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Hi guys! After being vegetarian for quite some time, my husband and I have become vegan this year. So far, we love it! We feel healthy and great about the choices we are making. I've even started checking all the brands of non food products we buy to make sure they are cruelty free. The only dilemma I have been having with this is my dogs!

I have two Aussie mixes, 10 months and 2 years old. My two year old has allergies to wheat, soy, and corn so it has always been difficult to find food for him. I've wanted to switch him to the raw diet and have had lots of suggestions for "cruelty free" all natural meats and raw dog foods but I don't really feel like buying meat at all is cruelty free. I am a major crazy dog lady and am actually studying dog nutrition right now so I want to make sure they are getting all the vitamins they need and are eating a well rounded diet. Does anyone have any insight on this? Or have you had a similar dilemma? I've read a few things about people making their dogs vegan but I am worried this will not be good for their health long term. Is this a situation where I will just have to do the best I can to buy cruelty free meat? My husband and I also have to stay somewhat on a budget during the month so if there is a budget friendly alternative that would make it even better! Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Responses (5)

  • DC1346's avatar
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    Posted by DC1346 at 05/26/13 10:12:32

    From what I've read, dogs can be on a vegan diet but not cats. I have four cats - so they're still on a meat based diet.

    It should be understood that dogs and cats have different nutritional needs from people. Cats in particular cannot convert the beta-carotene in plants such as carrots and dark green vegetables into vitamin A. They get their vitamin A from liver and fish oils. They also need dietary sources of taurine (an amino acid-like nutrient) and arachidonic acid (an essential fatty acid), both of which are only found in animal tissues.

    I once saw a news story a few years ago about a Russian immigrant who took in several cats. She was reported to the Humane Society for cruelty to animals because she was feeding them cereal. When the HS investigated, they found that she was impoverished and was feeding the cats the very food that she herself was eating.

    Although no cruelty had been intended, some of the cats had gone blind because they weren't receiving the nutrition that their physiology required. The lady in question wasn't charged but the cats were all confiscated since she couldn't provide adequate care for them.

    Dogs have much simpler nutritional requirements from cats. They need large amounts of protein and calcium. Brands like Natural Brands sell a vegetarian dried food for dogs.

    Here is a listing of ingredients for this product.

    Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Peas, Potato Protein, Canola Oil, Potatoes, Tomato Pomace, Vegetable Flavoring, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Natural Mixed Tocopherols, Spinach, Parsley Flakes, Cranberries, L-Lysine, L-Carnitine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Kelp, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Manganese Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Riboflavin (Vitamin B-2), Vitamin D-2 Supplement, Folic Acid.

    Best wishes,


  • Report Abuse

    Posted by elninodaniel at 08/01/13 23:51:53

    Cruelty free meat is an oxymoron. I looked into it too, and even went so far as to inquire whether the venison used in dog food is hunted deer or slaughterhouse deer, my theory being that I was more comfortable buying venison from hunted deer rather than slaughterhouses. By the way, the venison used in dog food comes from slaughterhouses.

    In my investigating, I learned that dogs are opportunistic eaters-- they'll eat meat if it's available but don't need it. A well balanced vegan diet is just fine. People use the argument that dogs NEED meat and point to wolves hunting to prove their point. Dogs are NOT WOLVES! When is the last time you saw an average pet dog hunt and kill a buffalo, or a deer, or even catch a fish? They'll eat buffalo meat or venison or fish if they find it on the street, and they might even kill and eat a chicken if they get their paws on it. But they don't need it to survive, and they can still thrive on a well balanced vegan diet. And to the naysayers who claim it's "cruel" to not give dogs meat, I say to them, at least coming from someone like myself who adopted a dog rather than purchased one, that millions of dogs are euthanized every year by animal shelters. The fact that I prevented my dog having the same fate and he is now alive and loved and well-taken care of, on a nutritious vegan diet, is not "cruel." He is certainly not dead, and is in fact perfectly healthy and happy. But the truth is, I'm not overly concerned about my dog eating or not eating meat-- I just refuse to use my money to buy it. I don't buy meat for myself or my dog because I don't want to contribute to the cruelty of any animals. I've found that there's absolutely no need to compromise my values when it comes to purchasing dog food, any more so than my own food. Now, if you have cats, that's another story. I'm allergic to cats, so I don't have to think about that moral dilemma... from what I know, they actually do need meat, and in fact even house cats are very agile hunters.

    So, as far as what I feed my dog-- I found a great company called V-Dog, based in Sacramento. I highly recommend them. Unlike Natural Balance, which does not have quite the same quality of nutrition, V-Dog strictly makes strictly vegan dog food products, so they pour all their resources into only making vegan dog food. My dog loves it, and I'd say he's probably looking even healthier than he did before. When you transition, don't do it abruptly-- do it over a couple weeks.

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    Posted by Worldly Wags at 10/18/13 05:27:03

    Hello! I had the same dilemma with my aussies...I found cooking for them to be the best option, and of course it was vegan :)

    Here's how:

    This way you will have complete control over your two year old's diet! It takes a little more time, but is totally worth it :) Good luck!

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by TofuMadness at 06/18/14 21:37:11

    If you ask me, feeding a dog the same dry food day in and day that is likely full of lifeless ingredients is cruel.

    As for those who insist dogs need meat to thrive - I once read a very good article on this subject (sorry, can't remember where) explaining that dogs or wolves in the wild eat fresh (as in still warm) meat and chew on fresh bones. The meat in dog food is hardly of this quality and there is no way to provide it, aside from giving your dog a fresh kill. What quality could possibly come from meat that is factory produced, cooked, dried and put in a bag where is supposedly "fresh" for months.

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    Posted by SandieF at 01/29/15 13:54:49

    I have to be extremely careful going totally vegan with my diabetic dog. He had five big seizures in two days after I cut his meat. He can't have soy or beans. I think we've settled on a good amount of protein from eggs from a nearby farm and some carefully selected protein sources.

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