There is no animal product that a domesticated dog needs to eat. There are certain nutritional requirements dogs have, all of which can be found in non-animal sources. The fact that there are many perfectly healthy vegan dogs in the world today attests to this. In fact, some health problems dogs face could be avoided by abstaining from animal products. According to The facts about meat-based and vegetarian cat and dog diets by veterinarian Andrew Knight, various case reports indicate the following health benefits experienced by dogs that eat an animal-free diet:

  • Increased overall health and vitality
  • Decreased incidences of cancer, infections, and hypothyroidism
  • Decrease of parasites that live outside of the body (fleas, ticks, lice and mites)
  • Improved coat condition
  • Control of allergies
  • Reduction in obesity
  • Arthritis regression
  • Diabetes regression
  • Cataract resolution and
  • Better digestion

Check this story for a more in-depth look at a vegetarian dog that lived to be 27 years old.

Dogs are often mistaken as carnivores when in actuality they are omnivores or scavengers. According to Small Animal Clinical Nutrition 4th edition, “The word carnivore can be used to indicate either a taxonomic classification or a type of feeding behavior. The order Carnivora is quite diverse and consists of 12 families containing more than 260 species. Omnivorous and carnivorous feeding behaviors are most common among members of the order Carnivora; however, the order also includes species that are herbivores (e.g. pandas). Dogs are opportunistic eaters and have developed anatomic and physiologic characteristics that permit digestion and usage of a varied diet.” So, the next time someone asks you the infamous question “…but aren’t dogs carnivores?” you can casually and confidently explain to the person that dogs are of that order but they are actually omnivores and can live an extremely healthy life on a veg diet. Then tell them about Bramble the 27-year old vegan dog!