My puppy Datsun is eight years old, and though I've been vegan for most of that time, he's remained an omni until very recently. At first, I simply couldn't afford vegan dog food. In fact, he was a baby when I was still in college and I could only afford less-than-desirable kibble. But that was years ago. For the past several years or so, Datsun's dined on Newman's Own Organics dog food and a few other "natural" but not vegan dog foods.
But as of about a month ago, Datsun is now a mostly-vegan* dog thanks to V-Dog Crunchy Nuggets:
Datsun loves his crunchy nuggets! I even tasted one out of curiousity (hey, they're vegan right?). Not bad for dog food. But I think I'll stick with my people food, thank you very much.
Why did I put my pup on a vegan diet after all these years? I'd actually been wanting to make the switch for Datsun for some time, but I incorrectly assumed that I wouldn't be able to afford V-Dog. It has to be mail-ordered, and I imagined shipping costs would be through the roof for a bag large enough to fee my 90-pound mutt. But turns out V-Dog actually offers free shipping! And the product costs less than what I was paying for Newman's Own at Whole Foods.
I did go through a phase where I'd decided to cook vegan meals for Datsun everyday, using the recipes from the Simple Little Vegan Dog Book. But Datsun was picky and only liked some homemade dishes. I'd make a big batch of something, only to have him turn his nose up.
I finally decided to give V-Dog a try when Datsun developed colitis a few months ago. That's an inflammation or irritation of the large intestine, and it caused Datsun to have bloody poo. Ew! The vet ruled out a parasite (the number one cause of colitis) and suggested that his problem may be diet-related. He prescribed some pills and told me to check back if the problem persisted.
Datsun took his pills and the icky poo seemed to clear up, but as soon as the pills were gone, the problem was back. I knew if I told the vet, he'd prescribe some vet-recommended food like Science Diet, which is filled with horrible ingredients and by-products (likely leftovers from the slaughterhouse floor). No thanks.
I read that V-Dog could help with digestion, and that it contained flax seed (for omega 3's) and taurine and L-Carnitene, two amino acids essential for several large breed dogs to prevent the possibility of cardiomyopathy. So I purchased two 20-pound bags.
One month later, Datsun's poop issues seem to have cleared up, and he loves the dog food so much more than the Newman's Own stuff, which would often sit untouched in his bowl for hours. He always gobbles the V-Dog right up.
Of course, the colitis remedy might also have something to do with Datsun's other new favorite food — pumpkin!
Ozzy the cat really wants in on Datsun's precious pumpkin puree, but Datsun's not having that. Look at him snarling his nose at Ozzy!
A co-worker suggested feeding my dog a little pumpkin puree everyday since the fiber helps aid digestion. I looked it up and found lots of information on pumpkin and helping pets have normal bowel movements. So he's been eating one half-cup serving everyday. He thinks it's a treat!
Anyway, I'm hoping that Datsun continues his good health on the V-Dog. Not only do I feel like my dog is healthier on a vegan diet, but I also feel better about contributing less to animal suffering by buying a cruelty-free kibble.
As for my six cats, well, they'll remain carnivores. Unlike dogs and people, cats are natural meat-eaters so I'll continue to purchase meaty cat food for them. Although it can be done, I'm not cool with switching cats over to a vegan diet.
* Earlier I said Datsun was "mostly vegan" because his grandparents (my parents) still like to slip him non-vegan contraband foods when I'm not around.
Question: Do you have a dog? Is he or she vegan?