Raising Vegan Pets: Vegan Dog Food Recipes (Meat and Dairy-Free Diets)

The most common ailments associated with a commercial dog food diet are: heart failure, clogged arteries, obesity, tooth decay and arthritis. And these are just a few from a long list of illnesses suffered by our pets from being a fed of commercial diet of wet or dry dog food.

If you're interested in feeding your dog a plant-based diet check out Natural Balance Vegetarian Formula. This is an excellent vegan choice for pets, because it has ALL essential nutrients required in a dog's diet. 

The pet-food industry remember is a business and like all businesses the number one goal is to maximize shareholder’s profit and that’s only achieved by cutting corners on the quality of meat used, the use of preservatives and reduced quality control. Many owners are unaware that flesh from dead, dying or disabled farm animals can be made into dog food as long as it’s being processed. By-products like cow’s hair, chicken feathers and chicken feet are also being used. Once hydrolyzed these form an edible jelly which can be included in pet food and listed as “poultry by-products.” Disgusting indeed!

The owners of a dog named Bramble, a 27-year-old border collie from Britain that is considered to be the world’s oldest living dog, credit the animal’s longevity to a strict diet of rice, lentils and organic vegetables.

But can dogs survive on a vegan diet? Pet experts agree that as long as a dog’s nutritional needs are being met such as calcium and vitamin D they remain in good health. Dogs are really omnivores by nature, and their digestive systems are equipped to easily digest both meat and plant material, so a meat-free diet should be an easy transition for them. While no conclusive studies exist, it is possible that, regardless of their owner’s ethics, pets may benefit from a meat-free diet.

How do Vegans Feed Their Pets?

When the owners themselves are also vegan, feeding their pets a meat-free diet is a natural progression of their own beliefs of animal-free cruelty and ethics. After all, our pets are our furry children and you also want the best for your children!

Vegan pet owners who feed their pets a vegan diet insist that their pets are healthier than those on a commercial pet food. Vegan pets experience speedier recovery from injuries, better eyesight, shinier coat, improvement in arthritis symptoms and most importantly relief from allergies. So many skin allergies pets experience can be traced back to their diet especially to meat. But not all vets agree that dogs should be vegetarian or vegan and some remain “highly suspicious”, having reported incidents of vegetarian pets suffering with depression or having a lack of energy.

Richard N. Pitcairn D.V.M., Ph. D advocates an ovo-lacto-vegetarian diet but advises owners should also use a homemade supplement which includes bonemeal and cod liver oil – which would no longer make the diet vegetarian. He writes:

“it would be almost impossible to palatably supply the high-protein needs of carnivores from all vegetable sources without overloading them with food”.

Other industry experts agree that with the aid of the correct supplements a vegan diet – can make a dog very healthy but you have to be a real diligent dog owner. The overall positive news is that the number of meat-free pet food companies is a growing trend. There is already a good supply of vegetarian and vegan dog food products found in both dry and wet food options. However if you are not time-bound you can delve into prepping and making your very own vegan dog food for your pet.

Basic Principles To Follow

If you are either a vegan or a vegetarian, you will already know about vegetarian foods. With a little common sense, your own meals can easily be adapted to suit your pet. Give plenty of variety: deficiencies are unlikely if a wide variety of foods are eaten. Find out what your animal does well on and what it likes. Make meals appetizing, taste and smell are especially important.

It is useful to remember that dogs are fond of yeast products so flavoring with Marmite or Barmene might make food (such as textured soya protein) more attractive to them, as well as providing extra B vitamins. Dogs often like a little honey for flavor, on cereals for example. At the same time, check that you provide sources of all the various nutrients; protein, carbohydrates, fats and oils, vitamins, minerals etc.

If your pet is thriving, then well and good. If there are problems such as persistent diarrhea, vomiting or itchiness, he may be allergic to certain food items, so try to identify these and eliminate them from the diet. However, occasional vomiting may be normal. Avoid strong, spicy foods like curries. They tend to cause digestive upsets. When feeding cooked foods, do not give them too hot. Nor should food be served too cold from the refrigerator.

Remember that dogs have a shorter digestive tract than humans, and may not cope so well with large quantities of fibrous (roughage) foods. However, they do need their share of roughage (vegetables, bran, whole grain cereals, raw fruit). Cooking fibrous vegetables (15 minutes at boiling) breaks down the fibers, reducing the roughage value and making them more digestible but too much cooking destroys some vitamins, especially thiamine. Crude fiber (ie roughage) fills the gut to reduce feelings of hunger, and stimulates defecation, so some grated or chopped raw vegetables are useful in the diet.

Potatoes can cause digestive upsets in some dogs. Over-consumption of sugar and sugary foods can encourage bad teeth, diabetes, digestive upsets and obesity.

How Much Food To Feed a Dog?

This depends a lot on the individual animal. A very rough guide is given as 1oz (30g) of total food per pound body weight for growing pups and 1/2oz (15g) per pound for adult dogs. This rough estimate may be altered drastically by:

  1. The liquid content of the food.
  2. The calorie content of the food; a dog with a tendency to be overweight can eat a lot of low calorie vegetables such as cabbage and cauliflower, but much less of high calorie bread or cereals to produce the same calorie intake.
  3. Individual variation: for example, some highly-strung Alsatians require three to four times the calorie intake needed by some Labradors the same size, or by some Alsatians with a lower metabolic rate. The progress of the individual animal should always be the main guide provided that a nutritionally balanced diet is fed.

Vegan Dog Food Recipes

Just as with human vegan food, the main ingredients used to help prepare your pet’s food include: garbanzo beans, carrots, lentils, oats, rice, nutritional yeast (nooch) and olive oil. 

To start off, the new vegan diet can be started immediately, a gradual approach from the old to the new or after a short fasting period. Your pet will have mixed reactions to the food to start with. But even the most finicky dog will wait a while and come back and eat it and beg you for more.

Here are the top 5 yummy vegan dog food recipes we found for you from owners who have happily shared and tested these on their own pooch (human-approved too 🙂  ). And remember…. meals should be served at room temperature or slightly warmed, along with a clean bowl of water.

Vegan Tofu Meatless Loaf

Vegetarian Meatloaf topped with Ketchup

Ingredients:

10 oz. firm Tofu (crumbled)
2 slices of wholegrain/whole-wheat bread (crumbled)
1 2/3 cups quick oats
1 ½ cups water
3 tbsp. organic Tamari soy sauce or 1 ½ tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. Italian herbs

Optional:
¼ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
½ cup low-salt ketchup

How to Prepare:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Rinse the tofu and then cut it into ½-inch cubes. Press the cubes gently between paper towels to remove excess moisture. Get a large bowl and add all the ingredients in a mixing bowl: the tofu, water, tamari, bread, mustard, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and black pepper and mix well. Knead the loaf mix and press into a lightly oiled 9” x 5” glass loaf pan or a cake pan. Top it with the ketchup for a little sweetness and bake for approx. 30-40 mins. Your entire home will smell divine! Let it cool off and then serve it with greens like shredded lettuce, cabbage, romaine leaves or steamed asparagus. Others have also added baked sweet potato, finely chopped kale, spinach or steamed broccoli.

Lentil, Tofu and Veggie Stew

Soybean Lentil Veggie Stew

We like this recipe since it’s cheap and cooks in bulk so it’s great if you own several pets. It’s high in protein and meets the AAFCO food standards. It yields 3,443 kcal and can also be frozen.

Ingredients:

5 cups water
2 cups dried lentils
1 cup fresh veggies (spinach, sweet potatoes, peas, greens, broccoli, kale, cabbage, carrots, chard etc.)
10 oz. firm tofu
3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
3 Tbsp. ground flax-seeds or fresh flax oil
3 Tbsp. Tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 Tbsp. organic Tamari soy sauce or ½ tsp. salt

How to Prepare:

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add in the lentils, rice and veggies. Cover and simmer for 15-20 mins until the lentils are cooked and fall apart and veggies are tender. Rinse the tofu, then cut it into ½-inch cubes. Press the cubes gently between paper towels to remove excess moisture. Gently add the tofu cubes, tahini, nutritional yeast, flaxseeds and tamari. Cook for 2 mins., then remove the pan from the heat, cover and let stand 5 min to allow the flavors to develop. Cool to serving temperature.

Carrot, Quinoa and Kidney Beans Skillet

Vegetarian Quinoa and Kidney Beans Skillet

This is another super easy vegan dog food recipe that is easy to prepare and delicious. It yields about 1,123 kcal., and is a day’s food supply for a typical medium-size breed dog.

Ingredients:

1 carrot, chopped or grated
½ cup finely chopped spinach or another greens of your choice (parsley, coriander etc.,)
1+ Tsp. organic tamari soy sauce or 1/8 tsp. salt
2 cups cooked quinoa, rice or other wholegrains.
1 can of cooked kidney-beans
¼ cup frozen corn or peas
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
2 tsp. hemp hearts (seeds), ground flaxseeds, coconut oil, lecithin, tahini or peanut butter.

How to Prepare:

In a large-skillet add a few tablespoons of water along with the grated carrot and cook 1-2 mins. Add spinach and tamari and cook for a further 1-2 mins until they are all soft. Add in the quinoa (or your choice of wholegrain), kidney beans, corn and nutritional yeast. Mix well and bring up to serving temperature. When ready to serve top it up with the hemp seeds and serve it over chopped lettuce.

Mashed Garbanzos Recipe

Vegan Garbanzo Recipe for Dogs

This is another favorite canine recipe, excellent for adult dogs of all breed sizes. It yields 2,903 kcal. and cooks 2 day’s worth of food for a 48 lb. dog. 

Ingredients:

10 cups of canned garbanzos (chick peas)
3 ½ Tbsp. nutritional yeast
2 ¾ Tsp. coconut oil ( alternatives: hemp seeds, flaxseeds, tahini paste etc.)
1 1/3 Tsp. Himalayan black or pink salt

How to Prepare:

Drain the garbanzos and place them in a large pot over a medium-high heat covered in water to about an inch above the beans. Bring to boil and cook until soft. Drain thoroughly and mash them well. Add in salt, oil and yeast. At this point, you can add some herbs for flavor such as basil, garlic and some fresh veggies. This recipe makes 2-4 meals and lasts for 3 -4 days so fridge the rest in small containers and use when needed.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Vegan Burgers

Vegan Burgers for Dogs

This plant based burger makes for a delicious meal for your pup since it is packed with healthy greens and seeds. The recipe makes 8-9 burgers and the rest can be frozen. Total calories are 1,314 kcal.

Ingredients:

3 cups cooked black beans or 2 ½ cups cooked lentils
2 slices of wholewheat or wholegrain bread, crumbled
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp. ground flaxseeds
2 Tbsp. sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds or almond butter
2 cups of baby spinach or kale
1 baked sweet potato

How to prepare:

Add all ingredients and blend everything through a food processor until it comes to a puree form. I like to use my Vitamix blender for everything because I am totally obsessed with it!  You may need to add a little water as and when needed. Place the mixture in the fridge for 15 mins to help it set.  Form the burger mix into 3” patties and place them on parchment paper and bake them for 10 mins on each side.  Remove and feed them to your dog. Save the rest by freezing them!

Best Vegan Dog Foods (Dry & Canned)

For vegan pet owners who want to try making the switch for their pets but don’t have time to cook or need backups for travel or treats for dogs we recommend these ready-made meatless recipes that are nutritionally complete and meet canine nutrient standards. Many Amazon reviewers report dogs ( & cats) are thriving on these plant-based diets doing extraordinarily well having shinier coats, fitter bodies and less allergies and an ability to heal faster. Check out this list of foods and yummy recipes that should be part of your dog’s bowl if going vegan!

Vegan Dog Treat Recipes

Vegetarian Dog Biscuit Recipe

Ingredients:

9 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. garlic powder

How to Prepare:

Mix dry ingredients. Add approximately 3 cups water. Knead into a pliable dough. Roll out to 1/8” thickness. Cut into desired shapes. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 350°F. (Important: After turning off oven, leave biscuits in the oven overnight or for an 8-hour period so they become hard and crunchy.)

Healthy Treats

As an alternative to cooked treats, we encourage to give your pup chopped raw fruit and veggies or grated fruit, dried fruit as such as:

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Broccoli stalks
  • Citrus fruits
  • Carrot sticks
  • Cucumber
  • Cantaloupe
  • Berries
  • Corn on the cob
  • Sweet Potato Chews
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Avocados (peeled) 

No grapes, chocolate or raisins.

Final Word

Don't overfeed. A fat animal is not a healthy animal. If a dog is getting fat, he is eating too much high calorie food. Watch the tidbits, they can add up to a lot. By getting the animal to like low calorie vegetables from the start, you will find it much easier to reduce his weight if necessary later. In most cases, weight can be controlled by food intake control; only a few are unslimmable "glandular" problems. Don't force a dog to eat if he doesn't want to, you may be training him to get fat by so doing.

A perfect diet may be provided and yet the dog's health be spoilt because insufficient exercise is given. Every dog needs plenty of exercise and fresh air, EVERY DAY. Cleanliness is important and regular grooming is needed. For long-haired breeds daily thorough combing is a must, otherwise matted hair encourages skin disease and parasites. Lastly but very important, have clean, fresh drinking water available at all times.

Before you switch you dog to a vegan diet, please do your research to make sure that the food you have chosen for your dog is a complete and balanced diet. When in doubt- don't risk your dogs health- consult a veterinarian.

Share your favorite vegan pet recipe

So now that you’ve read about what we believe are the best vegan pet recipes and/or foods, I’d love to hear about your favorites.

Leave a comment below and tell us:

1. Your favorite vegan recipe and/or food
2. Why?

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Leave a Comment:

Alexa | Doorstep Organics says July 27, 2018

But It’s better to use more organics on the ingredients for dogs have allergies with fertilizers too. Great recipe ideas!

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