Are we "forcing" our dogs to be vegan?

Veganism is a growing movement, and as with many human diet trends, the pet food industry is following. A common argument against vegan diets for dogs is that it is unethical to "force" your own views upon your pet. Does choosing a vegan diet for your pup really mean that you are causing harm to them in favor of your own beliefs?

Our dogs are our (four-legged) children

Whether we're talking about human children or animal "children," it's up to us as parents and guardians to choose what's best for them. Most domestic dogs are reliant on us as a food source, and because dogs are omnivorous, they are quite adaptable to a wide variety of diets. As pet parents, we have a lot of options, and ultimately it's our responsibility to choose our dog's diet. No matter what food we choose, we as guardians are the ones calling the shots.

Nutritious and delicious

Any diet we choose for our pups is ideally something that they enjoy, as well as something that is healthy for them. Some pet parents also consider factors like sustainability and animal welfare when selecting a dog food. Complete and balanced vegan diets for dogs are similar to other commercial dog foods in that they follow AAFCO nutrition standards, so they're no more likely to be nutritionally inadequate than their animal-based counterparts. Is the fear, then, that dogs are "missing out" on the taste of meat when they are given a vegan food?

The belief that vegan diets are automatically unethical assumes that your dog is suffering in some way when given a vegan food. However, any type of diet (whether plant-based or animal-based) has the potential to be nutritionally inadequate or unpalatable to your pup if not formulated properly.

If there's a nutritionally complete food out there that your dog enjoys at mealtime, and it happens to be vegan, is it unethical to choose this option? A vegan diet not only saves animals' lives and offers health benefits to your dog, it also requires fewer resources to produce than its meat-based equivalent. Assuming your dog enjoys it, it can check all of your boxes (and then some).

Why veganism is here to stay

Pet food trends tend to have a lifespan. Grain-free diets, which often boast low carbohydrate content and high meat content (in the wake of carb-shaming human diets), are now under scrutiny by the veterinary community for possible heart health consequences. When a diet is less of a trend and more of an ethical standpoint, it's likely to stick around, especially when there are nutritional benefits. A growing body of research continues to support what vegan dog food companies and pet parents have seen since the 1980s: that vegan dogs thrive.

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At v-dog, we like to keep it simple. We make dog food that tastes delicious, meets all nutritional requirements, and does no harm to animals. Ready to try a healthy, cruelty-free diet for your pup? Check our what we make and read hundreds of stories from happy v-dogs on our testimonials page.

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