New Research Suggests Dogs Can Thrive on a Plant-Based Diet

darwin-the-dog-plant-based-dietFeeding dogs a plant-based diet isn’t a new idea. After all, if major dog food brands a la Natural Balance are offering vegan formulas, clearly there’s something to be said for canines skipping out on meat, eggs, and dairy. Research, however, hasn’t caught up to what many dog owners already know … until now.

Dogg Canine Nutrition Company, based in British Columbia, just completed the world’s first-ever fresh, whole, plant-based, at-home canine feeding trial. As part of the program, 20 randomly selected dogs ate a vegan diet for 12 weeks.  The awesome news: all of the pooches who completed the trial transitioned to their new diet without any issues, and many improved medically while on it.

While the company isn’t making any broad claims about the trial — since it’s just the first of many — the results point to a bright future for vegan canines.

“At this early stage and since this is only our first trial, we feel it would not be in integrity for Dogg to make any claims or statements to the general public regarding the efficacy of a 100% plant-based diet for dogs,” Dogg founder Laura Simonson tells Latest Vegan News. “However, we are very confident in our first formulation (which was developed with a Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionist) due to the results of the first trial, and from observing the dogs who have continued to thrive on the foods the past two to three months.”

More trials are in the works, after which they’ll publish the results.

“There’s no question; the next evolution of plant-based living is ‘positively’ going to the dogs,” adds Simonson. “You don’t have to be a futurist to see the massive trend toward sustainable agriculture and plant-based diets for humans. Therefore, in my opinion, it’s only natural for all the right reasons that we will extend our dietary habits to our dogs, since they’re considered non-obligate carnivores.

For anyone interested in the details, there are some case studies of the canine participants posted online.

“The most exciting improvements we saw were in those pets with food hypersensitivities problems demonstrated as either skin or gastrointestinal ailments,” said supervising veterinarian Dr. Gavin Myers, in a statement. “In small animal veterinary medicine this subset of patients account for a large majority of the cases we see everyday, therefore having an extra tool at our disposal to manage these animals is greatly welcomed.”

Considering how many dogs also suffer from chronic ailments common to humans — many of which can be prevented or reversed with a plant-based diet — there are lots of reasons for optimism about the health of our canine companions.

So far, Dogg’s foods are available only through its partner veterinarians and clinics in Vancouver. But there are other veg-friendly formulas out there for dog owners — and there’s always the option of making your own food. Simonson recommends the website BalanceIt.com for recipes and supplement info. In the future, Dogg will also publish its proven formulation, providing all of the ingredients, supplements and amounts for those who want to prepare the food themselves.

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Hannah Sentenac, Editor-in-Chief

Hannah Sentenac, Editor-in-Chief

A wizard of words, lover of all living things and vegan mac 'n cheese master, Hannah is the Editor-In-Chief and Founder of LatestVeganNews.com. Her writing has appeared in Live Happy magazine, the Miami New Times, OneGreenPlanet.com, MindBodyGreen.com, and numerous other publications and websites. She's obsessed with Cocowhip, Just Mayo and Dandies marshmallows, and is totally addicted to the outdoors. You can reach Hannah directly at hannah.sentenac@gmail.com.

8 Responses

  1. M. Katz says:

    I have fed my dog friends a vegan diet (100%) with vegan supplements for 35 years. That is at least 10 dogs their whole life and many more that were rescues that we re-homed. They all did fine and lived long healthy happy lives. I’ve done the experiment.

    • Michelle says:

      Is there any chance you could share the details here? Recipe of what you make to feed them and how much each day? I’m definitely going to start my dogs on a vegan diet, but I’m not sure of how to get started. Thank you

    • Jennifer says:

      Yes, please share with us what you feed your dog. 🙂

  2. Lauren says:

    How about support for cats on a vegan diet? The 3 who live with me are living proof! One is diabetic and hopefully his diabetes will be reversed as time goes on. They love the Ami vegan cat food, and prefer it over the new Evolution grain free flavor. Sometimes 2 of them will eat the Evolution, but all devour the Ami. They only like the dry food so far, not the wet and I haven’t made any recipes yet from the Vegecat supplement stuff I got them. They didn’t like the older 2 flavors of Evolution that aren’t grain free (gourmet pasta and cheezeburger. We have not tried Benevo dry food yet because it doesn’t come in a small trial size. They don’t throw up as many hairballs now and don’t throw up the disgusting, meat based Orijen crap they were on before because they eat the Ami instead. The only problem now though is my non-vegan mom who feeds them meat based gross canned food. Hopefully someone will hire me soon at a job so I can move and take them with me.

  3. Diana says:

    Excellent! Well done <3 Thank you for your work.

  4. pitbull friend says:

    M. Katz: Yes, indeed! I’ve done it, too! For 15 years, I’ve fed my dogs and my foster dogs a vegan diet using Nature’s Recipe, Natural Balance, or V-dog vegan kibble supplemented with whatever fruit, veg, or grains I’m making for myself. They’ve done beautifully on it. The one dog who had allergies (a malamute mix) had no further symptoms and lived to be 17. It’s such a pleasure to see them cruelty-free and HEALTHIER than other dogs!

  5. Clare Mann says:

    My dogs are thriving on a vegan diet – one is a shepherd/kelpie of 13 and the other a goldie of 12 years. Veganpet Dog food in Australia helped our 12 year old shepherd/Kelpie who was rescued from a hoarding situation and who, on a vegan diet, had her hair grow back, her weight increase and her live to 17 years. Previous diets had dont nothing to help her condition after rescue – and I am sure she would still be with us had she not had such neglect for so many years. Way to go – feeding companion animals without abusing other animals in factory farms.

  6. Jennifer says:

    I got my dog two years before I became vegan. He had terrible ear infections. We took him to the vet and she thought it was a reaction to his food. We also noticed he ate very little when we fed him, like just enough to survive. We got him a vegan dog food by Natural Balance, a brand recommended by our vet, and he scarfed it down the first time he had it. Now he’s free of ear infections, enjoys his food, and is a healthy and happy doggie!

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