As people spend more time and money on their pets, now fully members of the family, we are right to be concerned about the quality of their foods. The problem is there is not a lot of education on what a dog "food pyramid" should be and not a lot of transparency around the source or percentages of the ingredients in their kibble.
We've been reading more about the meat industry and have found that not only is the meat people eat of poor quality and sanitation, what goes to our beloved pets is even worse. What they are getting, often the scraps or 4 D's animals - dead, downed/dying, diseased, disabled - is considered unfit for human consumption and not what I want to feed my pups. Dog food can be substandard nutritionally, filled with corn, little meat, etc. How are we to know that what they are getting is healthy?
We've decided, after reading a few books on the subject, to try out giving the dogs veggie meals just at dinner. They will remain on their regular kibble for breakfast but have home-made meals at night. That way they will at least be getting what they've had in the past 50% of the time. We've kept the ingredients simple and prepare them simply too - mostly through boiling or steaming and not adding salt or oil. We'll probably look more into fatty supplements very soon, just to be sure we're covering all the bases. Here is an example meal mixture:
- Steamed carrots - carrots chopped, then steamed until soft and mashed
- Carrot water from the steamer to add moisture
- Black beans (or lentils or any bean) - soaked as needed, boiled until tender and mashed
- Organic no salt/sugar puffed millet or puffed brown rice
- Rice (brown preferred) - steamed
- Green beans or peas - bought frozen, steamed until soft and mashed in
- Sweet potato, pumpkin or other squash - steamed or microwaved until cooked/soft
I use my hand masher to blend all this together and add some of the saved carrot water to make it moist and sticky, very much like the consistency of canned dog food. But there is no added salt or oils so my pups aren't gulping water after they eat. A bonus. I make a good amount and give the dogs about 1 to 1.5 cups for their meal, so this batch will last about 3 meals for two dogs.
I've been keeping a close eye on their energy, behavior and bathroom habits. They haven't had any stomach issues and seem to be going #2 okay as well.
As far as I can tell they LOVE IT! I mean, check this out:
One of the books we read is this one - The Simple Little Vegan Dog Book. It's not a nutritionist book. Mostly it gives high level information and some good recipes plus foods to avoid.
After seeing how this goes and talking with our vet, we may try out a commercial food like V-Dog to replace their kibble. But our first goal is their health. We want to make sure our pups get what they need before any other concerns or issues.
If you have any experience with dogs eating an omnivorous or vegan/vegetarian diet, I'd love to learn more so please share.
For additional options (I have not checked these out), PETA listed Companies That Sell Vegan Dog and Cat Food:
Dog and cat kibble and canned food, ferret kibble, fish food
F&O Alternative Pet Products
Vegan dog and cat kibble and canned food
Harbingers of a New Age
Vegecat™, Vegekit™, Vegedog™, Vegepup™, and digestive enzymes
Natural Life Pet Products
Canned and kibble dog food
Canned and kibble dog food
Organic vegan dog treats
Canned dog food and biscuits
Canned and kibble dog food and biscuits
Dog and cat kibble
If you decide to prepare your own vegetarian dog or cat food, we recommend that you read Vegetarian Cats & Dogs to ensure that you understand the nutritional needs of dogs and cats. Do not rely on this factsheet for complete information. The book has several recipes and helpful hints. If your library or bookstore doesn't have it, you can order it from Harbingers of a New Age.