Vegan Dog Food

What is vegan dog food?

The kind you can buy, is basically kibble without the meat. Kibble already adds synthetic vitamins, the only difference here is the number of synthetic vitamins added to make it nutritionally adequate. There are nutrients found in meat (such as taurine) that dogs absolutely require to live, that cannot be found in ANY plant based sources. In order to be vegan, these nutrients can not come from animal sources and therefore MUST be synthetic.

There are multiple problems with adding synthetic vitamins. These are just a few:

  1. The body can’t process them correctly so they can lead to deficiencies.
  2. They tax the liver, get passed as waste and can cause countless other health problems.
  3. Many are made in China and other countries where standards are low and are contaminated and dangerous.
  4. Manufactures are not obligated to disclose the amounts present after processing. This is made worse by the fact that they degrade over time.
  5. A pet food sitting in a warehouse for a year before getting to a store shelf, could have almost none of the original vitamins added in it that are listed on the label and this is perfectly legal.

Both vegan and premium traditional kibble pet foods add these synthetic vitamins due to the severe lack of nutrition in kibble regardless of the ingredients. This is due to the processing required to make it shelf stable. Nutrients are lost and need to be added back in to meet minimum requirements. What makes vegan food worse is the amount they must add because of the essential nutrients missing by not having meat.

Also the meat is being replaced by plant-based carbohydrates. Dogs require little to no carbohydrates biologically. These tax every vital organ as they are eliminated from the body. This speeds up the aging process and leads to chronic diseases.

The Vegan Argument

People argue that dogs have adapted over the years of being fed kibble, however research based science clearly proves that this is not the case.

A pug may no longer resemble a wolf, but his digestive tract DOES! Breeding has changed the way our dogs look and behave but biologically speaking, their DNA differs from wolves by only .02%.

Dogs unlike cats (who are obligate carnivores) can technically eat other things. They are survivors. Eating things other than meat has helped them survive during hard times in environments where food is scarce. This has been proven by their survival on kibble. However, mere survival does not make kibble or vegan kibble healthy. This has been made very obvious by the growing numbers of diseases that are currently plaguing the canine population. Everything from arthritis due to nutrient deficiencies to cancer is directly related to their diet. Bad breeding may exacerbate this but it is far from copiable for all of these health crises.

The small amount of actual meat left in kibble after processing, was pretty much all dogs had left of what their bodies (carnivore bodies) were meant to eat. Taking that away increases the danger posed by kibble 10X. There is no credible evidence to counter what science has already determined biologically appropriate for a canine. There is no reason dogs should be experimented on to counter sound medical evidence.

Vegan dog food has not been around long enough. People can be paid to tell stories about examples of healthy vegan dogs. Those who want to believe it will not challenge these accounts.

While I stand behind vegan ideals 100% when it comes to animal cruelty, factory farming and the devastation to our planet, dogs are not responsible for any of this and should not be made to pay the price for it.

Without human intervention, dogs eat based on instinct. This is the same as how a cow knows to eat grass. In the wild, dogs would eat wild prey. This is proven through studies done on the stomach contents of wild dogs and wolves. They eat based on what their body needs and was designed to digest.

Do we need to work towards fixing what we’ve done to our planet? Absolutely, but just because we can choose the diet for a particular species, doesn’t mean that we have the right to.

Humans alone are the reason our planet is suffering because of the meat industry.

Dogs also have a large population because of humans. We as a species have an obligation to work on fixing both of these issues, not by denying what another species needs to live but addressing the actions of our own.

I stand behind vegan ethics to protect our planet. One way to do this is to stop eating meat ourselves, because we can do so safely. Dogs can not and should not be made to.

Why is vegan pet food becoming popular?

There are a culmination of reasons for this. One is that the pet food industry is a very competitive multi-billion dollar industry. They influence everything from dietary industry standards to veterinary schools, hospitals, pharmaceuticals and even labs. The market has become turbulent. More people are looking for traditional kibble alternatives. Being different, gets attention and nothing is more different than trying to feed dogs without meat. On the other side of things, the human food industry is going through very similar issues. Milk produces for example, lose profits every time someone opts to buy animal free varieties. Companies are now becoming diversified in order to stay afloat. Many now make non-dairy and other products as well.

Who is really responsible for the vegan dog trend? I can’t say that I know for sure, but what I do know is that there are definite monetary incentives for many parties. They were smart to target a group who wants to believe that this is a safe alternative. They will be easier to convince that it’s ok through whatever random “evidence” they choose to provide.

We already know that doctors can be bought and so can reviews. We see this happen in virtually every other industry. The difference here is that they are honing in on something that people care very deeply about.

To be a vegan isn’t easy! You HAVE to care deeply to live this way of life. The fact that the good intentions and passion of this well established group is being capitalized on is truly deplorable. I don’t know at this point who is funding the marketing behind the movement or who is actually set up to make money and who is being conned, but I do hope that it comes to light eventually. Allowed to progress I am very afraid of what else may happen to the dogs who are already barely surviving on kibble fed diets.

The move towards putting vegan dog food in shelters:

This is currently happening in LA and is of particular concern for a multitude of reasons.

One being that it is being made to look altruistic, which I do not believe it is. This makes it that much more offensive. Shelters are overcrowded and we know this. They need a LOT of food. Because of this, they look to be a good way to make a large dent in breaking away from the issues caused by traditional pet food companies on the environment. Again, this issue of overfilled shelters has become a problem because of humans.

Dogs that end up in shelters are often malnourished and have an even greater need for quality nutrition. Giving them a plant based diet puts them at an even greater risk of becoming even sicker.

Sick dogs in shelters are often put down because there is not enough money for medical care. Sick dogs also have a harder time being adopted because most people don’t want to take on an animal with medical needs.

The other issue with malnutrition, is the simple fact that time and again it has been proven to be a significant factor in behavioral problems. When a dog is missing nutrients, it has a much harder time in social situations and if shelter dogs didn’t ALREADY have a hard time due to histories of abuse, this is clearly not going to make their lives any easier.

My final issue, is that when fed a vegan diet as long as they may be in a shelter (often years) if the adopting parents decide against it, the dog may not be able to cope digestively. I see this as a play to keep customers of vegan dog foods and nothing else.

In conclusion 

Even if I am wrong about all of the corporate corruption, and this movement really is entirely based on a group of people who just care about the environment, I can not support the way they are going about doing that in this case. I see this as animal abuse due to misinformation at best, and human vegan abuse as well at worst, if it really is being funded by people talking advantage of this group of people desperate to save our environment.

I am one of them, and I do my part by not eating meat among other things. I also raise my dog responsibly and this includes feeding her a species appropriate diet and only buying her food from ethical meat sources.

I see no reason why dogs should suffer because of problems that humans have created and therefore should not be targeted in trying to fix it. There are other ways to help our planet that are safe and there is no valid reason to risk our dog’s health in this way.

I’d also like to add here that this in no way means that I believe that dogs can not benefit from eating vegetables! I absolutely believe that they can and should have access to them in their diet. All I am saying here is that plant-based food should not make up their ENTIRE diet.

To sum up, I’ll use the words of Dr. Judy Morgan: “If you want a vegan pet, get a bunny!” Please, do not do this to your dog!

If you would like to take action and make a difference, or simply learn more about the information presented here, follow this link.

5 Easy Tips to Extend Your Dogs Life, That You Can Do TODAY!

If you are reading this right now, I am certain that you’ve already got the most important thing going for your dog. That is Love! Dogs thrive the most when they are loved, so that is always ground zero. The tips listed below are simple suggestions that people can easily implement, that have proven to be life extending. All of my tips regarding food come directly from Rodney Habib. Rodney has dedicated his life to studying canine longevity. He is the leading nutrition expert on the planet right now, and has traveled the world collecting evidence from scientists, veterinarians and pet parents of dogs that have lived to be in their 30’s.

5 Ways To Increase Lifespan At a Glance:

  1. Add something fresh
  2. Add something moist
  3. Fresh Air
  4. Probiotics
  5. Kick the chemicals

Below is a simple description of each

# 1 Diet – Add Something Fresh

As time goes on, it is becoming more and more evident that kibble is not the best food for dogs. That being said, kibble is what most people feed, so these are tips for things that you can do today! No shopping necessary.

Rodney worked with the leading scientists in the world right now regarding canine nutrition, and found that you can increase your dog’s lifespan and reduce their risk of cancer by as much as 80% JUST by replacing 20% of their dry food with real fresh food. Some examples of simple ways to do this are:


  • Ripping up some kale, spinach or any leafy green and putting it into their kibble.
  • Throw in a piece of broccoli or a chopped up carrot.

The point of these vegetables has less to do with nutrients and more to do with slowing down the digestive track. To gain nutritional benefits, it is true that they need to be puréed. If you have time, this is great, however in their whole form, they work just as well by increasing fiber and lowering blood sugar. Over time, the impacts of this are incalculable!

  • Add in a piece of whatever you are having for dinner either raw or cooked without seasoning. Chicken, beef or fish for example. 20% is all that they need.
  • Crack a raw egg into their bowl (cooked is fine too) just be sure to include the yolk because egg whites alone can cause a biotin deficiency. This actually takes care of the next suggestion also because it adds moisture at the same time.

Here is a quick reference guide for dog safe veggies:


# 2 Dietary Moisture – Add Something Moist

The biggest problem with kibble is that it is dry. This is extremely taxing to internal organs. Most people choose dry food because of the fact that it keeps teeth cleaner. A good way to do both is by adding in some coconut oil because it works just like toothpaste!


  • Add some coconut oil to their dinner. This not only eases digestion, but actually helps keep teeth even cleaner. 1 tsp to 1 tbs is all that you need per meal.
  • Fish oil is another great option because it helps balance out the omega 6’s that your dog is already getting in their diet. Too much omega 6 is bad for a lot of reasons but the most obvious is that it speeds up aging and leads to inflammation. The fastest way to reduce this is by adding in omega 3. This neutralizes the impact of omega 6 and adds important dietary elements along with moisture which is crucial.
  • If you don’t have the above two oils you can even add olive oil or avocado oil because these still effectively accomplish adding moisture and decrease organ stress.
  • An egg here also works in this way

For more information about these oils, I have a few articles, such as: Dog Supplements: What’s really necessary? ,  Coconut Oil and Dog Health or Phytoplankton, Fish oil or Raw Fish? Safe Ways to Give Your Dog Omega 3

# 3 Exercise – Fresh Air

The dog that lived to 33 ran about 8 kilometers a day. I’ll be very honest right now, for me, this one is the hardest aspects of dog care. I have health issues and running around isn’t really in the cards. However what I CAN do is go outside.


  • Make an effort. I’ve learned that just by being mindful of the amount of time we spend outside or how long we walk, makes me make a conscious effort to increase this. Tennis balls allow me to sit for some of the time and I know my dog is happier simply being in the sunshine.
  • Dog parks can be hugely helpful because I can make human friends there that make the time pass while my dog gets to be social and run.

# 4 Probiotics

Just like with humans, the dogs who live the longest always have the most diverse gut flora. A healthy gut = A long life across the animal kingdom. There are countless options of probiotics on the market today, but to do this right now you could either


  • Add in some of your probiotic supplements if you have them or
  • Give them a small bowl of plain (unsweetened) kefir or yogurt

Probiotics or healthy gut flora, over time, have proven to be the number one common denominator between all of the oldest dogs they have studied.

# 5 Kick The Chemicals – Cleaning Products

If you have a dog that likes to clean your floor like mine does, it’s important to reduce their exposure to chemicals. Even walking on the floors can be harmful if they are cleaned with chemicals, especially bleach. Dogs have pores on their feet that can absorb toxins, they also tend to lick their feet. Accumulation of this kind of exposure can lead to a number of problems down the road. Neurological disorders, cancer etc. With all of the different chemical exposures dogs may have, this is an easy thing to take out of the equation. I’m a germ freak, and have looked into this extensively. In 2010 they did a study comparing bleach to vinegar in killing an array of viruses and things like e-coli. In EVERY test they did, vinegar showed itself to be 100% as effective as bleach across the board. This finally convinced me, and my current favorite cleaner is vinegar!


  • Distilled white vinegar (in a pinch any vinegar will work, this one just smells the least)
  • Lemon juice
  • Castile soap
  • Baking soda (for scrubbing and deodorizing)

They all have multiple uses but for my floor, I just mix vinegar with Castile soap and water and it does an amazing job! I have some additional tips for this here: Pet Friendly Household Cleaners

*Along with kicking the chemical cleaning products, I wanted to say something very quickly about vaccines and heart worm medication. If your dog has been properly vaccinated early on, they should not need further vaccines. A titer test can tell you weather or not they are still covered by a vaccine. More of it doesn’t do any good, so this can be a great way to eliminate extra toxins from vaccines. Furthermore, if you live in a place that has winter, you can also safely take your dog off heart worm medication during these months and give their system a break! This isn’t a quick tip, but I did want to put this information out there because I know early on I was hesitant to ask my vet. This was a mistake because these chemicals can do a lot of harm and reducing them truly is a longevity increasing step! I have some more information about titer testing here: Titer Testing and the Dangers of Over-Vaccinating

Never Stop Learning. This is probably the one thing that encompasses all of this. The best thing we can do for the animals we love is to simply be open to learning. There is some incredible information coming out today. Now more than ever, it is easy to stay up to date and current simply by following these people either on their websites or on Facebook (links below). The two biggest positive influences in the pet world right now are:

Rodney Habib and

Dr. Karen Becker

They are very engaging and absolutely worth looking up!

Why Diet Is So Important

Studies done on life spans for dogs show that the biggest factor that separates those that live longer is what they are eating. Science has proven that raw food is the best quality of food for canine health. I am a raw feeder now, but I can tell you, I certainly did not start out that way! Like most people, I fed what my vet recommended without questioning it because they are doctors and I am not. It wasn’t until I took a moment to look into the food they were recommending that I began to question this advice. I’m not going to get too much into it but the bottom line is, most traditional veterinary schools are funded by pet food companies. These schools provide very little education when it comes to nutrition. Well meaning doctors, that love dogs, are told to protect the masses by suggesting foods that meet AAFCO guidelines. They don’t mention the detrimental effects of synthetic vitamins and denatured meat sources. Even the highest quality kibble is deficient, simply based on the process that is necessary to make it kibble. For most vets it’s all about what most people will realistically do, and that is buy kibble. Raw diets require a certain understanding of balance and if done wrong animals can get hurt. This along with not having enough education about it, is the biggest reason they do not usually recommend going this route.

However, things are changing. There are currently a number of resources available today that take the guesswork out of raw feeding. There are companies that hire food scientists to create pre-made raw options that are completely balanced and ready to serve. You can get frozen options that can be poured into a bowl just like kibble or you can save money and buy “chubs” that are the same thing, except you have to cut it yourself. This is by far, the easiest way to make the greatest impact on your dog’s longevity.

Two companies that provide this that I like very much are:

Answers Pet Food

Steve’s Real Food

You can buy them or order them from your local independent pet shop.

To save even more time Darwin’s Pet Food offers a subscription service where they pre-portion meals for your dog specifically, and send them frozen to your door.

A wonderful documentary that explains all of this on Netflix is Pet Fooled it’s an easy watch and very well done!

For some better kibble options, if you are not ready to make the switch I have found a few here: Kibble

You certainly don’t have to change everything over night, this just isn’t realistic. What you can do is just add one thing. Even just one carrot can make a difference! Science has proven this and because I know how much every moment with my dog means to me, I wanted to try to share some of what I’ve learned with you.

Rodney has many great videos, but here is just one:

Why don’t dogs live forever?

Dog Cancer and the Keto Diet

Dogs are getting cancer in this country in epidemic proportions. An estimated 6 million dogs and nearly 6 million cats will be diagnosed with cancer this year. Cancer has been responsible for the deaths of 47% of dogs, especially over the age of 10 and 32% of cats. This means 1 out of every 4 dogs and 1 out of every 5 cats. These numbers are staggering and it is very obvious that there is a very serious problem going on. A lot of what I talk about on here is prevention related. Raw feeding, quality meat sources, vegetables, holistic approaches to medicine, cleanses, organic cleaning products etc. are all great things to incorporate to help improve your odds. However, just like with people, we all know that we can do literally everything in our power and still lose. We just can’t control everything and it’s a horrible reality to face.

When it comes to this topic, I am truly at a loss. I don’t have any answers, I truly wish that I did. What I can say is that I am studying and hope to share some insights in the future. I wanted to write about this now because of things I’ve seen recently that have given me a lot of hope. Cancer is incredibly time sensitive and treatment is crucial. I was not going to wait to share the information that I found!

We have hope.

There are incredible people on the front lines trying to fight these statistics everyday and they are making headway! Dr. Becker and Rodney Habib are two of those people.


The Truth About Pet Cancer

There is an incredible amount of free information here:


They provide a free version of this series for Vets.

Resources are growing by the day, these are just two, but they are recent and they are absolutely worth paying attention to.

One of biggest takeaways I got from this, is the Keto (Ketogentic) diet. The Keto diet is effective in treating a variety of things that I will discuss in an upcoming article, but it’s been used and in many cases actually cured cancer. The idea is that it is designed to starve cancer. A holistic vet should be able to provide hands-on advice, but research is a good place to start. There are multiple resources on this, but here is the best one I’ve found.

Keto Diet

Here is an interview with Rodney and some additional useful tips about this diet.

Keto Diet Tips

I truly hope and pray that progress continues to be made and this information can get to and help someone! There is nothing worse than cancer for people and the animals we love. Let’s not give up the fight!



As most people know, as a general rule for myself I am truly 100% against kibble as being an appropriate food source for cats and dogs. However, that being said, I am also very aware that not everyone feels this way. We are fortunate today to have options. Small companies that are willing to take the time to deliver wholesome, pre-made, balanced, frozen raw food to the market at affordable prices along with freeze dried options make it very easy to make the switch but still, it’s not appropriate for everyone at every time. Shelters are a good example of this and during the holiday food drives I absolutely plan on participating and buying kibble. Because of this I feel obligated to share some positive information on the subject. All kibble is not created equal. I have a list of brands I suggest to anyone who needs to feed this way. Just as with any product it’s important to stay up to date, as companies get sold, formulas change, etc. but as of now this is what I have found to be the most trusted:

Origin, Acana, Zignature or Nutrisource for dry

Honest Kitchen, Grandma Lucy’s, Humankind, Stella and Chewy’s or Primal for freeze dried.

There may be others of course but the reason I feel the way I do about kibble is simple. Most brands in the store have unregulated (AAFCO doesn’t count) labels and parent companies. They use trusted celebrities like Rachael Ray and key words that they’ve changed definitions of to make people think they are doing good for their pets. They mislead consumers and lie about things including “organic”. People are losing their animals because of this so I am heartbreakingly passionate about spreading awareness about this. Please just consider these realities. You don’t have to go raw or watch “Pet Fooled” just please consider other options. We all buy what we think is best, don’t let these companies get away with abusing key words to make us purchase their products! The cost is the same and it could literally save your animals life!