Have you ever wondered if a plant-based / vegan diet would be suitable for your pup? Let’s tackle some of the pressing concerns most owners have.
Where Will My Pet get its Protein?
What does a 390kg Gorilla eat? Or a 2.3 ton White Rhino? How do these large powerful creatures get all their strength and size by eating plants?
First, we need to understand what protein actually is. Protein is made up of Amino Acids. There are 10 essential and 11 non-essential amino acids for dogs. Non-essential amino acids can be made by the dog's body while 10 essential amino acids must come from food.
All 10 essential amino acids required by dogs are available in plants! This means with a balanced diet there is no need to consume meat to be healthy!
In fact, did you know some conventional meat-based dog foods contain up to 90% vegan products in the form of veggies and fillers? However, these fillers are not as clean and healthy as our high-quality plant-based foods specifically formulated for your dog.
The dry dog foods sold by Plant Power Pets contain between 20% and 26% protein and meet AAFCO Guidelines for dog nutrition.
How Does Reducing Meat Affect Sustainability?
12 million. That’s the number of cars it takes to match the carbon dioxide generated to feed Cats and Dogs in the U.S. alone. That would equate to almost 1 Million Cars in Australia and 3 Million Cars in the UK.
It’s not just emissions that add up. There is land use, we could release 75% of occupied land back to bushland and forests if animal agriculture disappeared tomorrow. That’s a staggering amount of land no longer needed by people.
There’s water use too, in a country as dry as Australia, did you know it takes 14,415 litres of water to produce just 1kg of beef? That’s 180 backyard swimming pools per cow! Multiply that by the estimated 26.6 million head of cattle in Australia and you have a whopping amount of water going towards growing beef. And we haven't even touched on dairy.
Is There a Breed that is Better Suited to the Plant-Based Lifestyle?
All domesticated breeds of dog can eat a balanced plant-based diet. Dogs are omnivores and have the ability to extract all essential nutrients from plant sources. Dogs split from wolves some 40,000 years ago. As new breeds of dogs have integrated with humans, they have gained the ability to digest starches and convert amino acids, key indicators that they are omnivorous. In countries such as India where the human population is currently 71% vegetarian, many dogs thrive on a meat-free diet.
Ethics of Feeding a ‘Vegan’ Diet.
There is a two-sided argument which dominates the ethics debate. Is it right to kill one animal to feed another? Are you being cruel by denying your dog its "rightful" diet?
In the former argument, how do we choose between the life of a chicken, cow or dog? Is it right to decide the fate of one animal because of it’s convenience to humans? The nutritional needs of a dog can be met by a well planned balanced plant-based diet thus there is no need to kill any animal.
Alternatively, are we being cruel to dogs by denying its "rightful" diet? A domesticated dogs 'rightful diet' has been whatever humans are serving up as far back as written history. Even a street dog will rely on human scraps. While a feral dog will eat whatever small prey it can find, or scavenged. Along with fallen fruit, dug up vegetables, grasses and herbs. Not to mention totally repugnant matter such as vomit, rotting flesh and faeces. They may also eat only every second or third day.
To answer this, dogs are opportunists who really aren't fussy. They simply require all of their nutritional requirements to be met, and all of our foods achieve this. It might also help to think that the range of flavours, smells and textures that come from plants are exciting and varied. On a plant-based diet, your dog has exciting new flavours like herbs, a huge range of veggies, legumes, seeds and nuts. Isn’t that the spice of life?
A Remarkable Example of Health!
Reports are emerging of dogs suffering human illnesses on modern raw meat and low fibre diets. These include obesity, heart disease and cancers. There is also a consequence of bio-accumulation. This is the compounding of hormones and chemicals in animals at the top of the food chain. We haven’t even touched on the processing practices and poor quality of meats, lack of regulation, or the outbreak of mould and plastic contamination from cattle ear tags in the recent news.
A remarkable example of this health-promoting diet is Bramble, the 27-year-old border collie who ate a diet rich with rice, lentils and organic vegetables.
We do recommend seeing a vet for any breed specific or animal specific concerns when starting a plant-based diet.
A plant-based diet promotes adequate fibre and balanced natural nutrients without the fats, hormones and chemicals present in traditional dog foods.
The plant-based diet can not only lengthen the lifespan of your companion but also increase their agility and energy level. A study of 12 sprint racing huskies, used blood tests to determine no negative effects in the dogs who consumed a plant-based diet. In fact, all of their red blood cell counts increased significantly during the study, thus their fitness and oxygen carrying capacity improved.
Will My Dog Like the Taste?
It can be easier to transition a puppy or younger dog to a plant-based diet than an older adult dog. This is due to the formation of habits and what your dog has come to expect at dinner time.
It’s recommended to transition a dog slowly to a plant-based diet. Read our article on making this transition.
Ultimately, there is a whole new world of flavours and textures for your dog to explore and get used to. Your dog will absolutely love the flavours and textures of the plant world, they just need some time as they grow to love the huge range of flavours of plant-based foods.
Make meals interesting, start with our nutritionally balanced dry dog foods and add some veggies, legumes, even a bit of what you’re having. (Just be aware to avoid Chocolate, Onions, Garlic, Chives, Grapes, Raisins and Macadamia Nuts. )
Older or fussy dogs who are set in their way may reject your efforts. But even if you can get your dog to eat more plant-based foods at meal time you’ll be making a difference in their health and to the environment. Do what you can, but always make sure your dog is eating enough to sustain them.
Comment any other questions or concerns and we’ll answer them.
Be brave, be patient and be creative! You’ll develop a stronger bond with your animal and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing what a difference you’re making to the world.
Like your dog would say, "Thanks for being so Pawesome!"