After a month of festive food, many of us opt for January as the month of healthy eating and doing what we can to live a happier and more wholesome lifestyle in 2023. Over the recent years, the rise in diets switching to more plant-based alternatives has risen dramatically marking January as the time we acknowledge just how powerful those plants can be.
For us pet owners, switching our dogs to a vegan diet may sound a little unusual but it has a range of health benefits that can keep your four-legged friend happier and healthier this winter. Wondering how a vegan diet can support your dog? Read below and see the top tips for transitioning your dog onto a plant-based diet this Veganuary.
What is a Vegan Diet?
A vegan diet consists of only ingredients and products created from plant-based sources. Absence of any meat products and even animal-based ingredients, a vegan diet is centred around the power of the plant and just how nutritious Mother Nature’s Garden can be.
When it comes to our pets, switching to a vegan diet should be done gradually to support your dog’s digestive system. Switching their meat-based treats for plant-based alternatives can be one of the key ways of making the switch to a healthier and more wholesome way of life.
How Vegan Diets Can Support the Planet
Over the recent years, the world has become more aware of how our actions have significant consequences on planet earth. From rising CO2 emissions to plastic pollution within our oceans, we are all a little more conscious of how our planet is changing around us.
According to PETA, meat farming is responsible for the production of more greenhouse gases than most of transportation worldwide. The farming of livestock not also increases the number of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere but is reducing specific species of plants and renders lands barren and unusable after years and years of grazing.
In addition, the unsustainable sourcing of fish has led to many parts of the world’s oceans being absent of species having significant impacts on the health and sustainability of coral reefs. Opting for a more plant-based living helps to ensure both the population of our animals and fish is vaster than ever before.
The Benefits of a Vegan-Diet for Your Dog
A vegan diet is not just for humans. Research from leading pet nutritional expert, Professional Andrew Knight et al suggests that the “healthiest and least hazardous dietary choices for dogs, are nutritionally sound vegan diets” (Huang E, Rai N, Brown H, Knight, A, 2022). Providing benefits for their digestive, cardiovascular, and muscular systems, vegan diets for dogs can really help keep your pooch as healthy and wholesome as ever before.
Is your dog suffering from itchy skin to a troublesome tummy? Well, here’s all the way a plant-based diet can help your pet and give them a new lease of life this Veganuary.
Supporting your Dog’s Digestion
Do you ever notice that your dog is often bloated, and the smell and consistency of their poop is something less to be desired? Well, this can all be related to the food you are feeding your pet. Meat-based diets and even treats with meat content can lead to gastrointestinal upset in your furry friend causing tummy troubles such as excessive bloating and flatulence, loose and even stinky stools.
Containing high levels of natural fibre, swapping proteins of chicken and beef for ingredients like sweet potato, squash and root vegetables can regulate your dog’s bowel habits keeping stools, firm, mess-free and less smelly than before.
Support a Healthy Coat & Skin
Does your dog suffer from allergies and irritations to their skin? Meat-based diets, especially those of overused proteins like chicken and fish, are the prime suspects in food allergies and intolerances for our pets. Creatin increased itchy fur leading to sore skin, infections, and even canine alopecia, switching that poultry and meat for foods dense in Omega 3 and Vitamin E (like leafy greens, chia seeds and soybeans) can help keep your dog’s coat thick, shiny and flake-free and aid in the elasticity and suppleness of their skin.
Lower in cholesterol and saturated fats than their meat counterparts, vegan diets can help your dog reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancers, reduce the likelihood of weight-related illnesses like obesity and diabetes and help maintain a healthy and productive immune system.
From Vitamin A to Vitamin C, vegan diets rich in superfoods like blueberries, spinach and root vegetables can help keep your dog as healthy as can be. Naturally supporting your dog’s ability to fight off illness, adding a little 5-a-day to your dog’s diet can really help keep their tickers ticking all year round.
Support Nutritional Intake
Vegan diets are incredibly helpful in the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals that help keep our four-legged friends happy and healthy. Even with the absence of meat, dogs can still get protein from sources such as tofu, quinoa and nuts which is vital for growing pups and pregnant and lactating females who need a little helping hand.
Vital for essential blood and cell repair, brain function and a healthy cardiovascular system, B12 is a vitamin our pets need to thrive. Unable to B12 in their bodies, dogs usually consume fish or meat products to gain this vital vitamin. However, fortified non-dairy products like soy and almond milk are a fantastic way of adding B12 to your dog’s diet if opting for a vegan lifestyle.
Top Vegan Dog Foods on the Market
Wondering where to begin when transitioning your dog onto a vegan diet? When feeding your dog, a vegan diet, plant-based protein sources are the key to a nutritionally dense diet.
One of the healthiest and most wholesome plant-based proteins for your dog is Hemp. Rich in Omega 3 and 6, this protein can help contribute to better skin, coat, joint and eye health for your pooch. Unlike proteins like pea and soy, hemp is 100% hypoallergenic – pawfect for those pooches with sensitive stomachs.
Vegan Meals for your Dog
Just like us humans, our dogs love to eat food that is fresh, nutritious, and full of flavour. Creating dishes in your home can be a fantastic way of monitoring exactly what is going into both your and your dog’s body. It's important to ensure that their diet includes a balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, as well as supplements or fortified foods to provide necessary vitamins and minerals such as B12.
Understanding just how flavoursome and fantastic a vegan diet can be, we have added one of our favourite Vegan dishes for you to try with your furry friend.
Vegan Bento Bowl
For this ravishing recipe, you will need:
- 1 large, sweet potato
- 100g brown rice
- 100g quinoa
- 25g of blueberries
- 25g of edamame beans
- 25g of flax seeds
10g of xylitol-free natural nut butter (chunky peanut butter is great)
- Start by chopping your sweet potato into bite-size chunks and roasting for 45 minutes
- Steam the brown rice, quinoa, and edamame beans until soft
- Add the rice and quinoa to the centre of your dog’s bowl
- Fill the edges with sweet potato and edamame beans
- Top your dog’s bowl with blueberries, flax seeds, and natural nut butter
Important Notice – ensure any vegan diet contains a substantial meal that is specially formulated to support the intake of vitamins and minerals. Brands such as Hownd and Lily's Kitchen have plant-based formulas in their dry and wet food to boost the nutritional goodness for your furry friend.
Transitioning to a Vegan Diet
One of the main factors to consider when switching your dog to an all-vegan diet is ensuring they are getting the right nutritional support they need to live a long and healthy life. Although for us humans, adapting to a vegan diet means switching what we purchase in our local supermarket – feeding our furry friends requires planning, understanding and preparation to ensure your dog is happy and healthy.
With any changes to your dog’s diet, you must always consult your pet’s veterinarian before making any drastic differences to their nutritional intake. Your vet will consult and discuss what foods are best for your dog and recommend any supplements they might need to support any ongoing conditions your dog may have.
Tempt them With Treats
Wanting to slowly transition your dog onto a plant-based diet? Try Soopa’s Healthy Bites and Dental sticks for a low-fat reward that is packed with pawfuls of plant-based goodness. Hypoallergenic and formulated to support brain, eye, joint and digestive health, the combination of fantastic fruits and veggies give your dog a delicious treat straight from Mother Nature’s back garden.
Benefiting both your dog’s overall health and even the health of our planet, veganism is becoming one of the most popular dietary changes in recent years raising awareness of just how powerful plant-based living can be. So, if you are wondering if both you and your pet could benefit from an alternative lifestyle, switch some of your and their meat-based snacks for vegan alternatives and take small steps in supporting your dog and the planet this Veganuary.