If you’re a vegan dog owner, you probably feel guilty about feeding your pooch meat.
Can you feed your pet a nutritionally balanced plant-based diet?
The answer’s more complicated than you think.
Vegan dog food is a topic for hot debate as people hold strong views on the matter. Pet owners that want to eliminate meat from their pet’s meals must do so carefully and under the supervision of a vet.
We’ve reviewed 5 of the best vegan dog foods, carefully designed to meet your dog’s nutritional needs, saving you time and money.
We also look into what you should be looking for in vegan foods and advantages of using them.
In a hurry? Here are the top 3 vegan dog foods our experts chose:
Our top picks
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Which Is The Best Vegan Dog Food?
Before we go into the details of what you should look for, advantages of using it and debunking myths, we present you the top 5 vegan dog foods in the UK:
Yarrah Organic Dry Food is a tried and tested product that vegan dogs enjoy. The completely vegetarian meal contains zero meat or animal by-products. It’s also packed with essential ingredients that canines require daily.
White lupine is one of the primary ingredients, providing your pet with vital amino acids that promote normal body functioning and better vitality. Other notable elements include baobab that contains healthy doses of calcium and potassium, respectively.
Organic seaweed is also incorporated into the recipe. Seafood is considered a superfood for dogs and helps strengthen the immune system. It also remedies skin conditions and adds a glossy shine to the fur.
If no other hypoallergenic dog foods work, switching to vegan dog food might be the solution to your pet’s health issues.
Since Yarrah products contain no additives or GMOs, your dog is at less of a risk of contracting life-threatening diseases. Claims by the producers of this brand are that the kibble is healthy, easy to digest.
One downfall is that your dog might experience increased flatulence when you first introduce the food to your pet. However, the trick is to incorporate the food slowly.
Dogs are sensitive to new food, so abrupt diet changes cause digestive upsets.
- Vegan and wheat-free
- Suitable for adult dogs
- Plant based proteins: soya beans and white lupine
- 10 kg bag
What we liked
- Free from artificial additives
- Increased flatulence
Finding vegan dog food that’s healthy for your canine friend and full of flavour is challenging. However, Benevo has successfully produced an award-winning vegetarian food approved by vets, qualified pet nutritionists, and pets.
Organisations like PETA recognise this product for their efforts. Additionally, Benovo is declared as the most ethical dog food in Europe. As a vegan, knowing this will give you peace of mind that you’ve bought a product that supports all animals.
Besides being anti-animal cruelty, Benevo contains a wealth of ingredients that promote your dog’s health.
The product is meatless, wheat-free, and filled with vegan-friendly proteins, vitamins and minerals. Supplements such as taurine and L-carnitine are also added to the mix.
Not only is this product suitable for dogs of vegan guardians, but also animals who can’t digest animal protein. Dog owners have reported a significant improvement in their animals after switching to a meat-free alternative. After feeding on it, your dog is likely to become more energised than before.
Dogs with digestive issues may also benefit from eating Benevo products. The dog food formula contains prebiotic FOS. FOS improves gut health by fighting harmful bacteria, supporting good bacteria, and staving off disease.
One minor pitfall relates to stool. You might notice that your dog’s faeces are larger than usual. However, this isn’t cause for concern, unless accompanied by pain or constipation.
- Specialised wheat-free recipe
- Zero GM ingredients
- Contains FOS, L-carnitine and taurine
- 15 kg bag
What we liked
- PETA approved
- Nutritionally balanced
- Larger stool
One major difference that Green Petfood has over other vegan brands is the protein used. Instead of soya, red lentils are incorporated into Green Petfood’s specialised formula.
This inclusion is highly beneficial for dogs with soy allergies or canines who have reacted poorly to other vegetarian or vegan kibble.
Take a look at the ingredient’s list. You’ll find that the recorded nutrients are all essential and free of harmful fillers.
The top ingredients, namely protein, crude fibre, and fat, are provided at the required levels necessary to optimise your dog’s health. Therefore, by purchasing Green Petfood, you’re feeding your pets a nutritionally balanced meal.
If your precious fur child has food allergies that have negatively impacted his quality of life, this lentil-infused kibble may put a stop to discomfort, pain, and sickness.
Take a mental note that the product is dubbed 99.99%. The remaining 0.01% comprises Vitamin D3, which is derived from lanolin.
As you may know, lanolin usually comes from sheep’s wool. This fact may be concerning if you’re a strict vegan.
You might also want to think twice about purchasing this product if you own a miniature breed. Extra-small dogs struggle to crunch down on the kibble. However, you can add water to soften the dry food if you want to give it a try and feed your fur child this brand.
- Red lentil based vegan food
- Comprises vital nutrients, including taurine, L-carnitine, and more
- 10 kg bag
What we liked
- Gluten Free
- Free of harmful fillers
- 99.99% vegan
Are you looking for a meat-free alternative dog food that your pet will enjoy? V-Dog Dog Food provides the whole package.
From an ethical standpoint, this product ticks the boxes for human vegans. It’s produced without harming other animals and won't jeopardise your pet’s health.
In fact, some dogs may benefit without meat in their diets. Drastic improvements in vitality have been reported, where old pooches with mobility issues or lethargy gain energy and move with less difficulty.
Vegan dog food must contain all the vital ingredients for nutritionally dense meals. V-Dog food has passed this test with flying colours. Various veterinarians and vegan groups approve the brand, and the nutrients included.
Apart from being meat-free, one noticeable difference between this product and ordinary kibble is the flakes. They take on a unique appearance like rabbit food which may be alarming.
The crumbly texture of the flakes is easier to break down for pets with dental issues. However, crumbs can be messy. You can prevent messes by investing in larger bowls or by placing something over your floors for easier clean-ups.
Most breeds enjoy the taste better with dog-friendly veggies and fruit added to the mix.
- Traditional vegan flakes
- Contains healthy ingredients
- Packed with essential vitamins and minerals
- 15 kg bag
What we liked
- Improved mobility
- Energised dogs
- Dry textures
- Crumbly flakes
Smaller dogs enjoy AMI Dog Food as a wholesome meal. This brand can be enjoyed on its own or mixed with another feed to diversify the taste. Either way, your dog will feel satisfied after his meal and experience healthy bowel movements afterwards.
The ingredient’s list inspires confidence as only natural nutrients are used. There isn’t any meat, animal by-products or cheap fillers added to the formula. Have peace of mind knowing that your dog won’t suffer from ill health on AMI vegan dog food.
Important components to the food include peas which comprise vitamins A, K and B, as well as immunity enhancing minerals. The addition of linseed provides fatty oils that your dog requires for a healthy coat.
Being a meat-and-grain-free product makes AMI dog food a superior hypoallergenic brand for dogs with food allergies. By opting for this dog food, you’re making your pet’s nutrition a priority.
Another advantage to AMI dog food is that dogs will eat it as dry or wet food. If your dog goes crazy for the latter, just add water. You’ll also find this beneficial for older dogs that struggle to chew hard kibble in their senior years.
While this dog food is perfectly suitable for adult dogs, it’s not for puppies. Wait until your fur baby is fully grown before making that change.
- Small dog vegan food
- Healthy and balanced
- Served dry or wet
What we liked
- Nutritionally dense
- Not for puppies
Debunking The Myths About Vegan Dog Foods
The vegan lifestyle has become hugely popular, and studies have shown the countless benefits of not eating animal protein for humans. However, vegan dog food continues to face intense scrutiny by critics.
As a vegan, you probably face a moral quandary every time you feed your dog meat. So the question on everyone’s lips is:
Is a vegetarian or vegan diet for dogs safe?
The short answer is yes. That said, there are a few things responsible dog owners should learn first.
Myth: Dogs are only carnivores
The argument frequently used by those opposed to vegan diets is that dogs are descendants of wolves. We all know wolves need meat to survive.
While dogs possess similar traits to wolves; for example, both have canines to tear into animal flesh, there are key differences.
Dogs are classified as omnivores because they can metabolise starch derived from plants better than their counterparts.
The reason for this is evolutionary. In the past, wild dogs were fed scraps by humans. These scraps included a mix of vegetables, plants, and meat.
Myth: It’s not possible for dogs to get enough protein from vegetables alone
Concerns usually raised by dog owners is that vegan dog food in the UK can’t provide nutritionally balanced meals without meat.
There’s some merit in this thinking. However, a few premium-grade commercial dog foods have risen to meet the challenge.
Do you want to feed your dog a plant-based diet? Consult with your local vet first. Ask for their recommendations. Stick to commercial brands instead of making your own as it’s easy to make mistakes.
Advantages Of Vegan Dog Food
Animal and ecologically-friendly
People adopt a vegan diet for their pets for both health and ethical reasons.
If you are part of the latter group, you probably have a weighted conscience about two things: feeding your dog animal protein and the impact that meat production has on the environment.
Producing meat-based dog foods doesn't only include invasive and harmful animal husbandry, but the ecological impact is extensive.
Thus, transitioning to vegan dog food will help to reduce your pet’s paw print.
Have you noticed symptoms, such as scratching, vomiting, yeast infections or fur loss in your dog?
The food your pup eats may be causing these health concerns. Animal proteins - beef, chicken, dairy and eggs may trigger some allergies. Though, true meat allergy in canines are uncommon.
Adjusting your dog’s food is vital to remedy their discomfort. Vegan dog food might be an option because it doesn’t contain the aforementioned proteins.
Higher quality of life
There’s growing evidence that vegan dogs might be living longer lives and are less susceptible to diseases. The reason for this is that plant-based food for pooches contains clean nutrients.
Unfortunately, certain meat-based brands are made cheaply. It’s not uncommon for them to contain unidentifiable by-products.
These by-products aren’t only unfit for consumption. Feeding your dog kibble like this is a dangerous health hazard that can be fatal.
What Should Vegan Dog Food Include?
Not all vegan dog foods are equal; some are better than others. Proteins, sufficient minerals and vitamins, fatty acids and fibre are just some of the ingredients that must be included in vegan dog food.
In terms of protein, pooches require ten amino acids (the building blocks of protein). Vegan kibble must include all of them.
Taurine and L-carnitine are other amino acids needed for heart health and fat metabolism, respectively. Both can be produced using vegan products.
Vegetarian dog diets must contain adequate amounts of vitamins D and B12. These vitamins are missing in most plant products.
Vitamin B12 is needed to promote the nervous system. Vitamin B12 can be derived from non-animal supplements.
Beynen in his 2017 research paper recommends 495 IU vitamin D3/kg, 30 µg vitamin B12/kg in dry dog foods for vegetarain diets.
The difficulty in feeding your dog vegan food is ensuring they receive nutritionally-complete meals. Homemade recipes are advised against because too much of one ingredient can result in health issues.
If the vegan feed is nutritiously dense, it may be healthier than some meat-based dog food. Vegan dog food is generally cleaner and free of harmful animal by-products.
Like dog food made from meat, vegan dog meals must comprise specific ingredients to meet FEDIAF’s nutritional requirements.
Proteins, such as red lentils, koji and lupine beans are often used, as well as a multitude of veggies, fruit, nuts and vegetable oils.
There are some fierce competitors.
That being said, Yarrah Vegan Dog Food has our vote. The product contains zero animal-derivative ingredients, and also includes an array of superfoods such as organic seafood and baobab.
In short, it’s incredibly nutritious while also receiving your dog’s approval for taste.
Haven't decided yet? Here is the top 5 in a nutshell:
Our Top Picks
- Wheat-free Recipe
- No GM Ingredients
- Added Taurine and L-Carnitine
- Gluten free complete food made from red lenses.
- 100% vegetarian, 99.99% vegan (contains 0.01% vitamin D3 from lanolin)
- For your adult dogs, ideal for your sensitive four-legged pets with...
- Complete Dog Food: V-Dog Traditional Flake food contains all the nutrients...
- Sensitive Dog Food: Our meat free and dairy free recipe is also free from...
- Formulated by Animal Nutritionists: Dogs are omnivores and can survive on...
- Vegan complete food.
- Can be mixed with water, used as a wet food
- Good compatibility.
So, which one is your favourite?
Give yourself a pat on the back for doing a paw-some job to get to learn all about vegan dog foods.
If you made up your mind, why not let us know your choice in the comments section below.
Sharing is caring
Share this article with your friends to help inspire other pet parents for a reduced paw-print on the environment and less animal cruelty with vegan food.
- Axelsson, E., Ratnakumar, A., Arendt, M. et al. The genomic signature of dog domestication reveals adaptation to a starch-rich diet. Nature 495, 360–364 (2013).Nature.com
- Beynen, Anton. (2017). Vegetarian petfoods. 10.13140/RG.2.2.28848.35846.Researchgate.net
- Knight A, Leitsberger M. Vegetarian versus Meat-Based Diets for Companion Animals. Animals (Basel). 2016;6(9):57. Published 2016 Sep 21. doi:10.3390/ani6090057Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov