Many of us contemplated getting a puppy at some point. It is an extremely exciting and fun time for great many reasons.
This is also the most important life stage of a dog, because that's when she develops new habits, which last a lifetime. This includes behavioral habits as well as their food preference. If you give them kibble - they will get used to dry food. If you provide moist food in cans, they will develop a preference to wet food. If you feed them a raw meat diet, they will develop a preference to raw meat.
If you are vegan and considering getting a puppy, then feeding a puppy a meat-based diet certainly presents an ethical challenge.
But can a plant-based diet nourish a developing young body?
In short, yes. The difference with puppies is they require more protein, higher levels of amino acids, and more minerals than the adult dogs. The comparison table below from AAFCO shows exactly how the requirements of an adult dog differ from those of a growing puppy.
The question remains - can plant-based diets meet these requirements, and the answer is yes. There are several properly balanced plant-based formulas that meet these requirements for puppies. Namely, Benevo Puppy, Evolution Diet (dry kibbles and canned food formulas) and VegePup supplement for home-made meals.
We strongly recommend starting a pup on a plant-based diet as early as possible. As we said earlier, during the first 12 months of their life, puppies develop life-long habits, and there is no better time to introduce a dog a to a plant-based diet than when they are young, since pup's taste buds are not so set to any taste yet. This, however, does not mean that the older dogs cannot be transitioned to a plant-based diet. Older dogs can still switch to a plant-based diet provided they receive a sufficiently long-transition period (usually several weeks).
There are several properly balanced plant-based options available for Puppies.
VegePup™ is a supplement used by caretakers to cook nutritionally complete home-made meals for puppies under 12-months of age (and for pregnant and lactating dogs, who have similar nutritional requirements).
Evolution Diet offers 3 nutritionally complete formulas for puppies: Gourmet Fondue, Maximum Life (non-GMO) and Ultra Life with Organic ingredients. These 3 formulas are formulated to meet the requirements of puppies, adult dogs, senior dogs and pregnant dogs.
Evolution Diet also offers 3 nutritionally complete moist food formulas in cans: Gourmet Vegetable Stew, Gourmet Entree and Extra Life. These 3 formulas are formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of puppies, adult dogs, and senior dogs.
Benevo Puppy Original is a nutritionally complete and balanced food formulated for growing puppies (manufactured since 2012). This is the first UK brand made specifically for puppies. It has added calcium, vitamins, and minerals to meet the pup’s growing needs.
How to Introduce a pup to a Plant-based formula
Scenario 1 - your pup only had mother’s milk (no exposure to commercial food)
Puppies can be started on plant-based food as early as they begin to nibble at solid foods (usually 3 to 4 weeks of age). Until 6 months of age, pups should be fed all of the moistened kibble they will consume at intervals throughout the day.
Scenario 2 - for older pups that have been eating a meat-based diet and now switching to a plant-based diet
For pups who have been eating meat-based food for some time, we recommend a 2-week transition period.
Start by adding a little bit of the new plant-based product to the old food, to which your pup is already accustomed
first week: 1 part new kibble: 2 parts of the old product
during the following 4 weeks gradually increase the proportion of the new plant-based product
second week: 2 parts of the new kibble : 1 part of the old food
at the end of the 2nd week you should not be adding the old product and your pup should be only fed plant-based kibble
Explore all Puppy products @ Vecado.