There is a lot of debate about whether vegan dog food is healthy for the canine kingdom. After all, dogs descend from wolves, and wolves eat animal-based meat, not plant-based, right? Although it is true that they ate animal-based protein, it is also true that their diet was also made up of veggies, fruit, grains, grass, and many more non-animal ingredients. Wolves and dogs are omnivores, not carnivores, as many people incorrectly believe.
But the big question is, is it healthy for dogs to eat a vegan diet? After many decades of research, the answer is yes, a vegan diet can be just as beneficial as an animal-protein diet. Additionally, a vegan diet has several benefits compared to a meat-based diet. However, it’s essential to understand that not all dogs do well on a vegan diet. And if you are thinking about switching to a vegan diet, you must consult your vet.
We look at what vegan dog food is and the benefits of switching to a vegan diet. We also explore what to look for in high-quality vegan dog food to help you find the right option for your dog. And finally, after a lot of detailed research, we recommended a selection of our favorite vegan dog food products. There’s also a handful of frequently asked questions. So, let’s dig deeper into the world of plant-based dog food.
At A Glance: Our Favorite Vegan Dog Food
Halo Vegan With Superfoods
Freely Grain-Free Vegan Wet
What Is Vegan Dog Food?
A vegan diet is a form of vegetarian diet that excludes all animal-derived products such as meat, eggs, and dairy products. For example, vegetarians eat honey, butter, and eggs, but vegans do not. And vegan dog food follows the same principles – no animal-derived products. Certified nutritionists create vegan dog food, which must meet the same standards as any other dog food. These standards are set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO.)
Human diets are changing, with many people choosing less meat or switching to a meat-free diet as they become more conscientious about their health and the planet. The vegan dog food market is expanding, too, thanks to increased access to animal welfare information and consumer concern about their pet’s health. The vegan dog food market is expected to be valued at $13.5 billion in 2023 and is predicted to increase by 7% over the next decade.
What Are The Benefits Of Vegan Dog Food?
Many dog owners now understand that dogs can survive on vegan dog food, but the question is, can they thrive on it? And the answer is yes. High-quality vegan dog food can meet the nutritional needs of dogs. Dogs don’t need meat. They need protein, which also comes from plant products. Vegan diets also offer several benefits, including:
- Reduction in allergies.
- Smoother digestion.
- Healthy skin and coat.
- Improving cardiac health.
- Decreasing the risk of diabetes and some cancers.
- Improving bad breath.
- Weight management.
Can All Dogs Eat Vegan Dog Food?
No, vegan dog food is not suitable for all dogs. So, before you chuck your meat-based dog food away, discussing the switch with your vet is crucial. They can offer tailored advice for your pooch and whether vegan food suits and benefits them. For example, dogs suffering from dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) are unsuitable for a vegan diet. Many other health conditions make some dogs unsuitable for a plant-based diet.
Most vets do not recommend vegan dog food for puppies or pregnant dogs as they need more protein, fats, and other nutrients than standard adult dogs. And this is sometimes difficult to achieve through a plant-based diet. If they don’t receive these nutrients, it can negatively impact their development and long-term health.
Vegan Dog Food Buying Guide
Nutrition plays a huge part in your dog’s health, so you must get it right. You must speak to your vet before switching to a vegan diet. But once you’ve got the go-ahead, here are some things you need to consider to find the best vegan dog food for your pooch. Let’s take a closer look.
AAFCO is a collaborative association that promotes a safe food supply for pets by regulating ingredient standards, nutritional content, manufacturing, and more. When looking for food for your dog, you should always look for the AAFCO label on the product that states AAFCO approves it. If it does, you know that it is nutritionally complete and meets the needs of dogs. Vegan dog food must meet the same standards, so look for this label. The label also states which life stage the food is intended for, although vegan food is not recommended for puppies.
The ingredients in vegan dog food should be high quality and not contain artificial additives or colors. Read the ingredient list and look for high-quality ingredients such as chickpeas, peas, rice, oats, spinach, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and flax seeds. If you’re switching to vegan food due to an allergy, it’s essential to read the ingredient list to ensure it is not present.
According to AAFCO, adult dogs need a minimum protein content of 18% for maintenance. All AAFCO-approved dog food products display a guaranteed nutritional analysis label stating the protein content, among other dietary data. If you have a seriously active or working dog, you should opt for a higher protein content than this. Some dogs with specific health concerns do better on a lower protein content than this, such as those with kidney problems. This is another reason to speak to your vet about your dog’s nutrition.
The reputation of a brand is another important factor. Most well-known brands that are AAFCO-approved and highly rated by pup parents have a good reputation. Many well-known brands have had to recall products before, but most have dealt with health concerns quickly and with integrity. Before you switch to a brand, be sure to do a little research on them first. Looking at online reviews from other dog owners is also a great way to find a good quality product.
As much as you might want your pooch to eat a vegan diet, whatever your reason, it is Fido who has to eat it. Giving them time to make and accept the switch would be best. However, like all foods, some dogs don’t like certain products. And if you’re finding they are not accepting their new vegan food, you need to consider whether it is the best option for your dog. Most dogs welcome high-quality vegan dog foods, but sometimes, you might have to concede that they prefer or need an animal-protein-based product.
Best Vegan Dog Food
Now you know more about the benefits of vegan dog food and how to choose the best product for your pooch, let’s look closer at our list of best vegan dog foods. Read each review to find the best product for your dog’s needs. We have researched and found various vegan options to suit different requirements, preferences, and budgets.
Halo Vegan With Superfoods
- Made with blueberries, cranberries, carrots, and apples.
- Contains a blend of pro, pre, and postbiotics for digestive health.
- Enriched with vitamins and minerals.
- Contains beneficial omega fatty acids.
- Made without GMOs, soy, corn, or wheat.
- Contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
Halo has made this kibble with doggy digestive systems in mind, which is a top choice for dogs struggling with gastrointestinal health. Every bite contains a blend of beneficial microflora, thanks to pre, pro, and postbiotics. It also contains pumpkin, a prebiotic fiber known to soothe doggy stomachs. The first few ingredients are oats, peas, and chickpeas, which are protein-rich and provide slow-release energy.
The protein content is 27%, far above the minimum level adult dogs need for maintenance. Sweet potatoes, blueberries, cranberries, carrots, and apples provide an extra boost of antioxidants to support your dog’s immune system. This AAFCO-approved nutritionally balanced meal helps skin and coat to look and feel beautiful, nourished with flaxseeds and sunflower oil. It offers the highest concentration of healthy omega fats compared to other dried kibbles.
We love that this kibble offers a vast range of pro-, pre-, and postbiotics to encourage a healthy gut and flora for dogs struggling with digestive health. This dried kibble combines quality and price, making it a top vegan product.
Freely Grain-Free Vegan Wet
- Grain-free dog food.
- Wet food option for fussy dogs or those who cannot eat kibble.
- It is AAFCO approved and nutritionally balanced.
- This recipe is enriched with vitamins and minerals, including taurine.
- Contains prebiotics for smoother digestion.
- Limited ingredient recipe.
This is a lesser-known brand, but the reviews on this high-quality vegan product speak for themselves. This is a limited-ingredient and grain-free recipe, making it suitable for many dogs with various sensitivities. It is still nutritionally complete for a healthy meal and can be mixed with kibble to make it more interesting. The recipe is enriched with additional taurine to support your pup’s cardiac system and antioxidative vitamins.
When looking at the protein content in wet food, it is vital to convert it to what is known as “dry matter basis” to allow you to compare. This product offers a protein content of just over 31% when calculated. Making this a top option for those seeking a high-protein vegan option and minimizing the impact of meat production on the planet. The main ingredients are peas, sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, and dried chicory root.
We love that this is one of the only grain-free vegan options currently available, making it the best choice if your pooch’s diet cannot contain grains.
- Fresh vegan food made with human-grade ingredients.
- Gently cooked to maximize nutritional value.
- Meals are frozen to lock in nutrients, meaning no need for preservatives.
- Fuss-free subscription service delivered straight to your door.
- Sourced and made in the USA.
- Bramble gives back to animal welfare organizations.
Bramble is a relatively new company, but they are proving to be very successful in the vegan dog food market. They offer two vegan recipes, the Cowbell and the Roost. The Cowbell is their best-selling recipe, which is also grain-free, making it great for dogs with grain sensitivities. It lists peas, sweet potatoes, carrots, and apples. The Roost recipe contains peas, brown rice, butternut squash, and blueberries. This higher-protein option offers over 35% on a dry matter basis.
They run a fuss-free subscription delivery service. All you need to do is set up an account, answer a few questions about your dog, and their board-certified vet nutritionists create a personalized vegan meal plan. It only takes a few minutes, and you can pause or cancel anytime. These convenient and highly nutritional meals use the finest quality ingredients. Their packaging is also made from fully recycled materials, so they go even further in being environmentally conscientious.
We love that this premium, fresh, subscription-based service delivers nutritious and tasty vegan dog food straight to your door.
Our Personal Experience With Bramble
“We have a very picky veggetarian eater. We finally found a kibble that didn’t upset his tummy, but he wasn’t a fan of the taste. We since started adding Bramble as a topper and he’s obsessed! He can’t wait for meal time now and begs for food (before we had to beg him to eat). The box ships 8 frozen 1 pound packs of food which you store in the freezer. (The box itself was very eco-friendly and no waste or dry ice). To thaw out, put in a bowl of water in the fridge and it comes with a clip to seal the bag once you open it (or we store it in a sealed container in the fridge to keep it fresh). It does not have a strong odor and the consistency is soft and easy to scoop (versus other canned foods we’ve tried in the past). We love that it’s all fresh, wholesome ingredients and gives Georgie all the nutrients he needs while he gobbles up the kibble with it!”– Sadie Cornelius, dog mom to Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Natural Balance Vegan Dry
- Limited ingredient dry kibble.
- Offers a lower protein content which is ideal for some dogs.
- Contains green peas and brown rice for healthy, slow-release energy.
- Canola oil and flaxseed nourish skin and coat.
- Enriched with vitamins and minerals.
- Most budget-friendly option.
Natural Balance is a well-known brand that also offers vegan-friendly plant-powered food. This limited-ingredient kibble provides the nutrients your pooch needs with wholesome vegetables like peas and potatoes and grains such as brown rice, oats, and barley. Canola oil and flaxseed are listed, which supply your pup with healthy omega fats for their skin and coat. And taurine supports your dog’s cardiac system.
The protein content is 18% which is AAFCO-compliant. Some dogs do much better on a low-protein diet, so this option is excellent. Spinach, cranberries, and kelp meal are rich in antioxidants to support your dog’s immune system, and yucca schidigera helps the digestive tract to operate smoothly, generating healthier stools. Calcium and phosphorus keep teeth and bones strong and healthy.
We love that this option is the most budget-friendly vegan kibble that offers top-quality plant-based food.
Our Personal Experience With Natural Balance
“Our 2.5 year old dog is on a meat-free diet due to anal gland issues. We’ve tried several vegan brands for our picky eater. He likes Natural Balance and has stuck with their plant-powered recipe. His bowls are normal and he gobbles the little disc-shaped pieces up!”– Sadie Cornelius, dog mom to Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Natural Balance Vegan Canned
- Complete and balanced vegan formula for all breeds and sizes.
- Made with fruits and vegetables such as cranberries, peas, and spinach.
- Enriched with vitamins and minerals.
- High in moisture thanks to vegetable broth keeping Fido hydrated.
- Yucca schidigera extract aids digestion and reduces stool odor.
- Compliments the Natural Balance kibble.
This wet food option compliments the Natural Balance dry kibble above. There aren’t many canned vegan options, and this is one of the best. Not all dogs can eat dried kibble, such as seniors with little to no teeth and fussy dogs. Offering wet food is also a great way to get extra moisture into their diet if they don’t drink as much water as they should. Vegetable broth is the first ingredient making it extra moist and full of vitamins.
Like the kibble option above, this recipe suits all size breeds. It contains potatoes, brown rice, barley, oats, and carrots full of nutrients and protein. The protein content is just over 22%, making it an excellent option for dogs that need an average amount of protein. Canola oil and flaxseed nourish skin from the inside out, keeping their coat shiny and healthy. It is enriched with vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A and B12, for an extra immunity boost.
We love that this is a great wet food option for dogs needing more moisture than kibble. It’s also an excellent way to make the Natural Balance kibble more appetizing to fussy dogs.
Gather Vegan Dry
- Premium kibble option.
- Crafted with certified organic plant-based ingredients.
- Lists barley, oats, flaxseed, and quinoa, which are rich in fiber and other nutrients.
- Contains blueberries, cranberries, and carrots for an extra antioxidant boost.
- Rich in healthy omega fats thanks to sunflower oil and other ingredients.
- Ingredients are sourced from sustainable farms and the bag is made with 20% plant-based material.
Gather is a lesser-known brand, but the company creates a handful of premium organic dried foods. Their vegan-friendly kibble is available in two flavors, which are Endless Valley and Free Acres. Endless Valley is their bestselling option, and it helps dogs thrive on a meat-free diet. The main protein ingredient is organic peas, followed by oats, barley, and lentils, contributing to a total protein content of 22%. Their ingredients are sourced from sustainable suppliers, doing their bit for planet Earth.
Nutrient-rich cranberries and blueberries support immune function, and taurine aids heart health. Your dog’s coat thrives thanks to being rich in healthy omega fats, which come from flaxseed and sunflower oil. It is suitable for all breed sizes and is nutritionally complete for maintenance. It contains no GMOs, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, only organic goodness.
We love that this vegan product is only crafted with certified organic plant-based ingredients, making it a premium option and ideal for dogs with various sensitivities.
Just Food For Dogs Fresh Vegan
- This fresh food is lightly cooked to maintain its nutrients.
- Made with human-grade ingredients.
- Lists vegan-friendly ingredients like tofu, sweet potatoes, quinoa, and white mushrooms.
- Contains antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables such as white mushrooms and blueberries.
- Enriched with additional vitamin and mineral supplements for healthy immunity.
- Cooked in an open kitchen that you can visit.
This fresh vegan diet doesn’t require a subscription service like most other fresh diets. Instead, order what you need or what your freezer can take, and store it frozen until required. Some owners prefer ordering on demand rather than depending on regular deliveries. This formula is made in the USA in open kitchens across the country where you can visit. The protein content is high at just over 30%.
Small batches are lightly cooked to ensure the nutrients maintain their goodness. The human-grade ingredients include soy, sweet potato, mushrooms, and blueberries. They also list ancient grains like quinoa which are nutrient-dense. Safflower and flaxseed oil pump healthy omega fats into their bowl, keeping their skin supple and fur shiny. Taurine supports heart health, as well as other essential vitamins and minerals.
We love that this is a fresh option that requires no subscription. Just order this highly nutritious fresh food as and when you need it.
V-Dog Vegan Dry
- Nutritionally complete dry vegan dog food.
- Contains wholesome grains such as quinoa and brown rice.
- Peas and lentils provide plant-based protein.
- Contains vitamins and minerals, including taurine.
- Lists prebiotic ingredients to help soothe digestion.
- Canola oil, flaxseed, and peanut hearts contain healthy omega fatty acids for coat health.
This vegan dog food is one of the most popular vegan options on the market, and you might have heard of them. V-Dog is a nutritionally complete and balanced meal for all adult dogs. It lists peas, brown rice, oatmeal, and potato as the main ingredients, which offer protein and wholesome grains that are gentle on the stomach. It also lists alfalfa meal which is very dense in protein, contributing to the 24% protein content.
In addition to the added vitamins and minerals, the ingredients listed include dried celery, blueberries, cranberries, beets, lettuce, watercress, and spinach. So if you want Fido to eat their fruits and veggies, this is a top choice. Canola oil, peanut hearts, flaxseed, and sunflower chips are rich in healthy omega fats for a healthy coat. Yucca schidigera helps to soothe digestion and reduces stool odor.
We love that this dry food is a winner with most fussy pups who love the flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Vegan Dog Food Good For Dogs?
There is a lot of debate about whether dogs can eat vegan dog food. But with careful consideration and expert advice, dogs can be healthy on a vegan diet. It must be a high-quality product that meets AAFCO standards. However, even high-quality vegan dog food is not suitable for all dogs. Your vet must approve vegan dog food to ensure it is ideal for your dog based on their health status, age, and lifestyle.
Can Puppies Eat Vegan Dog Food?
Most vets strongly advise against feeding your puppy a plant-based diet. Feeding your growing pup a nutritionally balanced diet designed specifically for the developmental puppy stage is essential. They need more protein, healthy omega fats, and other nutrients than adults. And feeding a puppy a plant-based diet might increase certain risk factors for their long-term health.
Do Vets Recommend Vegan Dog Food?
There are many different veterinarian viewpoints on vegan dog food. Some support the idea as long as it meets their nutritional needs, and others are against the notion of a no-meat doggy diet. The president of the British Veterinary Association states that it is possible to feed a dog a vegan diet, but “it’s much easier to get it wrong than to get it right.” So, if you decide to feed them a plant-based diet, you must take extra caution and consult with a qualified canine nutritionist.
Can I Make Homemade Vegan Dog Food?
You shouldn’t give your dog homemade vegan dog food for several reasons. Firstly, unless you are a canine nutritionist, there’s a high chance that the meal you make isn’t going to be nutritionally complete. This is especially true with vegan dog food. A lot of time, research, and expertise have gone into making vegan dog food. Therefore, buying vegan dog food for Fido is much safer than making it yourself.
Secondly, many plant-based meat options available for humans are highly processed and heavily seasoned. Not only does it contain high levels of salt and fat, which can cause stomach upset for dogs, but it also contains seasonings such as onion, chili, or garlic, all of which are toxic to dogs. Lastly, many online DIY dog food recipes are not from trusted sources. Some of these so-called “dog nutrition experts” haven’t had proper training, and their recipes might do more harm than good.
If you want to make your own vegan dog food, you must speak to your vet or a qualified canine nutritionist who can provide safe and qualified advice. The American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN) website allows you to search for a board-certified canine nutritionist.
Now you know that Fido can survive on vegan food, but many dogs can also thrive on it. You might have thought that a plant-based diet wasn’t any good for canines, but it has many benefits. Remember that a vegan diet is not recommended for puppies or every dog, so you must speak to your vet before making the switch. But once you’ve got the go-ahead, know that you are providing your dog with a healthy diet and contributing towards a healthier planet.