Dogs being fed a plant-based diet with none of the top allergens in the food (beef, dairy, wheat, lamb, egg. chicken, soy, pork, corn, rabbit and fish) will definitely stop scratching if the primary agent is a food allergy to the one of the protein molecules mentioned. Food allergies tend to develop in young dogs who have been fed the same food over a period of time and it tends to show as an otitis (recurrent itchy ears and ear infections).
Dogs that suffer with atopy – a form of allergy where your pet is allergic to more than one environmental allergen, and where they tend to bite or chew their paws; will also do much better on a plant-based homemade diet than on a commercial hydrolysed protein dog food diet. Any dry food or kibble diets are made to last for a period of time on the shelf and they can carry storage mites that your atopic dog may react to especially if they suffer with the most common of all – a house dust mite allergy. A homemade diet immediately removes this concern and is far more palatable to your pet than a commercial hydrolysed diet. Purina Hypoallergenic HA food that most vets recommend, contains sugar as one of its ingredients to improve its palatability – this is not acceptable to sustain or even feed our dogs on a diet that has refined sugar as one of its ingredients!
Plant-based diets can also be made to be more beneficial to the skin barrier function (that is normally compromised in our itchy atopic pets who constantly chew and lick their paws), as they can have the addition of the purest form of EPA and DHA as Omega 3 Algae oil supplements as well as the addition of healthy skin function minerals such as Biotin, Zinc and Vitamin E. It is easier to find these in plant-based healthy homemade plant-based diets than in commercial dry foods where they are added in as supplements rather than coming straight from the plant source. Anything that strengthens the important skin barrier is vital to stop your itchy pet from scratching – we feel plant-based diets offer the kindest most sustainable solution.
Sadly most vets will tell you the only way they have been taught – to feed a novel protein to your dog instead of a plant-based diet. These ‘novel proteins’ ie proteins that your itchy pet may never have come into contact with before, offer non-sustainable and unkind options. These pet foods may contain duck or deer or rabbit or as in the case of Royal Canin Anallergenic, broken down chicken feathers, or ‘hydrolysed protein by-product aggregates’ as they state on their packaging! As animal lovers, we don’t even want to imagine how these beautiful animals used in novel diets are transported and slaughtered just to feed our itchy pets.
Another source of protein in most commercial skin-based dog foods is fish – either as the main protein source or as oils. We know that in our current climate emergency that we are facing, that there is no such thing as ‘sustainable fishing’. We have to protect our oceans and our marine life who rely on the small fish that are usually used in most pet foods, so yet again a plant-based diet for our itchy pets is the most sustainable option.
As vets become aware of the benefits of plant-based diets, we remain confident that the thinking will change, but for now, please be patient with your vet and gently explain your vegan dog food choices. Stick to what you know and have learnt about feeding your pet sustainably and kindly.
The maned wolf really blows the theory of our pet dogs needing meat in their diet completely out the water
There is evidence to prove that a plant-based diet that is properly balanced whether dry or homemade is kinder for your dog
Is a Vitamin B12 deficiency the reason why your dog eats soil?
We have Bramble the dog who wanted to live forever as proof that vegan diets help our pets live longer healthier lives
An online survey in 2019 revealed that around one in three owners may be willing to consider switching to a vegan diet for their pet in the future
This is one of our biggest concerns as pet owners that we are not getting the balance just right for the health of our pet
When we choose to change our dogs onto a vegan diet, worrying about what other people think is a huge concern to us
There is a very easy way to get your vet on your side straight away when you switch your dog to a vegan diet
Making homemade vegan dog food or Umameo treats offers the perfect opportunity to make a difference in your community
You are being a compassionate owner by feeding your dog a plant-based diet
My dog only likes to eat meat and chicken, how do I know that she will like a vegan diet?
If you calculate the amount you currently spend on dog food and treats for your pet, we can assure you that you can afford it