When choosing a food for your pet, weight management is often a topic that needs consideration. Will certain foods cause your dog to lose or gain weight? Pet parents are often curious about the effects of vegan diets on their pup's weight, whether they're afraid of unnecessary weight gain (are there too many carbs?) or weight loss (can dogs really sustain themselves on veggies?).
Excessive weight gain & obesity
Excessive weight gain can lead to issues that reduce a dog's lifespan, like osteoarthritis, heart disease, and cancer. Older dogs are at an especially high risk for developing these health conditions if overweight. According to VCA Animal Hospital, approximately 25-30% of the general canine population is obese (weighing 10-20% above their ideal body weight).
Balanced vegan diets tend to be lean and easily digestible. Many pet parents report that their overweight dogs have slimmed down after switching to a vegan formula, which can help with mobility, energy levels, and overall health. It's important to find a vegan food that is nutritionally complete and balanced to ensure the macronutrient levels (like fat, protein, and carbohydrates) are on-par with what canine nutrition experts recommend.
For senior dogs especially, weight management can be challenging as their activity levels start to drop. "My Pom, Fritzy, is 13 and has been vegan for about 10 of those years," says Thomas. "He was very overweight before we changed his diet, now he's at his 'perfect' weight and as energetic as his puppy self."
Unnecessary weight loss
On the other end of the spectrum, many pet parents worry that switching their dog to a vegan formula may cause excessive weight loss. Are plants really enough to sustain a large, young, and/or highly active dog?
If your pup struggles to maintain a healthy weight, a vegan diet may help address some of the underlying causes. Allergies, digestive problems like IBD, and other inflammatory conditions related to diet may make it difficult for your pup to fully thrive. Since vegan diets are naturally hypoallergenic and anti-inflammatory, then can help relieve symptoms and foster a healthy digestive tract and weight.
"My 7-year-old border collie had a miserable first five years of her life," says Sarah. "When she became a beloved member of our family 2 years ago, we were warned that 'she doesn’t like to eat.' I started her on v-dog kinder kibble immediately and if I had not been told she was a picky eater, I would have never known it. She gained 7 pounds, which puts her at a normal weight now."
While homemade vegan diets vary in their nutritional adequacy, complete and balanced vegan diets are designed to offer all the macro- and micronutrients your dog requires to maintain a healthy lifestyle and weight. These formulas are often much leaner and cleaner than their meat-based counterparts, which commonly source byproducts from the animal agriculture industry.
"Dexter the Olde English Bulldog had to watch his 'girlish figure!' Just switching to this kibble and making no other changes has helped him maintain his weight at a svelte 68 lbs!! He's such a handsome boy. He LOVES his food!!" - Nance
"Bailey has had horrible stomach problems and takes 2 different medications twice a day. She does this thing where she shakes uncontrollably and we have taken her to countless vets with no real answers. She was a scary 5 pounds (even for her frame that was too small) and she has been on B12 shots because she hasn't been absorbing nutrients. They are now on their second bag of v-dog kinder kibble and Bailey has only shaken once (same day she got shots at the vet) which is an absolute MIRACLE! She has also gained 2 pounds! And Honey (who is a little overweight) has lost 2 pounds! I can't even begin to tell you how ecstatic our family is." - Erica
"I have 3 dogs, and they love V-dog!! Something I have noticed, is that their eyes discharge is minimum compared to before. All mine lost weight and are in a healthy weight range now." - Jenny
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V-dog makes 100% vegan and cruelty-free products for your pup! Since 2005, thousands of dogs of all shapes and sizes have thrived on our complete and balanced kibble formula. Learn more about what we do here.
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Sources: VCA Animal Hospital