Dogs are arguably the most popular pets across the globe. There are many controversies about what and how we feed our furry buddies. Recently, the topic that has drawn attention among dog lovers, vets, and dog nutrition specialists is whether to feed vegetarian and vegan diets to dogs. If you want to learn the facts, read on. Then you can decide what’s best for your furry buddy. But first, some background information about dogs.

Dogs are omnivores

Although dogs evolved from wolf ancestors, they are not obligate carnivores. Some dogs have such severe food allergies that their vets would recommend meat-free dog food. Wolves are considered true carnivores. On the other hand, their cousins, the domestic dogs, are not true carnivores.

Yes, dogs share ancestors with wolves, but the two are not identical.

Research shows that although dogs have more than 95% similarities with wolves, the genes differ in some crucial areas – behavior and digestion. Dogs have an enhanced ability to digest plant-based starch and proteins, but wolves don’t. Thus, wolves are carnivores, but dogs can survive and thrive on a plant-based diet.

But why is there an outcry against feeding dogs plant-based foods?

Most dog owners who oppose plant-based diets often argue that such meals lack essential nutrients and could be a recipe for weight issues, similar to vegan cat food. But these arguments have been effectively countered by numerous testimonials by happy dog owners and research articles by respected scientists. As long as you can give your dog a nutritionally adequate diet, and in recommended quantities, your dog should thrive. Besides, you can get dog food brands that provide high-quality vegetarian and vegan dog foods that meet AAFCO standards.

The fact is, what matters is not the ingredients but the quantity and quality of feed. Your dog can thrive on a vegetarian and vegan diet which is just as nutritious as animal-based diets.

Vegetarian and vegan dog foods – the facts

Now that you know more about your furry buddy and the debates you are likely to encounter, here are some facts about vegetarian and vegan dog foods.

●     Vegetarian and vegan dog foods are nutritionally adequate

However, one should be careful when preparing home-based meals as they could be nutritionally inadequate. The content of vitamin A and D and essential amino acids like L-carnitine and taurine is crucial. You must provide the building blocks of the amino acids in their diet and include vitamin A and D sources and minerals.

●     Vegetarian and vegan dog foods are protein-rich

Dogs require high protein content in their foods. Vegan and vegetarian pet foods containing ingredients like spirulina and cricket protein contain high protein levels – often higher than the recommended levels. Spirulina, for instance, has all the essential amino acids and the protein levels of often rival animal sources.

●     Vegetarian and vegan dog foods are rich in omega oils and other essential fatty acids

Algae oils, silver carp, and plant-based sources like linseed and sunflower oil are popular ingredients in vegetarian and vegan dog foods. They are rich in omega oils and fatty acids – essential for growth and reducing inflammation.

●     Vegetarian and vegan dog foods are easier to digest

They often incorporate fruits and vegetables that contain more fiber and are easier to digest. Your dog can digest plant-based protein and starch without a problem, and they find it easier to pass stool.

●     Vegetarian and vegan diets have anti-inflammatory properties

High quantities of omega oils mean they are better for senior dogs and those with bone and joint issues.

●     Vegetarian and vegan dog foods are healthier

Emerging research shows that on an overall basis, a vegetarian and vegan diet could be the healthier option for your dog.

Trusted brands are your best bet for a wholesome diet

The facts show that dogs are omnivores (not obligate carnivores), and they can thrive just as well on a vegetarian and vegan diet. Also, vegetarian and vegan dog foods are nutritionally sufficient. But this does not eliminate the risk of nutritional errors in home-based recipes.

Providing nutritionally sound, homemade vegan or vegetarian meals for your dog is a complicated task. It requires knowledge of formulations and meticulous planning – many dog owners don’t have these.

Fortunately, some brands create healthy and nutritious vegetarian and vegan dog foods. They do extensive research, obtain high-quality ingredients from trusted sources, and develop excellent, vet-approved formulations ready for your furry buddy.

Developing nutritionally adequate dog foods could be complicated. But, with a trusted vegan and vegetarian dog food brand, you have a partner ready to help your furry buddy thrive.

A final word on vegetarian and vegan dog food, consult a vet

After reading these truths, you may want to switch to a vegetarian or vegan dog food diet. Talk with a trusted vet before you do that. An open-minded vet will share nutrition facts and crucial information about how you can make the switch safely.


NutriFusion provides highly nutritional blends for pets, dogs in particular. These blends are available from premium pet companies such as Sundays for Dogs and Guardian Pet Food. NutriFusion® vitamin blends for pets are made from fruits and/or vegetables

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