Vegan dogs? Many vegan pet parents wonder if their dogs can eat plant based dog food. You will be happy to know that the answer is yes! Just like humans, the scientific community classifies dogs as omnivores. The current practice is to feed our four-legged friends a lot of meat, but evidence shows that dogs can thrive on a meat-free diet.
We were always told that dogs ‘needed meat’ and even that they should go on an ‘all raw meat’ diet. But one of the biggest myths about food allergies in dogs centers on which ingredients are most often to blame. The makers of grain-free dog foods often advertise their products as being a good option for these pets, but research has shown that grains are not the most frequent trigger for dogs. Animal-based proteins are far more problematic!
Contrary to popular belief, complete proteins aren’t only found in animal products. High quality plant proteins such as yeast, fungi, and algae are complete proteins, meaning they contain the 10 essential amino acids a dog needs to obtain from diet. Amino Acids work for dogs in the same way they do for humans. They help dogs build muscle, produce hormones, and fight infection.
Read on to learn more how a plant based diet can help your dog!
Written by Wild Earth Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Ernie Ward.
When we created the world’s first high-protein plant-based dog food in 2019, we knew a lot of dog lovers would be switching from a meat-based diet to Wild Earth.
In March 2020, we decided to ask over 3,000 of our long-term customers how their dogs were doing on a plant-based diet.
We asked about taste, energy, joint health, digestion, stool quality, and 425 dog parents completed the detailed survey.
The results were overwhelmingly positive: 77% had been feeding a meat-based dog food and 86% of them reported a positive health benefit for their dog after switching to Wild Earth!
After switching to Wild Earth:
- Over 50% saw an improvement in their dog’s skin and coat.
- 43% saw a reduction in itching and scratching.
- 54% saw an improvement in their dog’s poop.
- 41% saw a reduction in their dog’s gas.
- 26% saw an improvement in joint health.
- 44% saw an improvement in energy levels.
- 41% saw an improvement in appetite.
- 40% saw an improvement in breath and odor.
We set out to create the healthiest – and tastiest – animal meat-free dog food possible. We knew our unique blend of koji and yeast proteins delivered a delicious and savory flavor that dogs loved in our testing. So did our customers’ dogs.
When we asked, “How does your dog like the taste of Wild Earth?” over 67% replied “Loved it!” and another 25% “Likes it.” That’s about 92% that favor our distinctive flavor, and only 6.2% said “It’s okay” and 1.9% “Doesn’t like it.”
As a veterinarian, a dog food that generates a positive acceptability response in 9 out of 10 dogs is a winner to me!
Digestion, Stool Consistency, and “Gas”
One of the most common questions we get about feeding a dog a plant-based diet is about digestibility. Some dog parents are still concerned that their dog needs animal meat to be healthy. The fact is dogs are omnivores and can thrive on a complete-and-balanced meat-free food. It’s important to remember that ingredients, such as meats or vegetables, are simply “nutrient vessels” that supply the building blocks of growth and health. A dog’s body doesn’t care where these nutrients, including amino acids, fats, minerals, or vitamins, originate. Digestion is the beginning process of unlocking the nutrients contained within ingredients and then using those nutrients to repair, build, or protect the body.
One indicator of digestibility is stool quality and consistency. Over half of our survey respondents reported their dog’s stool consistency was “improved” or “very improved” after feeding Wild Earth. In fact, nearly 20% ranked their dog’s poop as “very improved.”
When we asked our customers if they’d noticed a change in their dog’s “gas,” about 40% shared their dog’s flatulence had “improved” or “very improved” after switching from their regular dog food to Wild Earth.
The improvements in stool consistency and digestion are most likely due to our unique blend of nutritious dietary fibers. Most animal meat diets are lacking in fiber, a key nutrient for longterm health and disease prevention.
A key distinct advantage of our plant-based formula is that it contains optimal levels of healthy dietary fibers, including immune-boosting beta-glucans. In fact, our unique formula is higher than the majority of meat- or plant-based dog foods when it comes to these unique dietary fibers.
Allergies, Skin and Coat Health
Food allergies are the third leading cause of chronic allergies in dogs, following flea bite and seasonal allergies. Animal meats, dairy, and eggs top the list of allergy-triggering ingredients for dogs. Would switching to a meat-free diet reduce itching and allergies? What did our customers say about their dog’s skin and coat after feeding Wild Earth for several months?
About half of our survey respondents reported their dog’s skin and coat was “very improved” or “improved” after switching to plant-based Wild Earth. Only 1% of dogs were reported as “a bit worse” or “much worse.”
Over 43% responded that their dog’s “itching and scratching from allergies” was “very improved” or “improved.
These findings are easier to understand: By eliminating animal meats and byproducts from your dog’s food, you reduce the risk of food allergies.
In addition, our plant-based dog food boasts higher omega-3 fatty acids, a key nutrient for skin and coat health, than most meat and plant-based dog foods. Veterinarians often recommend adding additional omega-3’s to an allergic dog’s diet to help reduce itching and heal damaged skin. Wild Earth uses a pure, animal-free algal source to fortify our dog food with these essential omega fatty acids.
Joint health is a key concern for both dog parents and veterinarians. Almost 40% of our survey dogs were over 8 years old, making them prime candidates for painful arthritis. Would ditching meats help improve their joint health? Would the addition of joint-healthy nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids aid ailing joints?
Over 26% reported their dog’s joint health was “very improved” or “improved” after feeding Wild Earth. While our dog food isn’t designed as a therapeutic arthritis diet, it’s reassuring to know that many dog parents are seeing improvements in their dog’s joint health.
Energy Level and Appetite
The ultimate measure of good health is energy and vitality. While these assessments are purely subjective, it’s an important signal of overall health. Of course, if a dog’s appetite is poor, no diet can help. What did our customers have to say about energy and appetite?
Over 44% reported their dog’s energy level was “very improved” or “improved” after going plant-based. 41% saw an improvement in appetite. There are many potential explanations for these observations. First, we know dogs love our food’s savory flavor. Next, by eliminating animal meats and animal byproducts, we’re feeding a “cleaner” diet. Finally, feeding a higher protein, higher dietary fiber dog food can promote leaner body mass, weight loss, and boost the immune system (don’t forget those beta-glucans!).
Breath and Odor
Periodontal disease affects over 80% of all adult dogs. Bad breath (halitosis) can be an indicator of periodontal disease in dogs. Our food isn’t formulated as a dental diet, but we wanted to ask people who had fed their dog Wild Earth for several months if they noticed any changes in breath odor.
40% reported an improvement in their dog’s breath and odor. This may be due to the elimination of animal meats, the increased dietary fibers, or a combination of factors. Whatever the reason, that was an interesting finding I wanted to share.
Make the Switch
We feel we’ve made an excellent alternative to meat-based dog foods as well as the best plant-based diet possible. We feel so strongly that we want you to feel comfortable making the switch risk-free. Try Wild Earth for your dog with a money-back guarantee.
If your dog doesn’t love our food or you don’t see an advantage in feeding a cleaner, more environmentally-friendly, and compassionate dog food, simply let us know and we’ll refund your purchase. TRY WILD EARTH FOR UP TO 50% OFF →
Ernie Ward, DVMis an internationally recognized award-winning veterinarian and the author of five books, including ‘The Clean Pet Food Revolution: How Better Pet Food Will Change the World’ and numerous textbook chapters and peer-reviewed articles. He also writes “The Vet Is In” monthly column for Dogster Magazine.