ATTN: Vegan pet parents/dog companions
I’m prepared to get a plethora of hate and whining about this, but it’s something that is widely ignored and needs to be addressed. I’ll be willing to go further into this, but for now, I’ll keep it short:
Please stop buying cheap commercial dog foods. They are unhealthy for your companion, and contribute to everything you are fighting against. You tell people “Why pet one and eat the other?” yet show extreme speciesism in your choice to adopt (hopefully) a dog and feed it the victims you yourself would never eat. Your choice to have one companion contributes to the torture and slaughter of countless other animals. This is not justified.
Now, onto the solution. We live in an age where there are almost as many alternatives for your companion as there are for you. These are formulated for your dog’s health, are completely safe for their consumption, and have many benefits. Again, there are many options, but I’m going to point out your major two.
Nature’s Recipe - This is most likely your cheapest pre-made option, and is available at PetSmart. This is a very popular brand - but isn’t the best. It does not have a lot of taste, and is very hit or miss with dogs. You will likely need to add extra things to it for them to like it, such as nutritional yeast.
V-Dog - This is the best affordable dog kibble around. Dogs love this stuff. I could spend hours going through posts submitted on their facebook wall. It is made by a wonderful, growing company who is committed to providing delicious, healthy food for your companion. Not only that, they provide free shipping right to your house. You order online, and it shows up on your doorstep. It doesn’t get much more convenient than that. (The bag is compostable, too!)
Keep in mind, you have many more options, feel free to do your own research and see what’s best for your companion’s needs - but please, I beg you, consider the other animals when feeding them. They have the same right to life as your companion, and deserve to be shown the same compassion.
(And before people even try - dogs are domesticated omnivores. Meaning they can be very healthily sustained on a properly balanced herbivorous diet. Please do your research before spouting off about “nature”, because your companion is not a wolf anymore. Thank you.)
I suggest that anyone contemplating feeding their dogs a vegan diet, consider taking the time to research the process of the canine digestive system. A basic overview can be found here. The slides debate the benefits of a feeding a raw diet vs. a dry product, but the emphasis on the topic of carbohydrates can be applied against the high content of which observed in vegan products for canines.
To examine a list of comprehensive analysations for alternative dog food brands, have a look at the Dog Food Advisor. It is an excellent resource for vegans and non-vegans alike.
And can everyone who wants to ‘prove’ that dogs are fine on a veg*n diet stop spouting the ‘dogs are omnivores’ crap? I’m going to assume that anyone who uses that argument (and yes, I’m looking at those ‘scholars’ and ‘biologists’ too) doesn’t know that there are more than one type of carnivore - obligate carnivores, hypercarnivores, mesocarnivores, and hypocarnivores. All carnivores need at least some animal products in their diets in order to get the entire balance of nutrients and vitamins they need to survive and thrive. Domestic dogs, being scavengers, are at most mesocarnivores (diets consisting of 50-70% animal matter/meat) but they are neither hypocarnivores nor omnivores and therefore should not be fed as such.
Dog physiology is not that of an omnivore, but that of a specialized scavenger mesocarnivore. Veg*n diets are not appropriate.
There’s a very simple way of knowing whether the diet you want to feed your animal is appropriate for it - if you didn’t add supplements to it, would the animal still be healthy on it? Well, if you’re feeding your dog nothing but plant material the answer is no, since it cannot utilize all the nutrients in plants without them being processed somehow (and supplemented when processing destroys those nutrients). On the other hand, dogs don’t just do well on all-raw prey-model diets, they absolutely thrive on them. By feeding whole prey or frankenprey (including organs and meat and skin of animals) dogs get the entire range of nutrients and vitamins they need, and the ideal whole-prey model of the diet does not need supplementing.
One of these diets is more appropriate than the other.
And I will come back and say this again - if you knowingly take a carnivore into your home as your pet/companion animal/animal under your care your first and foremost responsibility is to the animal that is living with you. Before all others, that animal comes first, because it is in your hands. It is your obligation to the animal to give it the best life experience possible, and that includes giving it the most appropriate diet you are able to afford. Your personal moral views do not trump your animal’s physiological needs.