amino acids your body has to receive from foods; and they are present in adequate proportions.
Allowing your quinoa seeds to germinate and sprout is a way to boost their nutritional value. Sprouting is a process where micronutrients get broken down which increases their bioavailability to your body.
There are organic quinoa sprout powers available but you can also do it yourself:
- Rinse your quinoa with cold water
- Soak the quinoa in filtered water for 2 hours
- Place the quinoa in a jar covered with a sprouting lid
- Rinse the quinoa every few hours (drain all water each time)
- Sprouting will start after 18/24 hours
Delicious and healthful, sprouted quinoa can complement your dog’s meals, and yours too! You can store this homemade sprouted quinoa in your fridge for five days.
Whether it is in the form of tofu, soy sauce, or soy milk, it is no doubt that soy is a favorite vegan food for most, because of its wide culinary use. One cup of soybeans contains roughly 68 grams of protein. For dogs, it can also be a great source of protein if you want them to go on a vegan diet. Pet owners who want their dogs to avoid eggs and meat while still maintaining the proper amount of protein may want to check out soy products.
However, as a forewarning, do not trust all of the soyfoods you see in the market. Indeed, some of these soy products are not authentic and only enhance the bulkiness of the “vegan” dog food — they act as fillers. It is still up to you to read the labels for the percentage of protein in the soy product that you have.
A cup of oats roughly has 26 grams per cup (only 6 grams for oatmeal). It is yet another great vegan dog food to consider that your pet can safely eat. The protein that oats provide is around 17 to 37 percent, which makes them quite similar to soy products in terms of protein content.
Other than protein, oats can also lower your dog’s cholesterol levels due to the soluble fiber and it also contains various micronutrients such as B vitamins, zinc, and iron. Oats have a great amino acid profile, a bit like quinoa.
Rice has a total of 4.3 grams of protein per cup. Eating rice is an excellent way for your dogs to go vegan and have energy all day due to the protein content. In Asian countries, rice is a staple food in big meals of the day such as in lunch and dinner – making their dog’s food roughly of the same content. Rice takes on the position of what Westerners would have a steak, pasta, or mashed potato for.
Because rice is also one of the most common dog food ingredients, it is no surprise that rice can be commercialized in a bad way so dogs are not really getting authentic nutrition from the dog food they receive each meal.
Make sure the rice is fresh and authentic – it is best to prepare real rice at home rather than use food mixes. You should also avoid overfeeding, as too many calories from rice can cause obesity for dogs. Some dogs are allergic and intolerant to grains; if it’s your dog’s case, you may have to switch to a grain-free dog diet.
Wheat and Corn
Both wheat and corn are moderately high in protein content, at 15 percent and 7 percent respectively, but their amino acid profile is below average. If you don’t have access to rice or wheat, you can go for corn instead but you will lose in nutritiousness. The only problem is that some dogs can be allergic to them. As with rice, moderation is necessary due to extremely high levels of carbohydrates, generally very much refined which makes them even less attractive in terms of nutrition.
Vegan Dog Food Diet: FAQ
We gathered the top frequently asked questions about top vegan dog food, below are the best answers to your inquiries.
Yes, some dogs even do well when they’re on a vegan diet. Just make sure that they get all the nutrients they need, and have the right quality, and proper amount of food every mealtime. If it’s your first time giving a vegan or vegetarian diet to your dog, ensure that you have the right and proper knowledge first and seek expert advice so you won’t risk their health.
Yes, some vets recommend vegan meals to dogs. There are research studies that also show that pets had better health outcomes on plant-based diets compared to meat pet food. If you want your dog to start his vegan lifestyle journey, you can simply go to your veterinarian and ask for vegan diet meal recommendations for your dog’s health condition.
You can start by giving your dog a raw vegetable diet. You should grate it or use a food processor to enhance its digestibility. Then you can mix a small portion of vegetarian food in your dog’s daily meal and then gradually change the portion until there’s no meat left on his meal.
Vegan diets usually help dogs when it comes to their whole range of digestive issues. Since some meat-based diets are hard on their digestive system due to the acidifying and inflammatory effects. Vegan diets are also allergy-friendly and can prevent symptoms like dry and itchy skin, loose stool, yeast infection, and fur loss.
Some believe that elderly vegan dogs do live longer with a healthier lifestyle that is on a balanced plant-based diet. But this still depends on your dog’s care. If you make sure that they have the proper nutrition, daily vet checkups, enough exercise, and complete multivitamins and supplements, then your dog will surely live longer.
Whether you are a dog breeder or a dog owner, we feed our dogs their regular meals as well as delicious dog treats. These are not the healthiest but they do are vegan dog treats, and unfortunately, there aren’t many available out there. Their low price makes them a go-to choice for plant-based treats that are free of artificial preservatives.
The list of ingredients is neither good nor bad and this is due to the vegan diet being very restrictive. For example, the first ingredient is whole wheat flour, which is one of the cheapest ingredients available to manufacturers. Cane molasses are the fourth ingredient in the list and we only recommend them sporadically — they are refined sugarcane or sugar beets!