Can dogs live on a vegetarian diet? They most certainly can! Dogs aren’t strict carnivores which means they can survive and thrive on a diet without meat. To provide a balanced vegetarian diet for dogs requires a little more thought than a standard diet based on animal proteins. This is particularly true if you plan to prepare the food yourself or you want to put your dog on a vegan diet. Luckily, there are several vegetarian dog food manufacturers that can make your job easier.
Homemade vegetarian diets
You’ll need to plan meals carefully to create a nutritionally-balance, vegetarian diet for your dog. Here are some points to keep in mind.
Consider a non-vegetarian or commercial diet for puppies
Puppyhood is a crucial time of development that requires nutrition to be perfectly balanced. This can be hard to do in any homemade diet, but particularly in a vegetarian one. The balance of amino acids that is readily found in animal-based proteins can be difficult to recreate with purely vegetable ingredients. Consider feeding your puppy a non-vegetarian diet until he’s through the growth stage, or find a commercial vegetarian dog food that meets his nutritional requirements.
More restrictive diets are harder to balance nutritionally
Eggs, milk, fish, and cheese are actually better sources of protein than poultry or beef. But a vegan diet for your dog can’t depend on these. You’ll need to use a variety of foods, including different beans and grains, to provide the necessary amino acids. Also, without dairy products calcium will have to come from dark-green, leafy vegetables. The more restrictive the diet, the more creative you’ll need to be to put together balanced meals for your dog.
Supplement homemade diets with vitamins and minerals
Dog food manufacturers add a vitamin/mineral supplement to their products to ensure they meet minimum nutritional requirements, and you should do the same. Adding a supplement to your dog’s vegetarian diet is an easy way to give him the nutrients he needs.
Talk to your veterinarian
Proper nutrition is vital to your dog’s health, so discuss your vegetarian meal plans with your veterinarian.
List of vegetarian dog food manufacturers
If you want to feed your dog a vegetarian diet but don’t want to prepare it yourself, there are several companies that make vegetarian and vegan dog foods.
V-Dog vegan dog food: One of the first companies to produce a vegan dog food in the U.K., their products are now also manufactured in the United States.
Natural Life Nutritional Pet Products: They have a vegetarian food for adult dogs.
PetGuard Organics: They have both canned and dry vegetarian dog foods that are certified organic.
Nature’s Recipe: Their Healthy Skin Vegetarian Recipe contains no wheat or corn ingredients.
Harbingers of a New Age: They offer a Vegedog product that you can add to homemade vegan or vegetarian recipes in order to meet the nutritional recommendations of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).