ARE YOU INTERESTED IN FEEDING YOUR DOG A 100% BALANCED PLANT-BASED DIET?
Like you, we love our little family dog Ruff more than we can imagine. He has been our rock throughout 2020, and as a family of vets (mum and dad) and professional vegan children, we all want the best for him. As a family, we care deeply about doing what is best not just for our pets, but for our future planet too as we emerge from the pandemic caring more deeply about our natural world and working towards David Attenborough’s mission statement.
As Germany is far more advanced with plant-based feeding in dogs compared to the UK; we feel quite humbled and very fortunate to work with the 2 top vet nutritionists in Germany to bring you balanced plant-based recipes using supplements formulated by these veterinary nutritionists who like us are passionate about plant-based feeding in dogs and getting it 100% right.
But nutrition is not everything, we also appreciate that our own little Ruff needs to love his food…….and my goodness he does! He goes mad for the homemade food we make for him, he just loves the all the dry complete foods that are available, and he adores the homemade Umameo treats that we make for him.
He flies into the house after a walk to literally hoover down his food and this is what we find the most satisfying as a family!
We had to get it 100% right for our own little Ruff, and we want to share all our nutrition knowledge, dry foods we feed Ruff, and homemade balanced family recipes with you.
WHAT CAN GO WRONG?
Daniella Dos Santos, the president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) states that “It is theoretically possible to feed a dog a vegetarian diet, but it’s much easier to get it wrong than to get it right,” she says. “You would have to do it under the supervision of a veterinary-trained nutritionist.”
A Vegetarian Diet for Dogs
Dogs are omnivores and can adapt to a well-balanced vegetarian diet. There is a wider range of commercially prepared ‘complete’ vegetarian dog foods available and for the majority of owners this is the safest way to feed a vegetarian diet.
Vegan diets for Pets
Vegan foods (no animal products) should be carefully checked by a vet or animal nutritionist as they may be deficient in arginine, lysine, methionine, tryptophan, taurine, iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin A and some B vitamins. Meticulous attention to detail would be needed to assure nutritional adequacy and palatability.
Home Prepared Vegetarian Diets for Dogs
Studies have shown that nutritional errors are commonplace in many homemade diets; providing a nutritionally balanced, homemade vegetarian diet is a complicated task that would require meticulous planning and a specific formulation from a vet or animal nutritionist. A survey of 86 vegetarian dogs in Germany, Switzerland and Belgium found that over 50% of the dogs were fed diets deficient in protein, essential amino acids, calcium, zinc and vitamins D and B12. Dietary deficiencies can have a significant impact on long term health and well-being.
The last thing that you want as a dog owner, and me as a vet, is to cause harm to your pet. Any unbalancing of nutrients, deficiencies or excesses of nutrients can cause harm. For example:
The main source of protein in a vegan dog food diet comes from legumes, peas or soya and these tend to produce phytates that lower the absorption of important nutrients such as Zinc and Taurine. These need to be supplemented but in just the right proportions to make up for this shortage, or certain dog breeds may be more prone to developing Dilated Cardiomyopathy.
A plant-based diet tends to result in a very alkaline environment in the intestines, and in the bladder. This can result in your dog suffering from urinary tract infections with resulting bladder stones, and this condition is extremely painful for your dog. Some owners add apple cider vinegar to homemade food to attempt to balance this, but cider vinegar actually turns alkaline in the intestines so has the opposite effect! The addition of one of the sulphur amino acids methionine, is the most important way to acidify your dog’s urine. This is found in the foods we recommend as well as in the supplement we use in our homemade recipes.
There is enough calcium in many of the green leafy foods that we recommend in our homemade diets, but it can only be properly absorbed with the addition of just the right amount of Vitamin D. Your dog may get enough Vitamin D if taken for a few hours walk a day, but for most of our dogs (and us too) this just does not happen. A lack of calcium in your dog’s body can cause so many painful arthritis issues as well as heart issues and again, it is SO important to supplement correctly.
” If you are not using a commercially prepared complete vegan dog food, with a formal analysis that you can check for nutritional completeness, be very careful that you are meeting a dog’s nutritional requirements. Months after starting to feed Nancy on home-cooked meals without a supplement (and thinking that we had researched and understood her nutritional requirements), she started to become unwell. She had increasingly worrying congitive and physical symptoms that could have been put down to her age (doggy dementia).
It turned out that she had insufficient Vitamin D in her diet, causing her to have problems with processing of available Calcium (which WAS already present in her vegan diet in sufficient quantities). Tested calcium levels in her blood samples were worryingly low. Some of our misunderstanding about Vitamin D was thinking that it was present in things such as tofu (it’s not in the UK, unless fortified).
From this point on, we have always added a supplement to her meals.”
ARE YOU READY TO TURN YOUR DOG PLANT-BASED WITH ALL OUR HELP?
“Yes I undoubtedly would recommend this package. The food along with the recipes are so easy to make. My dog loves it. I feel very confident she is getting all that she needs to thrive. This vet is so helpful and knowledgeable I feel very safe in her hands. I wish I had had her advice when I was first transitioning my 30kg dog as it’s quite scary and you only want the best for them.
My dog Dora is thriving I’m so glad I came across this wonderful website! Just be kind to your dog other animals and the planet!”
“I cannot recommend this package highly enough! This vegan vet really knows her stuff, and the recipes, nutritional info, and foods have been so helpful to me and my dogs. They absolutely love the food and their overall health and energy levels have never been better.”
“We’re delighted to have transitioned our two rescue greyhounds (overnight!) onto a plant based diet thanks to Arielle, Vegan Vet. We obtained the package and starting with our first recipe, our dogs loved everything. We now have a supply of food and supplements, we’re enjoying making the food and thrilled to watch April and June eating their meals with enthusiasm and licking their bowls clean. We are so grateful to have found Vegan Vet and to have a professional fully embrace this lifestyle will hopefully bring credibility and encourage other professionals to investigate this compassionate option. Thank you!”
” I just wanted to let you know that yesterday was Jeffrey, Peggy and Betty’s first full vegan day.
They all seem to really enjoy their Green Crunch, I also add some homemade food for variation.
Not a runny poo in sight and the dreaded occasional ‘bum smell’ from anal glands seems to have disappeared too. The photo shows the 3 of them, heads down, bums up, even Jeffrey (the fawn one) who is as picky as they come!”