Happy Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day!

One of the most common questions we receive here at Farm Sanctuary is whether or not it is ethical and safe to feed your dog a vegan diet. In honor of International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day, we’ve consulted experts in the field of companion-animal health and have also compiled some personal stories from Farm Sanctuary staff members with vegan furry friends!

Here’s some information on the makings of a balanced dog diet, plus a plant-based dog biscuit recipe that your four-legged friend is sure to love.

FAQs

  • Is a vegan diet safe for dogs?
    • Experts in nutrition and veterinarians agree that a plant-based diet for dogs can be safe as long as it is complete, balanced, and includes all of the essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that they need.
    • Quotes from the experts:
      • “[T]he complete and balanced pet foods are formulated to meet a pet’s complete nutritional needs. So the things that are missing, that would be present in animal foods, are added to these vegetarian diets. A lot of people feel very strongly that pets should not be fed vegetarian diets, but it is possible to have a pet food that meets nutritional requirements using only vegetarian ingredients and those products are on the market.”
        Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH
      • “The important thing is that you use a diet that has been shown to be nutritionally adequate for whatever stage of life you’re feeding, and it is absolutely possible to find a good quality commercial pet food that doesn’t have animal products in it.”
        Kathryn E. Michel, B.A. , D.V.M., M.S.
      • “Most dogs can benefit from a vegan diet. Thanks to ten thousand years of evolution alongside humankind, dogs are now physiologically omnivores. This means they can thrive on a nutritionally balanced plant-based food.”
        Lorelei Wakefield, VMD
      • So, what do I feed my newly plant-based dog?
        • There are many options for plant-based commercial dog food out there. Some popular brands are V-dog and Natural Balance Vegetarian Formula. You can also consider cooking homemade meals for your dogs, although it is highly recommended that you consult your dog’s veterinarian before making any dietary changes in order to ensure that all of his or her dietary needs are being met. You can also add supplements to ensure that your canine friend gets all of the essential nutrients he or she needs. Examples include Green Mush or adding ingredients like flax oil and chia seeds.
      • What foods should my dog avoid?
        • Some foods that are okay for humans can be toxic for dogs. These include (but are not limited to) onions, avocados, grapes and raisins, chocolate (or anything else containing caffeine), macadamia nuts, garlic, pits from peaches or plums, and human vitamin supplements containing iron. Please consult your vet and do research on other potentially hazardous foods, and if you are unsure, always ask a professional.

A look at Farm Sanctuary staff members and their (vegan!) furry friends:

“About two years ago, I started to question why I as a vegan was still buying meat for my dogs. They hated their kibble anyway; why not give vegan food a try? Not so surprisingly, they ate it (after I poured in some nutritional yeast and some vegan butter). And as a result, both dogs, one of whom who was called obese and the other who had begun to experience premature arthritis, are fitter and healthier than ever. Our vet didn’t bat an eyelash when I mentioned I’d begun to feed them vegan food. The proof was there in front of him. “ —Lindsay

“Goliath has been vegan for about seven years and Napoleon has been since I rescued him about five years ago. Since they’ve been vegan, they’ve been really healthy and active. Goliath has never had to go to the vet for anything other than her regular checkups. Both have had regular blood work and are in great nutritional health. They are super active and love going for walks and hikes. They’re just the most wonderful little dudes in the world” —Breezy

How to celebrate National Dog Biscuit Day with compassion

Animal advocate, author, and Farm Sanctuary Board Member Tracey Stewart features these Pumpkin Dog Biscuits in her wonderful book Do Unto Animals: A Friendly Guide to How Animals Live, and How We Can Make Their Lives Better.

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Also: these super-simple and healthy dog biscuits are made with only three wholesome ingredients. You can also add mint for fresh breath, flax oil for a shiny coat, and chia seeds for added protein! Pug-tested, dog-mom approved!

 

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