Best Vegan Dog Food Brands (Updated 2018 Edition)

Looking to learn more about vegan dog food?

– Advertisement –

You're in the right place. In this guide, expect to find...

  • A list of the best and most popular vegan dog food brands.
  • A bit about my personal experience with owning a vegan dog for the past 4 years.
  • The research & science behind dogs being vegan.

Let's begin!

Best Vegan Dog Food Brands

Please note: The vegan dog food that I give to my dog is first on the list because it worked best for her after multiple diet switches (including meat-based food which she never did well on). As with any dietary change with a pet (vegan or not) - I highly recommend doing it under veterinary supervision.


Purina Hypoallergenic Hydrolyzed

Purina HA Hydrolyzed Dog Food 25 lb

If you've ever been to a pet store, odds are that you've seen Purina dog and cat food. They pretty much manufacture pet food for every different diet you can think of.

Their vegetarian dog food is made from Hydrolyzed soy protein which makes it highly digestible and easier to absorb. Hydrolyzed simply means that the protein the food has been further broken down.

Because our dog has a had digestion issues since puppy-hood, this is the food that she's currently eating and doing extremely well on. And yes, we've tried her on several different foods both veg and non-veg.

The simple ingredients of this dog food is designed to reduce the chance that food sensitive pups will have a negative reaction.

Guaranteed Analysis of Purina Hypoallergenic

  • Crude Protein Min: 18%
  • Crude Fat Min: 8%
  • Crude Fiber Max: 4%
  • Moisture Max: 10%

V-Dog

V-dog Vegan Kibble Dry Dog Food, 20 lb

V-Dog is perhaps the most popular independent vegan dog food brand. It's loved by thousands of dog food owners and supported by vets.

Most dog seems to like the flavor and do very well on V-dog. Many people who aren't even concerned with the ethics still feed their companions V-dog for allergies and food sensitivities.

The main components of the food are peas, brown rice, and oats.

From personal experience, I've found that the kibbles were a bit big for my small dog. Now, they do make a smaller size, but the cost per pound was a bit higher.

Additionally, since my dog has a very sensitive stomach (since we got her and before being vegan), we eventually switched from this to a vegan dog food (listed above) with hydrolyzed soy protein which she tolerates much better.

Guaranteed Analysis

  • Crude Protein Min: 24 %
  • Crude Fat Min: 9%
  • Crude Fiber Max: 5%
  • Moisture Max: 10%

Natural Balance 

Natural Balance Vegetarian Formula Dry Dog Food, 28-Pound

Natural Balance is a bigger pet food brand, but also makes an entire line of vegetarian (vegan) dog food. They make kibble, dried food, and dental chews (some of which are also vegan!).

Their dry food has a base of oats, potatoes, barley, brown rice and peas.

The Natural Balance wet food has very similar base ingredients with water added for texture and processing.

Both the dry kibble and wet food are extremely popular among dog owners (both vegan for ethical reasons and food sensitivity reasons). Anecdotal reports say their dogs have better breath, shiny coats and less gas.

Guaranteed Analysis (Dry Kibble)

  • Crude Protein Min: 18%
  • Crude Fat Min: 8%
  • Crude Fiber Max: 4%
  • Moisture Max: 10%

Nature's Recipe

Nature's Recipe Healthy Skin Dry Dog Food, Vegetarian Recipe, 30-Pound

Nature's Recipe, a big brand in the pet food industry also happens to make a vegan/vegetarian dog food. Much like all the other plant-based dog foods, pet owners praise it most for helping their dogs with allergies.

Their recipe is soy based so this could be something to consider if your dog has a soy-specific sensitivity.

Although we did see a dry kibble available on other retail sites, we were only able to find one vegetarian wet food on their website (1).

Guaranteed Analysis of Nature's Recipe

  • Crude Protein Min: 22%
  • Crude Fat Min: 8%
  • Crude Fiber Max: 4.4%
  • Moisture Max: 10%

Halo Pets Vegan Dog Food

Halo Vegan Dry Dog Food, Garden of Vegan Recipe, 4-Pound Bag

Although they do also make meat-based dog foods, HALO pets makes a vegan dog food that's a bit different than the rest of the products on this list.

The ingredient statement doesn't have any rice, and the formulation focuses on low glycemic ingredients like green peas and chickpeas. From what we've seen, this had the most varied ingredient list, so it may not be best if you're trying to eliminate ingredients to narrow down a very specific food sensitivity.

That aside though, it's got tons of anecdotal praise from pet owners of dogs big and small. From weight loss, to allergies and overall health - there's tons of different reasons why people (and dogs) are loving this food.

The company also makes a vegan wet food.

Guaranteed Analysis of Halo (Dry)

  • Crude Protein Min: 20%
  • Crude Fat Min: 10%
  • Crude Fiber Max: 8.5%
  • Moisture Max: N/A

Benevo (UK Brand)

Benevo Dry Dog Food Organic Complete Adult - 2kg Bag

Benevo is a UK-based vegan pet food company that has probably the widest selection of dog food available. They have wet food, dry food, treats, and different formulations for different stages of life. (2)

This product is so dedicated to vegan and eco-friendly pet products that they even have...

  • Sweet potato tubes
  • Blueberry sticks
  • Biodegradable poop bags
  • Breath mints
  • Vegetarian cake mix for dogs

If you live in the UK - be sure to check them out! Their website isn't that clear on where they distribute, but they also seem to be doing trade shows in India.

Guaranteed Analysis of Benevo Adult Dog Food

  • Crude Protein Min: 20%
  • Crude Fat Min: 10%
  • Crude Fiber Max: 8.5%
  • Moisture Max: N/A

Ami Dog

Ami is a global brand that operates in a wide variety of countries - over 25 according to their website. Part of their mission is to bring forth an ethical, eco-friendly, and successful global economy, so you know they are quite committed to the cause. (3)

If you live outside the US - this might be the only vegan dog food you're able to locate, according to the map on their website, they even distribute in China, Korea, and other Asian countries!

Guaranteed Analysis of Ami Dog

  • Crude Protein Min: 27%
  • Crude Fat Min: 14%
  • Crude Fiber Max: 2.9%
  • Moisture Max: 8%

Can Dogs Be Vegan?

The short answer is yes - my dog has been thriving on a vegan diet for several years. ​

But it is not a change that you should take lightly. Make sure to be up front with your vet and work with them to monitor your pet through the transition.

Even though the science on humans going vegan is quite clear, there simply aren't a large amount of vegan/vegetarian dog studies out there. While we try to reference actual research and veterinary authorities regarding this topic wherever possible, please bear in mind the body of evidence here is not extremely large.

However, there is a more than enough information on the topic out there that warrants at least giving it a try on your dog for both health and ethical reasons.

Potential Risks

One potential risk that we could find is the formation of urinary stones for dogs on a plant based diet. While much like all the topics on vegan dog food, there isn't a large body of documented evidence, it's mainly anecdotal. However, we've seen several vegan vets say that you should monitor the urine, especially if your dog is prone to develop urinary crystals. (4),(5)

Why a Vegan Diet Can Work for Dogs

There are a few important things to understand as to why its completely reasonable to feed your dog a vegan diet. (6)

Dogs have come a long way since wolves - not only in their looks, but in their ability to digest starch.

  • Although dogs and wolves may look similar, they do have genetic differences. One of the major genetic differences is the dogs capability to digest starches. This is likely due to dogs living besides humans for so long and having to live off of human scraps.
  • They also have lower protein requirements than obligate carnivores such as cats.
  • Dogs have the ability to use Vitamin A and D from plant sources - just like humans.

​One thing to note is that a poorly planned or inferior diet for a dog or a human is likely to result in problems - whether it includes meat or not.

This is why there are guidelines to dog food supplementation whether the food has meat or not. Dogs have a specific set of balanced nutritional needs, which is why home-prepared diets aren't usually recommended. (7)

Sprint Racing Dog Study on Siberian Huskies

One of the most popular studies referenced regarding dogs following meat free diets was published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2009. Although the sample size was rather small (only 12 dogs), the study design itself was rather thorough.  The participating dogs were checked by a veterinarian three times throughout the study and blood samples at weeks 0, 3, 8 and 16. (8)

The researchers were mainly studying sports related anemia, but the dogs were given regular check-ups as well, as mentioned above.  Dogs from both the meat-free and meat eating groups were assessed to be in great physical condition.

Even racing Siberian Huskies were able to thrive on a vegan diet.

It is important to note that these were very active racing dogs. These Huskies were training and racing throughout the most of the duration of the study, meaning their demands for calories and nutrients would far exceed a normal domesticated dog.

While the scientific data that we found is very encouraging​ and should be considered the best source of evidence on this topic, we also have had a good anecdotal experience which we documented below.

We're not taking an ethical stance on dog racing here, but rather just presenting the information in the study.

Appeal to Nature Fallacy: Nutrients vs. Ingredients

Dogs eating vegan can be a very emotionally driven topic. For some, not feeding a dog any meat goes against the natural order of things.

The problem with this line of thinking is that natural doesn't always imply good. In fact, the "natural" option is sometimes worse than the alternative!

Dogs need a specific combination and ratio of nutrients, not specific ingredients

Given what we're about to cover in the next section - it may actually be best for your dog to get these nutrients from plants, simply because we don't live in the picturesque natural world that is portrayed in many dog food commercials.

What's Actually in Your Dog's Food?

The pet food industry is mostly a byproduct of the human animal agriculture industry. When you think about what actually goes into standard dog food, it seems clear that plant alternatives might be the better option, or atleast worth a try.

Some of the stuff that goes into dog food can't even go into hot dogs (9). This list but is not likely limited to:

  • Hides and Bones
  • Digestive system along with feces, udders, etc.
  • Brains
  • Non-farm animals including other pets

Conventional dog food comes with its own set of downsides.

All of this byproduct, among other things, typically gets transferred to a "rendering plant" which is essentially a huge grinder. Some rendering plants even receive things like plastics, styrofoam, expired meats, and even dead pets.

This rendered material is processed and extracted into "meat and bone meal", and it's hard to tell exactly what's in it as regulations vary from state to state.

We're not saying this is all ​pet food or all pet food companies, but this topic is something to think about and investigate when you're comparing conventional dog food vs. plant based alternatives.

If your dog can get its nutrient needs met from sources lower on the food chain, like plants, you're likely exposing them to less junk and waste products.​

Plenty of Vets Support a Vegan Diet for Dogs

This interview with Dr. May, who is a practicing veterinarian talks a bit about the meat and bone meal issue which we just discussed. 

There are plenty of other vegan vets who share these positions. V-dog features some of the most prominent ones on their website (10)

Perhaps the most notable is Dr. Andrew Knight who runs VeganPets.Info. He has conducted his own academic research (over 65 studies) and stays thoroughly abreast on all of the latest research on this subject. His published research on this very issue can be found here. (11)

Environmental Pollutants and Toxins

As some research indicates, food may be the primary route of exposure to contaminants from multiple chemical classes such as metals (mercury, lead, arsenic), persistent organic pollutants (POPs) (dioxin, DDT, dieldrin, chlordane), and pesticides (chlorpyrifos, permethrin, endosulfan).

A diet high in large fish and animal products, for example, results in greater exposure to persistent organic compounds and metals than does a plant-based diet because these compounds bioaccumulate up the food chain. (12)

As an illustrative example: eating a sardine is likely to contain less environmental ​pollutants than eating a bigger fish like a salmon.

Pet food is no different - and likely much worse. Check out the video above which touches on the high concentration of flame retardant chemicals in dog and cat food (13)!

Anecdotal Evidence

In the majority of cases, anecdotal evidence isn't a great indicator of scientific truth. However, we figured it was useful here just because there aren't that too many studies to draw from on this issue.

One of, if not the, longest living dog on record was Bramble, a Collie that lived to 27! 

Apparently, Bramble's owner fed him rice, lentils, and organic vegetables.​

As we stated earlier, we can't recommend making making your dogs meals at home because there are certain standard and guidelines for nutrients in pet foods, but Bramble makes an interesting single-point case study. (14)

Our advice would be to stick with a reputable vegan dog food brand if you're going to give plant based dog food a try - and again - talk to your vet and monitor.

Wrap Up

Given all of the information we've presented, we think it's definitely worth giving  vegan dog food a try.

Ethics aside, there are several reasons that your dog may actually be better off; the primary one being the main ingredients in most standard dog foods are waste products of the animal agriculture industry.

The higher you get on the food chain, the more environmental pollutants and toxins you tend to consume which we discussed at length in the first section. 

Always speak with your vet and be sure to do your due diligence with blood work and urine work as the research on it isn't as vast as it is in human nutrition, but the available research, anecdotes, and clinical evidence seem to show that dogs do perfectly well on meat-free diets!

References

  1. https://www.naturesrecipe.com/dog-recipes/healthy-skin/vegetarian-recipe-cuts-in-gravy
  2. http://www.benevo.com/vegan-dog-food/#benevo-dog-original
  3. http://www.amipetfood.com/en/start
  4. https://v-dog.com/blogs/v-dog-blog/ask-the-vegan-vet-urinary-stones
  5. http://www.vegepets.info/diets/veg-canine.html.html#urinary-alkalinisation
  6. http://vetnutrition.tufts.edu/2016/07/vegan-dogs-a-healthy-lifestyle-or-going-against-nature/
  7. http://www.fediaf.org/self-regulation/nutrition/
  8. http://www.vegepets.info/resources/Publications/Veg-dogs-Brown-et-al-Br-J-Nutr-2009.pdf
  9. http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/04/what_is_in_pet_food_zoo_animals_sick_livestock_dogs_and_cats_from_shelters.html
  10. https://v-dog.com/blogs/veterinarians
  11. http://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/6/9/57
  12. https://nutritionfacts.org/2015/06/18/how-contaminated-are-our-children/
  13. https://nutritionfacts.org/video/food-sources-of-flame-retardant-chemicals/
  14. http://petfood.aafco.org/Labeling-Labeling-Requirements

10 thoughts on “Best Vegan Dog Food Brands (Updated 2018 Edition)

  1. When my Husky Shepard mix was diagnosed with cancer, I put both her and my Siberian Husky on a plant based diet. They lived to be 17 and 18 years young.

  2. My 10-year-old cocker spaniel and almost 14-year-old dachshund have been on Natural Balance vegetarian wet and dry food for several years and they don’t miss the meat one bit.

  3. Thank you for this. I have been feeding dogs vegetarian for years but I have recently become concerned about the arsenic in rice which is a main ingredient in so many vegetarian dog foods. Based on this article, I’m going to try Halo.

    • Our 7 lb rescue chihuahua had all kinds of skin allergies when we first adopted him. We put him on a vegan diet 4 years ago and not one issue since. He loves Vegan Halo brand and we add streamed veggies (usually kale or green beans) in for added flavor.

  4. Thank you for this article. I’d just like to mention that Hills and Puritans who are owned by Nestlé are companies that do animal testing. Therefore I would not recommend them at all.

  5. Thank you for putting together a thoughtful, complete article on this topic. We hoped when we adopted our dogs that they could be vegan, but only after I did a significant amount of research on the science and health behind it; not getting caught up in the emotions of the matter. Thankfully, they are vegan, happy and very healthy. My two girls are on V-dog, and one had digestive issues exactly like your Penny. Not anymore! (My vet suspects it was the oatmeal in Natural Balance vegan, her old food, being so high in the ingredients list.) Great job, Joey.

  6. I’m wondering if you’ve seen any research about the benefit of a vegan diet for their teeth? It is supposed to help humans teeth, but curious if you’ve read anything about dogs? I have two Yorkies and toy breeds tend to have teeth that are harder to maintain than larger dogs.

    • Hi Cindy,

      Yeah – I feel you on that. Brushing our dogs teeth regularly is the only thing that works for us. Some breeds are just genetically prone to bad teeth.

      I haven’t seen any research on it 🙁

Leave a Comment

Pin10
Reddit6
Share1K
Tweet