Story about Nina, Lunar, Lizzie and Tula
Story about Nina, Lunar, Lizzie and Tula

Story about Nina, Lunar, Lizzie and Tula

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4 very happy Vegan Dogs!

Intimidated by the loud and persistent internet voices aimed at shaming anyone feeding their dog an all-plant diet, I took over two years to cast away all my doubts and slowly switch my now four rescue dogs aged 1.5 to 11 years from a high-end, meat-based commercial kibble diet to an all plant-based diet consisting of a combination of kibble and home-cooked food.

About two and a half years ago, I started feeding my dogs a combination of commercial vegan kibble and home-cooked meals. At the time, I still included small amounts of meat scraps from my local butcher because I was strongly conditioned to believe that dogs just have at least some meat to thrive.

I easily spent hundreds of hours researching the topic of the vegan canine. Eventually, I found a couple of independent scientific studies and evidence in credible veterinarian journals about the differences in wolfs’ and dogs’ digestive systems and the latter’s increased adaptation to a starch-based diet. I also began to question the credibility (and independence) of some prominent online opponents to a plant-based dog diet and finally made the switch to feeding my dogs a 100 percent plant-based diet about one and a half years ago. Prompted by my regular vet, I further consulted an independent, board certified veterinary nutritional consultant, who confirmed that dogs can thrive on an all-plant- based diet, provided, of course, that it is nutritionally balanced, which is a point of particular importance in case of home-cooked diets –meat or plant-based.

For well over a year now, I’ve been feeding Evolution Diet kibble, as well as a home-cooked diet consisting mainly of well-mashed chickpeas, some green and orange vegetables, smaller amounts of whole grains and fats, as well as – and importantly!— supplements. Supplementing is not optional but a requirement for all home-cooked dog diets, i.e., regardless of whether plant or meat-based. I am using Vegedog.

Though I don’t believe that a well-balanced plant-based diet offers by default superior health outcomes compared to a well-balanced meat-based diet, one of my dogs’ regular gastro-intestinal upsets has improved to the point of near non-existence since eating an all-plant- based diet. The same is true for another dog’s previous chronic ear infections.

Knowing that dogs can thrive (and in some cases do better) on a plant-based diet gives me a moral imperative to stay clear off feeding animal ingredients. I want no part in today’s immensely cruel and environmentally highly problematic intensive animal agriculture. To be sure, the latest marketing ploy for so-called “humane meat” is of little comfort.
Leaving aside arguments over whether humanely raised meat exists, farming one animal for the sole purpose of feeding another animal surely isn’t the answer, particularly when nutritionally not required. Anyone arguing that some animals’ purpose is to provide food needs to be reminded how highly arbitrary the entire “purpose concept” is. Recall that in some parts of the world dogs are farmed for food supply!

My vet initially expressed some hesitation about an all-plant- based diet but appeared pleased with my dogs’ health and overall well-being during their recent annual check-ups. My youngest dog who has been fed an exclusively plant-based diet since I adopted her at nine months old has more spunk than anyone could hope for, and my other three dogs’ energy-level has virtually remained unchanged since making the switch.
For fear of being judged, I’ve not yet shared my dogs’ diet with a group of fellow adopters of former sled dogs. Interestingly, several members of this group have commented over the past year on how well Lunar (aka “Shivers”), a former Whistler sled dog, looks.


Anja P.