Looking for the best vegan dog food brands? You’re in the right place. We’re vegan dog owners too!
In this guide, expect to find…
- A list of the best and most popular vegan dog food.
- A bit about my personal experience with owning a vegan dog for the past four years.
- The research & science behind vegan dog food.
Don’t have time to read? Here’s a quick summary of the products we recommend.
|Purina Hypoallergenic Hydrolyzed||A|
|Halo Pets Vegan Dog Food||A+|
|Benevo (UK Brand)||A|
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). As with any dietary change with a pet (vegan or not) – I highly recommend doing it under veterinary supervision.
1. Purina Hypoallergenic Hydrolyzed
If you’ve ever been to a pet store, the 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 vegan dog food is made from Hydrolyzed soy protein, making it highly digestible and easier to absorb. Hydrolyzed simply means that the protein in the food has been further broken down.
Because our dog has 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 vegan dog food are 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 is perhaps the most popular independent vegan dog food brand (see V-Dog Reviews). It’s loved by thousands of dog owners and supported by vets.
The most dog seems to like the flavor and do very well on V-dog. Many people who aren’t even concerned with 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 make a smaller size, but the cost per pound was slightly higher.
Additionally, since my dog has a very sensitive stomach (since we got her and before being vegan), we eventually switched from this to vegan dog food (listed above) with hydrolyzed soy protein which she tolerates much better.
- Crude Protein Min: 24 %
- Crude Fat Min: 9%
- Crude Fiber Max:5%
- Moisture Max: 10%
3. Natural Balance
Natural Balance is a bigger pet food brand but also makes an entire line of vegetarian or vegan dog food. They make kibble, dried food, and dental chews (some also plant-based!).
Read Also: Best Vegan Dog Chews
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.
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)
- Crude Protein Min:18%
- Crude Fat Min:8%
- Crude Fiber Max:4%
- Moisture Max: 10%
4. Nature’s Recipe
Nature’s Recipe, a big brand in the pet food industry also happens to make vegetarian / vegan 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).
- Crude Protein Min: 22%
- Crude Fat Min: 8%
- Crude Fiber Max: 4.4%
- Moisture Max: 10%
5. Halo Pets Vegan Dog Food
Although they also make meat-based dog foods, HALO pets make vegan dog food that’s a bit different from the other 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 are tons of different reasons why people (and dogs) are loving this food.
The company also makes vegan wet food.
See our full Halo review here.
- Crude Protein Min: 20%
- Crude Fat Min: 10%
- Crude Fiber Max: 8.5%
- Moisture Max: N/A
6. Benevo (UK Brand)
Benevo is a UK-based vegan pet food company that has probably the widest selection of vegan 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.
- Crude Protein Min: 20%
- Crude Fat Min: 10%
- Crude Fiber Max: 8.5%
- Moisture Max: N/A
7. Ami Dog
Ami is a global brand that operates in various 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!
- Crude Protein Min: 27%
- Crude Fat Min: 14%
- Crude Fiber Max:2.9%
- Moisture Max: 8%
This is another excellent option that we just discovered. Read about it more on our Evolution Dog Food Review.
Is Vegan Dog Food Safe?
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 upfront 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 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.
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 it’s completely reasonable to feed your dog a vegan diet. (6)
- 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 beside 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.
The researchers were mainly studying sports-related anemia, but the dogs were also given regular check-ups, as mentioned above. Dogs from both the meat-free and meat-eating groups were assessed to be in great physical condition.
Check out this vegan starter kit
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 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 goes into standard dog food, it seems clear that plant alternatives might be the better option or at least worth a try.
Some of the stuff that goes into dog food can’t even go into hot dogs (9).
This list is not likely limited to:
- Hides and Bones
- The digestive system with feces, udders, etc.
- 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 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 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 nutrient needs 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, a practicing veterinarian, talks a bit about the meat and bone meal issue 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 of all of the latest research on this subject. His published research on this very issue can be found here. (11)
According to him, vegan dog food is a very viable and potentially healthier option.
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.
As an illustrative example: eating 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
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 dogs on record were Bramble, a Collie that lived to 27! Apparently, Bramble’s owner fed him rice, lentils, and organic vegetables.
As stated earlier, we can’t recommend making your dog’s meals at home because there is cert
in standards 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 brandlike one we’ve listed here.
And f you’re going to give vegan dog food a try – and again –talk to your vet and monitor.
Personal Experience with Vegan Dog Food
In this section, I will tell you about my personal experience feeding my dog a completely vegan diet.
For some context, although my wife and I are ethical vegans, we wouldn’t put our pet on vegan dog food if it would compromise her health. I’ve seen others do that online with cats and other pets, but it’s just not something we would do. If we had to give our dog meat, we would keep her healthy.
But long story short, our dog has to be vegan FOR her health.
Here’s the story…
How Our Pet Became Vegan
Since she was a puppy, our dog had always had digestive issues long before we ever lived a vegan lifestyle. When she was 1 or 2 years old, she had an episode where she couldn’t keep food down and was admitted to the hospital for over a week.
She eventually got better, but for the next 4 or 5 years, no one could tell us exactly what was wrong with her.
She would have similar episodes of vomiting and diarrhea, and every time we’d go to the vet, they would just prescribe an antibiotic. This never actually addressed the cause of the problem, so this just kept going on.
Our local vet had even put her on a prescription meat-based dog food for dogs with sensitive digestion.
The brand and name of the food escaped me at this time, but this particular prescription dog food didn’t really solve the issue.
Our pup would still get sick pretty often, and the cycle would repeat itself.
After my wife and I went vegan, we decided that we’d try giving our dog a V-dog (one of the vegan dog food options on this list).
We’d just learned that dogs could be vegan, so we thought that it would be an opportunity to solve these digestive issues.
We had actually tried more than one meat-based prescription food at this point, so we figured that it wouldn’t hurt to give something else a try.
Our dog did about the same on V-dog as she did on the meat-based foods. The same flare-ups kept happening, but we just kept her on the V-dog since it wasn’t any better or worse than before.
Upon visiting our local vet for a flare-up, we’re recommended to see a dog GI specialist in the city near us. We had to wait a while for the appointment, but it was worth it.
We weren’t sure if our dog was going to need some sort of surgery, so we were relieved when the specialist told us that different testing diets would probably solve the issue. She had recommended a testing protocol involving a few meat-based and prescription vegan dog food options.
We tested a whole bunch (including the meat ones).
After a bunch of testing, it just so happened that she had virtually zero issues on Purina Hydrolyzed Protein Hypoallergenic vegan dog food.
At the time of writing, she’s been on a diet for around 2-years, and she just turned eight years old. She’s super active, and people often think that she’s a puppy even though she’s getting up there in dog years!
She will have flare-ups, but it’s only caused by her eating human food (by accident) when we’re staying at a different home.
So it just happens that our dog HAS to be vegan, and she thrives as a result.
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 be better off. The primary one is that 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 consume, which we discussed at length in the first section.
In closing, always speak with your vet.
But the available research, anecdotes, and clinical evidence show that dogs do perfectly well on meat-free diets of vegan dog food!
Want to take all of the guess-work around going vegan?
Click here to check out the Vegan Starter Kit.