Yes, your dog can thrive on a home-prepared, plant-based diet!
If you’ve been feeding your dog from a bag or can, you are not alone. Too many of our dogs eat a standard commercial diet, devoid of variety and often laden with ingredients truly unfit for consumption. Even if you’ve chosen a commercial food you think is top-of-the-line, questionably safe “incidental additives” could be in that food but not listed in the ingredient list. Feeding a home-prepared diet of whole foods is easier than you might think and so much healthier!
If you’ve been feeding a home-prepared diet that includes meat, please know that the diet does not need to include meat to provide your dog all he or she needs for optimal health. If you continue feeding raw or cooked meat, please be aware that some supplementation is necessary for your meals to meet all nutritional requirements.
If you’re convinced already…
Please visit the Vegedog™ page of our website to read about properly supplementing the diet and place an order. CLICK HERE to visit the Vegedog™ page.
Why would I want to feed a plant-based diet?
An increasing number of veterinarians link the rising cancer rate and rate of degenerative diseases (kidney and liver disease, arthritis, neurological conditions, heart disease, etc.) to the chemicals and toxins found in meat-based, commercial foods. An estimated 50% of some breeds will end up with cancer in their lifetime. Due to a contaminated environment and factory farming practices, heavy metals, herbicides (especially glyphosate), hormones, and antibiotics are all stored in the fat of animals used as food, and chemical preservatives are directly added to many pet food brands. When your dog eats animals, after the bio-accumulation of these toxins, their toxic load increases exponentially. Toxins disrupt and pollute the body and lead to dis-ease.
Studies have shown that human vegans and vegetarians have a lower toxic load, and even live longer, than their meat-eating counterparts. Some of the longest-lived dogs have been fed a plant-based diet, too.
People have reported many health conditions improving after switching their animals to a plant-based diet, including: allergy and food intolerance (and the resultant itching, biting, and discomfort), arthritis, obesity, digestive issues, dental health, ear infections, energy level, aggressive behavior, and more. It is theorized that removing allergens (8 of the top 10 allergies for dogs are meat/dairy products) and reducing the toxic buildup in the body with a plant-based diet is the reason for these improvements. For example, the herbicide glyphosate has been shown in studies to destroy the gut microbiome which is extremely important to digestion and directly linked to immune health and even neurological dysfunction. Factory farms feed animals genetically modified ingredients farmed with the herbicide glyphosate. That chemical is then passed on to your dog. Feeding a non-GMO, plant-based diet that includes only organic soy and wheat products is the way to eliminate this serious health threat.
The atrocities of factory farming and the environmental crisis should also be considerations when deciding what to eat and what to feed your dog. Over 150 million land animals are slaughtered for food every day. There are nearly 90 million dogs in the USA alone, many of whom are unnecessarily contributing to this slaughter despite their ability to thrive on a plant-based diet. Eliminating meat from the diet of dogs and humans not only lessens the torture and murder of sentient beings, it lessens the environmental impact of animal agriculture. Greenhouse gas emissions linked to livestock production are substantial, as is water use and rain forest clearing. Human food insecurity for a billion people could also be alleviated if grains grown for livestock were instead used to feed starving or malnourished populations. The resources it takes to maintain meat-based diets are far greater than those needed for plant-based diets.
Why you can feed plant-based: Dogs are NOT their wolf ancestors!
The domestic dog has undergone 10,000 to 30,000 years of adaptation since diverging from the wolf. In recent history, living in close proximity to humans, dogs have lived on table scraps from people eating primarily plant foods, eating little or no meat. Our domesticated best friends have evolved with us and changes are evident in dietary adaptation and lifestyle.
Domestic dogs have evolved multiple copies of the gene that makes amylase, a digestive enzyme that breaks down carbohydrates, as opposed to their wolf ancestors whose amylase activity in the pancreas is 28 times less active than dogs. Dogs can digest carbohydrates and use carbohydrates for their energy needs.
Dogs are physiologically omnivores, though classified in the order carnivore. The order carnivora also includes the vegetarian giant panda whose diet is 99% bamboo. Dogs can manufacture amino acids not found in plant foods from the amino acid building blocks that are. That said, it is prudent to properly supplement any home-prepared food, plant-based or meat-based. Adding taurine to the diet allows the building blocks of taurine to be utilized for other bodily processes and ensures your dog has enough taurine in their diet. Due to the high heat and processing that denatures the naturally occurring taurine in commercial, meat-based pet food, all food manufacturers add synthetic taurine to nutritionally complete animal companion food. The synthetic taurine your vegan dog will have supplemented in their diet is no different than the taurine used to supplement meat-based foods, though the taurine in Vegedog™ is human-grade. A number of other nutrients that Vegedog™ supplies are otherwise deficient in home-prepared plant- or meat-based diets, including: calcium, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin B12, zinc, and more.
How to do it right.
The Vegedog™ supplement fills in the nutritional gaps in home-prepared meals when meals supply enough protein and fat. Vegedog™ ships with an instruction brochure that includes simple recipes to follow that will meet and exceed all nutritional requirements for your dog. Recipes are available to view at the following link: https://compassioncircle.com/vegedog/. You’ll also find wonderful, nutritionally-complete recipes in the 4th edition of Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats and in Susan Pitcairn’s diet handouts from her blog.
Most nutritionally-complete, home-prepared diets include food yeast for B vitamins. Compassion Circle offers a modified brewer’s yeast, VegeYeast, to supply additional B vitamins to the diet. In addition to supplying B vitamins, VegeYeast has a low pH that will help your dog maintain the proper acid urine pH.
Preparing nutritious homemade meals for your loved one is not as time consuming as you might think, and it is quite economical. Simple ingredients like beans can be purchased in bulk and prepared for the week. Organic soy products are a wonderful way to add protein to the diet, but are not required to meet a dogs nutritional needs if recipes are largely legume based. If desired, you can add variety by using seasonal vegetables or canned purees like pumpkin, different legumes and grains, and extras like nut butters and sauces.
Any dietary transition should be done gradually over 1-2 weeks by adding a small amount of new food into the old food, then gradually increasing the new food while decreasing the amount of the old. Adding digestive enzymes is helpful during the transition and beyond.
Dogs thoroughly enjoy their plant-based home prepared diet and it is a win-win for all!
The Compassion Circle Team is here to help! Please contact Compassion Circle with any questions you have!