Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Datsun Is a V-Dog!

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?

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can cats eat pureed pumpkin too? I have omnivorous cats and they'll occasionally pick at raw baby spinach leaves or nibble on watermelon cubes, but I've never tried pumpkin...

Rhonda said...

I'm passionately vegan myself, but I applaud your decision to keep your cats as carnivores. They *need* meat, unlike us humans. But I'm glad to hear how well Datsun is doing on vegan kibble!

Lowen said...

I have a 13 yr old pug named Otis and he's vegan. I buy Natural Balance brand, vegetarian formula, which I have been told is actually vegan. He enjoys this dog food, more so than others he's had in the past that contain meat and egg products. I do slip him the occasional piece of Field Roast Italian too, so he still thinks he eats meat. ;)

Keri - I Eat Trees said...

It's funny, we were just discussing this last night. We exclusively buy our dog vegan food (Natural Balance, I believe is the brand, but I'm going to look into VDog right after this comment), but I was saying, I don't think Dixie is vegan because if we were walking down the street and someone dropped a hamburger in front of her, she's definitely still going to go for it. We concluded "we're vegan and we purchase dog food accordingly, but she's a dog." Haha

Anonymous said...

My husband and I have two labs, and fed them V-dog for a year. They were both a healthy weight before switching their food, and over the year of being on V-dog lost quite a bit of weight. (and we were feeding them a ton of it!) Our vet suggested we get them back on a meat based diet asap... We were so disappointed. I'd be curious to know if anyone else has had this problem.

Rick said...

awesome post, sending to my parents to help them believe that yes, their pit bull would be a much healthier dog if he ate vegan instead of McDonald's (DAMMIT!)

Eve said...

My Schnoodle pup, Joni, will be four on Halloween...she's most definitely not vegan. I'd be interested to see if she likes V-dog because she only eats her kibble as a last resort when she knows we are done giving out treats and table scraps for the day. It's a bad habit, but impossible to resist this face!

http://eveganimpossible.blogspot.com/2010/10/joni-baloney.html

The Kuntrageous Vegan said...

Girl; I'm with you. I can't tell you how many times I've argued about how my cats can't be vegan. One of my kitties, admittedly, will eat anything (seriously; he steals raw kale off my plate if he can get away with it) i would feel like an animal abuser if i tried to make an obligatory carnivore a vegan.

Chrissy (The New Me) said...

My dogs are not vegan. They eat Purina One Lamb and Rice, which occasionally makes me feel guilty. However, I know I don't have the time to make them food myself and I live in a very small, East Texas town, where the variety of dog foods is limited, to put it nicely. I don't know if I trust myself to order food online and keep it in constant supply (and with two big dogs, we got through a lot of dog food) and I wouldn't want to have to switch back to meat-based food if/when I ran out. Until I have a local source of vegan dog food, my dogs will continue to eat regular food. They're both really healthy and don't appear to have any moral objections, so I think it's okay. ;)

Also - they love rawhide bones. Totally not vegan.

Olivia said...

I have twelve vegans living on my property: two humans, one Shar-Pei/Golden Retriever mix, four pigs, and yes: five cats. The dog will turn up her nose at non-vegan dog food (when she's at my parents' house), and prefers broccoli to biscuits.
I know switching the cats is a personal decision for everyone. I switched mine a year and half ago--I make them kibble at home using Vegecat supplement, which has all the nutrients they would get from meat, but in synthetic form. They are all a healthy weight, beautiful coats, and happy. But that's just my personal experience.

vegannifer said...

I love this post! Yay, Datsun! I don't have a dog, but I think having a vegan one would be very cool. My kitty is also carnivorous and I regret that, but I accept it and move on. We do what we can, right?!

Leslie R. said...

I would love to get my pets on vegan food!

Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day said...

Jorda is not vegan...I share custody of her with my X and he is hard to deal with about stuff like that. I'm going to look into that food.. J has allergy issues, and right now is doing well on her food.. but I know it's not the best and that I'm supporting cruelty.

Jess - The Domestic Vegan said...

I love this post!! Super interesting & informative. And Datsun is SUCH a cutie. I'm so glad you've got his digestive issues sorted out & cleared up!

My dog (Mabel) is super picky, has a majorly sensitive stomach (she throws up most canned foods), and is toothless... So she gets homemade, soft, non-vegan food. While I don't like supporting the meat industry, when I adopted Mabel I was committing to take the best care of her that I can, and the girl certainly needs to eat! She eats lots of brown rice & veggies, but also meat. In a perfect world, she would be vegan, too, but what can ya do? When we add another dog to our family, I'll definitely try V-Dog (assuming that dog has teeth)! Haha. ;-)

Mabel LOVES pumpkin, too! Like I said, she's super picky, so I was totally shocked when she actually ate it when I tried to feed it to her. She just gobbles it up, and it definitely helps keep her regular!

Michelle said...

It's funny that you blogged about this. I've been searching out recipes for my pug today, so I can start making her own vegan dog food. :o)

Kim said...

Thanks for this post! I have 2 dogs, a jack russel and a cairn terrier. The both eat Newmans Own good! I have been thinking about switching them to vegan food but thought it would be wayyyyyy too expensive. I will have to check out that food you got for your dog and see how that woould work for me.

prideandvegudice.com said...

We got V-dog for Rupert once, and I also tried a piece of the kibble! How funny. And a friend who's a vet just told me to try giving Rup pumpkin puree. Sounds like a good call!

KTBuns said...

I have a vegan mini dachshund who has been on the V-dog diet for just over a year now. And she is a ball of freakin' energy. She does have issues with alkaline urine and we are monitoring the presence of bladder crystals through regular urinalysis. I have started supplementing her meals with Cranimals, a cranberry extract supplement which helps with bladder health as well as a long list of other benefits. She LOVES that stuff, it's like my relationship with ketchup - put it on everything!

It's astounding the resistance and hostility us vegan-pet owners can face at times... I've been called a "fucking moron" directly or indirectly more times than I can count. But we'll just see whose pet lives longer/healthier.

Steph - VegFortWorth said...

Glad your dog is doing well on his new diet! I have two cats and they're both carnivores.

rainbowlens said...

I had my dogs on Nature's Recipe, the Vegetarian variety for a while but they didn't like it. They're currently on Blue Buffalo brand which I read is highly rated and doesn't have all the awful byproducts in it. I would LOVE to get them on vegan food so I may try this V-dog.

My cat, is decidely not vegan. He would fight my face if I even tried.

Gem

Anonymous said...

So why do you even have cats then? You're still following the Western belief that you're cats lives are more important than the lives of whatever animals they're eating. Sorry but it's just my opinion that you should at least start them on vegan cat food and see how they react. Technically humans aren't naturally vegan either (meat played a huge role in our evolution and we have to take a supplement for B-12) but we can still be healthy as long as we're getting all the right nutrients we need. Sorry but I don't support this decision.

Sarah said...

When we adopted our pooch we started her out on Nature's Recipe Vegetarian but she had some digestion issues with it. We switched to Natural Balance and she loves it and all problems resolved themselves. I personally feel that Natural Balance is a higher quality product. For those who can't afford vegan dog food: First cancel your cable subscription, data plan on your cell, stop drinking alchohol, stop going to the movies - with the money you've just saved, purchase vegan dog food. You can still have a really awesome and fun life on a budget, AND help animals. I promise.

Nicole said...

I'm transitioning my chinese crested over to a vegan diet. Right now she eats regular kibble (Royal Canin) mixed with Nature's Recipe canned Vegetarian food. I'll have to give V-Dog a try with her. I wonder if I can find any sample size packages to see how she likes it.

I sometimes add leftover veggies to her food as well. She loves green peas, strawberries and cantalope. She must have a sweet tooth!

Jessica said...

Oh, I'd seen you mention your pup but I had no idea you had cats, either. I love the photo of them together.

I hope the improved diet helps Datsun!

Rikki Cupcake said...

our little ellie loves her v-dog and we also give her pumpkin when we see her scoot her butt on the rug. it helps, it is like magic!!

bitt said...

My dogs are vegan too. Well, aside from the occasional treat they get from someone at the park or whatever. Freegans I guess. They love pumpkin and so does my cat. The vet prescribed it for his bowels.

River (Wing-It Vegan) said...

Aww, Datsun is such a handsome doggie! I'm glad he's doing better with the new diet. Yep, kittehs need their meaty goods! :)

flamencokitty said...

Glad to hear Datsun's doing well on a vegan diet. I'm also glad you don't impose human diet and morals on your cats. I'm also vegan, but I feed my two cats raw meat, and they always get a clean bill of health from the vet. I try to bypass the major corporations by buying local meat when I can. The fangs and claws make sense when you watch cats eat meat. They really are just cute little killers deep down inside!

AbsurdistGap said...

I read this NY Times op-ed on this subject and it reminded me of your post. You may have to register with the NY Times to read it (for free) but I really can not recommend it more highly.
http://www.nytimes.com/glogin?URI=http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/22/opinion/22greenberg.html&OQ=_rQ3D1&OP=6fb9645eQ2FQ2BQ3C%28Q5DQ2BPu8Q23FuuQ5E!Q2B!Q24Q24pQ2BQ24oQ2B!!Q2BuewiwuiQ2B!!mF%28%28iQ5D%28Fmr_Q5EdQ20

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