Essential Amino Acids
A dog food which consists of 18% protein from meat may be adequate to meet your dogs protein requirements, whereas a dog food which has 18% protein from plants may not be adequate. When choosing vegan dog food, choose options with higher protein percentages and add supplements to homecooked food to compensate for the lower assimilation of vegetable proteins.
About 30% of protein goes towards maintaining skin and coat, so the first sign of a protein deficiency in your dog will probably be a poor coat.
There are 23 amino acids which dogs need. Of these, 10 are essential amino acids, meaning that your dog must obtain them through food. The other 13 amino acids are non-essential for dogs. This does not mean that dogs do not need them. It just means that dogs can manufacture them out of the essential amino acids.
The 10 essential amino acids are: arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.
According to the European Pet Food Industry Fediaf, they state that –
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.
With this in mind, we have concentrated on ensuring that our homemade recipes contain all the amino acids that Fediaf are concerned could be lacking in a vegan dog food diet.
The extra essential nutrients such as taurine, l-carnitine, methionine and tryptophan have all been added to the supplements that we recommend.
Remember that overdosing of certain vitamins and minerals can be as dangerous as not supplementing at all so use the powder supplements only with homemade food in the required range – not a lot of powder is generally needed as homemade food is so nutritious, but that small addition can make all the difference to your pet’s health.
Read all about Rupert who suffered from painful crystals in his bladder from eating a diet that lacked the addition of the amino acid methionine (normally found in meat) that helps to acidify a plant-based dog food diet urinary tract environment.
Methionine is so important and added to the supplements, but in just the right proportions as too much can also be harmful to your pet, so only add the supplement to the homemade food.