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Your dog is a member of your family, so it’s hardly a surprise you’ll want to feed him or her the healthiest food and treats available.
If you’re a plant-based practitioner yourself, you’ll likely want to opt for vegan dog food rather than one full of animal flesh and by-products, but where do you start?
Right here, of course!
This post will walk you through how to choose the right product for you and your pooch, and we’ll review a number of products from which you can choose too.
So, whether you are vegan, vegetarian, or simply want to do right by Rover, you’ve landed on the best page.
Shall we get started?
Let’s do this, dog lovers!
Benefits of plant-based foods for you, your dog, and the planet
The benefits of a vegan diet for humans is well established. As we all know, there’s now plenty of scientific evidence suggesting a plant-based diet is far healthier for us than a carnivorous diet.
Furthermore, many nutritionists say the easiest and healthiest way to get your daily dose of most vitamins and minerals is through foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
Some studies even indicate that when people cut out meat and increase their intake of raw plants, they end up with higher concentrations of antioxidants in their blood supply. But the good news about veganism doesn’t stop there. (1)
Adopting a vegan lifestyle also has an impact on the health of our planet too. Animal agriculture is responsible for many of the world’s problems, so choosing a diet free from animal products is a positive vote for an ecologically sounder future.
Then there’s the obvious point…the direct effect it has on countless animals across the globe. A s vegans, we’re all too aware of the grotesque practices used in the meat and dairy industries, so anything we can do to stop such maltreatment should be adopted immediately.
However, we’re here to talk about one animal in particular today – the ever-faithful hound. Is a plant-based diet really a good idea for your mutt?
Many consider putting a dog on a vegan to be odd, but the truth is they can actually thrive on a plant-based diet, just like us.
Take Bramble, for example. This border collie lived to a ripe old age of 25…which is a ridiculous 144 in dog years! This earned her a spot in the Guinness World Record books as the oldest living dog back in 2002. (2)
Her diet? Organic veg, lentils, and rice.
That being said, there are a few things you need to bear in mind when switching your dog over to a vegan diet.
You must ensure your pooch is getting enough calcium, protein, and vitamin D to make sure their health remains good. Thankfully, the levels needed are pretty easy to meet, even if you decide to create your own meals for your dog.
However, some breeds will also need taurine and L-carnitine. These amino acids are vital for heart health, and deficiencies are more prevalent in older dogs rather than pups.
The best course of action by far is to speak with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet’s diet. They will be able to give you breed-specific advice and information on what foods will work best for your dog, as well as any supplementation they may need.
How to choose a plant-based diet for your pooch
While the science is pretty clear in humans, the path forward with a plant-based diet is not always as clear when it comes to your pet. That being said, choosing the right diet for your dog is pretty straightforward once you know what you are looking for.
The main thing to bear in mind is you need to find a product which has the right vitamins and minerals in it. That means your selected plant-based dog food, whether it is vegetarian or true vegan, needs to have enough (but not too much) of things such as Vitamin D to keep your pooch happy and healthy.
The biggest concern people usually have when considering a switch for their pup is whether enough protein is consumed on a plant-based diet.
Twenty-five grams is the average recommended daily amount of protein for the average adult dog, but this will obviously vary due to breed, weight, age, etc. Talk to your vet to make sure that the vegan dog food you choose meets that recommendation.
Obviously, bone and teeth health are just as important for your dog as they are for you. Luckily, dogs need very small amounts of calcium each day to keep them fit and healthy. On average, a mere gram a day will keep an adult dog in good condition.
Just as with humans, vitamin B12 is important for dogs who are being fed solely on plants. Your choice of dog food should contain B12, but you can administer it in other ways. Luckily, dogs are partial to nutritional yeast (which is frequently fortified with vitamin B12), so, if you need to, you can always add a little to your dog’s dinner.
As mentioned above, another option is to make your own natural dog food. This can be time consuming, though, and extra care should be taken with ingredients to make sure your pup really is consuming enough of the right essential vitamins and minerals.
For more information on your dog’s diet, speak to your veterinarian. They’ll be able to give you an exact breakdown on everything you need to keep your best friend in fine health.
Does your Companion Animal have allergies?
Sometimes a plant-based diet can be the right choice for your hound because of reasons outside your control, such as an allergy. The best dog food for allergies is going to depend on the type of sensitivity your dog may have, but simply looking into a plant-based dog food as a solution is a good place to start.
Finding the best dog food for allergies can make a big difference to your four-legged friend, so be sure to check out your options rather than simply sticking to what you are already feeding your hound.
Again, your veterinarian should be consulted when changing your pet’s diet to adjust to an allergy. In addition to the vegan dog food reviews below, your vet will help you make the right choice.
How old is your pup?
Certain types of diets are better for different ages. Much like choosing the best vegan dog food for an adult dog, a puppy has specific dietary needs while they are growing quickly, so selecting the right vegan puppy food for them is essential.
Choosing a vegan puppy food should be done carefully. A lot of attention needs to be paid to making sure there is enough protein and vitamin content available in the product you select.
If you are in doubt, your veterinarian can take a look at the product you have selected (or your recipe, if you are making your own) and help you figure out if it is the right fit for your pup’s age, breed, and health condition.
Don’t forget about dog treats
If you are considering switching your pooch across to a vegetarian or vegan dog diet, remember you will also need to make sure their treats reflect that decision too. Vegan dog biscuits can help round out a plant-based diet for your dog and possibly provide additional sources of vitamins. They’re also great as a training aid.
With this in mind, I’ve added a few vegan dog treats to the list below to give you an idea of what’s available. As any owner will tell you, no dog will complain about receiving an extra treat or two!
vegan dog food Reviews: Chow fit for a King Charles Spaniel (and other breeds, too!)
We know that making sure your pooch gets the right amount of nutritious and tasty food is a top priority for you as a dog owner.
However, we also know that sifting through ingredient lists and packaging gumph can be a real time-suck. So, to help you out in your quest for good quality vegan dog food, we’ve selected a number of different products and given them the once-over so that you don’t have to.
Here’s what we found…
Nature’s Recipe Healthy Skin Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food
This vegetarian dry dog food has a number of features that make it a good choice for dogs who are especially struggling with skin allergies. Linoleic acid and zinc are added, which is great for keeping your dog’s skin healthy underneath that hair.
The protein in Nature’s Recipe vegetarian formula is a soybean meal and it is made without added corn or wheat. This is great if your dog has been adversely affected by these ingredients in the past.
However, for pickier dogs, this type of dog food might not be the best fit. Some owners have reported that finicky pets have been known to avoid it.
Additionally, the Vitamin K in this otherwise natural dog food is a synthetic K3 molecule – also known as menadione. This means it may be missing some of the critical benefits of naturally occurring Vitamin K, such as blood clotting. It has also occasionally been known to cause toxicity in the liver, which could be dangerous for your pup.
This dog food might still be the right one for you, but ease it in slowly and monitor your dog’s progress.
- Affordable, vegetarian recipe
- Free from artificial flavoring and colors
- No corn or wheat
- Contains omega fatty acids for healthy coat
- May not be the best for picky eaters
- Contains menadione, a synthetic vitamin K
- May exacerbate sensitive stomachs and cause gas
- Some shipments have been received past product expiration date, be sure to check the packaging before opening
Wysong Vegan Canine Formula Dry Dog Food
This holistic vegan food for dogs from Wysong comes in a set of four five pound bags (20lbs total), so you don’t have to open a large bag that might take your dog weeks to finish. Great for those who want the freshest food for their dog at all times.
This dry vegan dog diet might be right for your pooch if they have sensitive stomachs, as the probiotics included in the ingredients are said to help with digestive function. With coconut oil, Vitamin A, and taurine included, your pooch is getting lots of healthy additions in their daily meal.
However, this is one of the vegan dog food brands that also markets its products to cats. This can be troubling to some, as canine and feline nutritional needs can be quite different. Having something of a “catch-all” attitude doesn’t exactly fill us with confidence.
Another concern is that one of the first ingredients listed is corn, which can cause sensitivity in some dogs and is less than ideal when purchasing a vegan dog food. Many dogs have allergies to corn, so be sure to check if your pooch falls into this camp before purchasing.
- May be helpful for sensitive stomachs, but be aware of the corn
- Multiple small bags for freshness
- Huge ingredient list
- Marketed for cats as well as dogs, which is never a good sign
- Contains corn
- Kibble may be too small for even an average sized dog
- A little expensive
KetunPet Vegan Dog Food for Puppies
If you are looking for vegan dog food brands that will suit a young dog’s needs, this product from KetunPet could be the right fit for you.
Their vegan puppy food is rich with plant-based protein (27%) and contains lots of other natural ingredients to help with allergies. It also has the right ingredients to help growing pups develop strong, shiny coats and is suitable for puppies up to 12 months old.
As this is so high in nutrients, it can also be fed to pregnant dogs, as well as those canines who live an extremely active life, such as guard and working dogs, for example.
It’s always worth introducing a new product slowly into your puppy’s diet so that you can be sure they do not have any bad reactions to it. Thankfully, this puppy food from KetunPet can be purchased in small 6.6lb bags, as well as the larger 22lb size, so you can give it a whirl without being left with a mountain of unused food if they don’t like it.
- Certified vegan and cruelty free
- Free from gluten
- 0% cholesterol
- High-value plant proteins
- Quite expensive, especially the smaller bags
- Relatively new product, not a great deal of information out there. However, this isn’t necessarily a negative!
Gather ENDLESS VALLEY Vegan Recipe Dry Dog Food
Gather ENDLESS VALLEY is an odd name for a dog food, but that’s not an issue if your best friend gets all the goodness they need.
This certified vegan product has plenty of positive points, including pea protein, a nice balance of Omega-3 and -6 (largely from flaxseed and sunflower oil), and the use of sustainable ingredients in the formula.
We also like the fact that Gather ENDLESS VALLEY has a range of vitamins and minerals in its formula and is free from artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors. Couple this with the lack of wheat, corn, and soy and you’re looking at a pretty decent vegan dog food.
This product is part of a relatively new range from Petcurean, so there’s not a lot of field research out there. However, Gather ENDLESS VALLEY looks set to be a hit with owners and dogs alike.
- Sustainably grown ingredients
- Non GMO
- Free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives
- No fillers such as corn, soy, or wheat
- Nice spectrum of vitamins and minerals
- Certified vegan
- Quite expensive
Evolution Food for Dogs
Evolution’s food for dogs is a solid choice if you have an adult animal or a puppy who’s almost full grown.
This particular product is a complete life cycle dog food, which makes it easy to start your pup on it now without having to worry about the right time to transition off of it. You simply don’t need to if it’s working well for you and your pooch.
The pure vegan ingredients include soybean meal for protein and a number of other vegetables for other vitamins and minerals. The guys at Evolution have formulated this food to adhere to AAFCO’s dog food nutrient profiles, so you can be sure your dog is getting what it needs.
However, if you have a hound who tends to overeat, or seems to put on a few extra pounds easily, this one could cause him or her to gain weight quickly if you don’t pay attention.
It has a fairly high calorie count per cup, so be sure you are up to date on how many calories your buddy truly needs on a daily basis. If it takes too many calories to get the right amount of nutrition from the food, this probably isn’t going to be the right choice for you.
- Contains a fantastic array of vegetables
- Formulated to meet AAFCO’s dog food nutrient profile
- Great for soft and shiny coats
- Kibble size suitable for most breeds
- Even fussy eaters love Evolution
- High calorie count, but this can often be countered by simply feeding your dog less
- No choice in bag sizes
Halo Vegan Garden Medley Stew for Dogs
With no animal products or wheat, Halo Vegan Garden Medley Stew is guaranteed to be easy on your dog’s stomach.
It’s also full of fiber and easily digestible vegetables, making it perfect for dogs with temperamental tummies.
It has a Vitamin D-2 supplement included as well as other minerals to make sure your dog grows healthily and stays happy. Clear skin and a shiny coat are often cited benefits of this organic vegan dog food.
For larger dogs, however, this dog food is lacking a little bit on the protein side. At 20%, there’s plenty for a medium sized dog to be satisfied, but it may leave bigger dogs hungry. Reports of finicky dogs not liking the taste might turn some dog owners away from this option as well.
This is specifically intended for adult dogs, so wait until your puppy has reached at least twelve months before transitioning to this vegan dog food.
- Good balance of nutrients
- “Complete” formula will be attractive to many owners
- Can help improve skin and coat
- Fewer bloating and gas problems than some other foods cause
- Respected brand name
- A little on the expensive side
- 20% protein may not be enough for some dogs
- Picky eaters may refuse this food, possibly due to the strong smell
- Kibbles tend to crumble easily
PetGuard Organic Vegan Entree
If you have a really picky pup, PetGuard’s Organic Vegan Entree is one of the best natural dog food options available. This isn’t dry kibble, so it’s great for dogs who generally prefer moister foodstuffs – even if it is a little drier than other wet dog foods.
It can be eaten on its own or as a supplement if you don’t want your dog to be 100% on wet canned food. Lots of organic vegetables mean your dog is getting plenty of vitamins and minerals in their dinner bowl.
That being said, this dog food is smelly, messy, and easily dries out when stored – which it needs to be, because a whole can is far too large a serving for many smaller dogs. This option, while healthy, is likely better left as a supplemental product or as one of your hound’s occasional vegan dog treats.
The pros may outweigh the cons, but that will largely depend upon your own personal preferences. The negatives aren’t a slight on PetGuard, as the cons are essentially the same as any other canned wet dog food. If you can deal with the inconvenience of wet dog food this is a solid product for your pet.
- Decent ingredients list
- BPA-free can
- Goes down well with picky dogs
- Starts out quite dry for a wet dog food, and gets even drier fast if storing
- Messy and smelly. Difficult to remove from can
- Can cause loose stools
- Expensive for canned dog food
Natural Balance Vegetarian Dry Dog Food
This vegan dry dog food from Natural Balance is a great choice for those of us blessed with a frantically energetic dog. It’s full of plant-based energy sources, which are sure to keep your pooch bounding around well into old age.
As with most dog foods, you will need to watch portion sizes carefully and take your dog’s age and energy levels into account as well.
As the name suggests, Natural Balance contains all of the necessary vitamins so your dog is eating a well-balanced meal every time. It includes taurine, zinc, and probiotics, among many others.
If you are switching from another brand, you might want to transition your dog slowly from their old food to this one. It can cause loose stools if suddenly introduced, so go slowly and make sure they are enjoying it!
Introducing a vegan diet for dogs works well in the vast majority of instances, but it does need to be managed carefully. This brand of food is no exception to that rule.
- Nice levels of vitamins and minerals
- Good value
- Helps some dogs with gas issues (always a positive, right?)
- Owners report reduced allergy symptoms
- Can cause loose stools, best to introduce slowly to see how your dog reacts
- Doesn’t smell the best
Natural Balance Ultra Premium Wet Dog Food
Natural Balance Ultra Premium Wet Dog Food might be the best choice if you were considering the previous one but discarded it because your dog prefers wet dog food to dry.
This vegan product is full of nutritious goodness. With no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, it’s a pretty natural product, so you can be comfortable with what your pooch is consuming.
There are also no added sugars, which is a big plus for dogs prone to weight gain.
Protein is further down on the ingredient list and the product only contains 5% crude protein, so carefully measure how much your dog receives in each serving to ensure they’re getting enough.
That being said, this is a complete food which has been formulated to meet AAFCO’s Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for all adult dogs, so your dog should be fine. As ever, if you are concerned in any way, consult your vet.
Natural Balance has lots of vegetables and grains, which is perfect for most dogs, but if yours has a sensitivity to grains this is obviously not the right choice for you.
Amazingly, this is a wet dog food that doesn’t smell too bad. Seriously, it actually smells pretty good!
- No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
- Good quality energy sources
- Complete formula designed to meet AAFCO’s nutritional guidelines
- Nice balance of Omega-3 and -6, which helps keep your dog’s skin and coat in great condition
- Pea protein provides a great alternative for some dogs
- Smells pretty good!
- Doesn’t keep for long once opened (but that’s true of most canned dog food)
- Problems with shipping means many cans arrive damaged
- Quite dry and sticky for a wet food
V-Dog Vegan Kibble Dry Dog Food
This 100% vegan kibble from V-Dog comes with 24% protein. Protein as dried peas is listed as the first ingredient and several other sources of protein are included as well.
A Vitamin D supplement along with many other vitamins and minerals make this an excellent source for high energy dogs and owners who are considering a plant-based diet for their pup. It’s also free from heavy fillers, which can cause stomach issues in some dogs.
V-Dog’s formula is also hypoallergenic and made up with premium quality fruits, grains, and veggies. Something to note is that V-Dog use human-grade foods in this product, and dogs with sensitive stomachs seem to appreciate the gentleness of this kibble.
However, a transition to plant-based dog foods after eating food with animal products in it can be difficult for some hounds. Just like any other vegan dog food, V-Dog can cause bloating and gas for the first week to ten days of the transition, so try and introduce it slowly.
- Vegan company
- Uses human-grade ingredients
- Wonderfully natural hypoallergenic formula
- Meets AAFCO’s nutritional standards
- 100% money back guarantee
- Produced and packaged in the USA
- Kibble is a little on the large side, especially for smaller dogs
- Despite being high-quality, some dogs may react poorly to the grains
- Some fussy dogs may refuse this due to its very light smell
V-Dog Vegan Breathbones Dog Treats
It’s V-Dog time again, but this time in the vegan dog treats category.
These V-Dog breathbones treats help keep your dog’s teeth in tiptop condition, but that’s not their main target. This treat really comes into its own as a breath sweetener.
We all know just how bad a hound with halitosis smells, so you’ll be pleased to hear this treat leaves a cinnamon scent after your dog has enjoyed it, giving you a little relief from the demon dog breath! That being said, these are far from a cure, as they seem to only bring a temporary respite to pooch pong.
Like any “bone” style treat, you will need to monitor the dog’s behavior with it and make sure it’s not swallowed whole, chewed too quickly, or that your dog becomes dehydrated.
They’re definitely too large on their own for small dogs, but even larger dogs should be watched closely when chewing on one of these. Choking is a hazard and, while it’s rare, it’s still a possibility.
By the way, these treats can be broken down by hand for smaller dogs, so don’t let their size put you off if you’re looking for vegan dog treats for a minuscule mutt.
As one might expect from V-Dog, there’s no gluten, wheat, or corn included here, which is great for dogs with sensitive tums.
- No unnecessary fillers
- Good for sensitive stomachs
- Nice cinnamon scent
- All breeds seem to love these treats
- Quite large (they are easy to break down, though)
- A little pricey, especially as most dogs devour these so quickly
- Would benefit from a resealable bag
Grandma Lucy’s Organic Baked Dog Treat
Grandma Lucy’s organic vegan dog biscuits from are made with real products, including blueberries, sunflower oil, and vanilla, and they are even safe for humans to try (tempted?).
Unlike many other dog food or treats, they have a pleasant smell and they’re made with only human-grade ingredients. However, some of these ingredients will be cause for concern.
The first ingredient on the list is organic wheat flour, and certain breeds or dogs with sensitive stomachs might not enjoy these biscuits because of that.
There’s also a fair amount of sugar in them, which can lead to you having to deal with an overly-energetic dog – especially if they have too many!
It’s great to see a relatively short ingredient list, but we would like to see a little less sugar in these treats. However, providing they are used as “treats” and not given to your dog on a regular basis, Grandma Lucy’s will certainly be loved by your pooch.
- Short(ish) ingredient list
- Certified organic and kosher
- Human-grade ingredients
- No fake or false nasties, free from artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, and preservatives
- Oven baked with no trans fats or hydrogenated oils
- Very sweet, so be careful not to give your best pal too many
- Wheat-based, so won’t suit all dogs
- Can crumble really easily, leaving you with a bag of dust
Old Mother Hubbard Crunchy Classic Natural Dog Treats
Last on our list is Old Mother Hubbard Crunchy Classic Natural Dog Treats.
This vegan dog treat is made with great flavors, such as carrots and sweet potatoes. It’s baked and contains no preservatives, which is great, but there are some concerns.
This is another product where the first ingredient listed is wheat, which can be problematic for dogs with intolerances. The inclusion of garlic is also odd. While it’s probably only found in trace amounts, we’d rather it wasn’t in there at all as it can cause sickness, especially in smaller breeds.
With all that said, these treats are loved by plenty of dogs (and owners!), so a lot will come down to personal choice.
- Good sized bag
- Good training sized treat
- Reasonably priced
- Ingredients include garlic, which isn’t exactly ideal
- Hard to break in half for smaller dogs
- Some packages have contained bugs
- You may find your dog has increased gas issues
Our favorite vegan dog food is…
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The winner of this review for best natural dog food is V-Dog Vegan Kibble Dry Dog Food. This kibble has all of the essentials: lots of protein, all necessary vitamins and minerals, and wide taste appeal.
V-Dog vegan kibble is also suitable for both puppies and adult dogs so you can maintain a consistent product throughout the lifespan if you would like to.
As an organic, 100% natural product, it is good for both your pup and the environment. For dogs with allergies, this product comes highly recommended. It helps keep coats shiny and soft, skin clear, and reduces itching.
As always, if you have major medical concerns for your dog, consult with your veterinarian before making changes to their diet.
We know you are concerned about your health, your dog’s health, and the environment. That is why there are a number of options listed above if you are considering transitioning your dog to a plant-based diet to match your own.
However, for us, the clear winner is the V-Dog vegan kibble, especially for those who are looking for a natural, organic, plant-based food source for their beloved dog.
About The Author:
Lisa Williams is a committed vegan, passionate animal welfare advocate, and keen follower of too many v-friendly food blogs to mention. She started happyhappyvegan.com back in 2016 because she felt there was a need for more straightforward information on plant-based living.
Back then, too many sites seem to either concentrate solely on recipes or be too intimidating or inaccessible for the v-curious, and she wanted to change that. The landscape is certainly a whole lot different now!
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- Yim Tong Szeto, Timothy C Y Kwok, Iris F.F. Benzie | Effect of long term vegetarian diet on biomarkers of antioxidant status and cardiovascular risk | https://www.researchgate.net/publication/8240746_Effect_of_long_term_vegetarian_diet_on_biomarkers_of_antioxidant_status_and_cardiovascular_risk
- v-dog | Bramble the Collie’s Secrets to Living to Age 25 | https://v-dog.com/blogs/v-dog-blog/bramble-the-collies-secrets-to-living-to-age-25