Can puppies thrive on a vegan diet? Erin Nissen, founder of Durango Animal Connection, shares her experience with young vegan rescue puppies.
My name is Erin and I live in southwestern Colorado. In January of 2014, I started a vegan dog rescue, Durango Animal Connection. Since then I have been lucky enough to foster 34 dogs and puppies and adopted them out into loving homes. My foster dogs are rescued from the Native American reservations in the Four Corners region, mainly the Navajo reservation.
My organization is rooted in my vegan values of having compassion for all life. It is very important to me to feed my dogs and puppies a healthy, vegan diet. When I first got started I did a lot of research on the different vegan dog foods that are available, and met with my veterinarian to discuss proper nutrition for puppies that range in age from 5 weeks to 6 months old. I found v-dog to be the cleanest, healthiest and most nutritious dry vegan kibble out there. My veterinarian helped me find a few vegan ingredients I could add if I needed to boost the fat content for very little puppies. I have studied the nutrition content of meat-based puppy kibble and found v-dog to have equal or greater amounts of protein and fat. My foster puppies have never shown any deficiencies or symptoms of malnutrition, and have always grown big and healthy under my care.
Since starting my rescue, I have fostered puppies as young as 5 weeks old and have been very successful feeding them a vegan diet. I will often soak the kibble in warm water, sometimes pureeing it a bit in the food processor if necessary, and sometimes adding coconut or flax oil for an added healthy fat. The puppies absolutely love it! I currently have a litter of 7 puppies that I started on v-dog when they were 6 weeks old. Someone donated a bag of a different vegan food to me so I was mixing it with the v-dog. The puppies actually went through their bowls and picked out all the v-dog kibbles and left the others!
I have also had the privilege of fostering a nursing mother dog and her litter of seven 3-week-old puppies. Mama was fed v-dog (A LOT of it!) and once the pups were weaned they ate it as well. Mama and puppies were healthy, vibrant dogs once they went to their forever homes. I have adopters comment quite often that my dogs seem really healthy and happy. My foster puppies have always had healthy coats and full, round bellies. I have never felt that I was inadequately feeding them or depriving them of anything they needed. I have found v-dog to be a well-rounded, healthy dog food that can be fed to all life stages of dogs. My cute little fur-balls can prove it!
Thanks to a wonderful dog food company and all the staff at v-dog for helping me feed my foster dogs and puppies a diet that is based on health, compassion and respect for our world and our fellow animals.
Founder, Durango Animal Connection
V-dog is a vegan owned and operated pet food company that makes 100% plant-powered kibble and treats for your pup! Our kibble is nutritionally complete, AAFCO approved, and veterinarian-recommended. We've seen thousands of dogs of all shapes and sizes thrive on our diet -- read some of their stories here!
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