Wednesday, December 6, 2017


When I became vegan just over a year ago, I began to consider my own dog's diet and how it directly conflicted with my personal beliefs. I refused to consume any animal products myself, yet I was buying directly into factory farming with every purchase I made at the pet store (and with a 70lb German Shepherd that's A LOT of purchases). I began to do some research to see if other people were sharing in my struggle, and if I could in fact safely put Bug on a plant based diet.

I was so pleased to find out that there are actually quite a few commercial dog food companies offering great, plant based alternatives to the standard meat based dog food. Through my research I also found that contrary to popular belief, dogs are actually omnivores. This means that their body is able to digest, and obtain nutrients from all types of food, not just animal protein. In fact, over the course of evolution, dogs bodies have changed (due to domestication etc.) to more effectively digest plant food. So, while you could never put a cat on a plant based diet (they are obligate carnivores - totally different ball game), a dog can be quite happy on a vegan diet!

After speaking with my vet, I decided we would give it a try. At this point I had owned Bug for about a year (I adopted her at one year old from Almost Home No Kill Shelter), and we had already been on quite the journey with food. From salmon, to turkey, to lamb...we had tried it all with no success - she ALWAYS had tummy troubles. I really wasn't sure what to expect from switching  to a plant based food, but I figured it was worth a shot. Initially, I started her on Natural Balance Vegetarian Formula, and she did ok on it, but it didn't feel like she was thriving (there were still loose stools quite frequently etc.). We then tried V-Dog Kibble, and while I read so many success stories from other pet owners with dog's eating V-Dog, I was running into the same wall as we did with Natural Balance. I was becoming extremely disheartened, even looking into switching her back to a meat based diet (Open Farm is the first and only certified humane meat based pet food company - FYI).

Serendipitously, I came across one lonely bag of Halo Garden of Vegan at my FAVORITE local pet store, Premier Pet! The thing about the Halo formula that gave me renewed hope is that unlike the other brands, it is completely grain free and low glycemic. Well I'm so SO thankful that Halo exists, because Bug has done GREAT on their food. No more tummy troubles, her weight stabilized, her coat is shiny, and she is one happy girl - mom, her trainer Kaitlyn and Dr. Hawker all give her a big thumbs up! She also requires less food than with previous brands (even meat based) because Halo is not made of empty fillers, but high quality plant proteins. It makes me SO happy that we've found an alternative that works for her. Of course every animal is different, so you have to do what works well for your pet, but I'm so happy to share our success story!

Other plant based pet treats Bug loves:

Omega Paw Health Bone Health Bone Mixed Berry Bone Chew Dog Treat
These are a great animal bone alternative. 

Fruitables Skinny Minis Pumpkin & Berry Soft & Chewy Dog Treats
These are great for training!

Wholesome Pride Pet Treats Sweet Potato Chews Dog Treats 
Just plain old baked sweet potato! 

Kong Classic Dog Toy
Kongs are an essential for any dog, but especially good for easy, "homemade", vegan treats. I love to stuff them with natural peanut butter, canned pumpkin, or coconut oil - then freeze - for a healthy treat that will keep Bug entertained for quite a while!

Our favorite local pet stores:

Premier Pet Supply

City Bark


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