What are some of the potential benefits of vegan dog food?

Image of dehydrated sweet potato slices

Co-founders Garrett Wymore and Caroline Buck created Petaluma after struggling to find dog nutrition that equally prioritized their pets and the planet. After spending years working in the pet food industry, Garrett saw firsthand how environmentally harmful the category can really be. He also recognized the irony that animals were rarely taken into consideration during the process of making dog food, from cruel animal testing practices to the use of meat from livestock raised in poor living conditions. 

Vegan or vegetarian dog food - formulas made without using any animal products - can provide a number of potential benefits for dogs.

Allergy Relief

One of the most obvious benefits is symptom relief in dogs that experience dietary allergies. Interestingly, the most common allergens for dogs are proteins found in food, such as beef, chicken, dairy products, and eggs. Dietary allergies are relatively common in dogs, although the exact prevalence is not known. 

Allergies in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetic predisposition, environmental exposure, and the immune system. Symptoms of dietary allergies in dogs can include skin irritation, scratching, biting, and licking, as well as gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. If you suspect that your dog may have allergies, it's important to consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Improved Digestion 

Even if they don’t have an allergy, some dogs may have trouble digesting animal proteins, and a plant-based diet can help to improve their digestion and reduce gastrointestinal issues. Petaluma conducts invitro digestibility latest studies for each of its formulas. Our most recent study found that the protein sources in our adult diet are 93% digestible, which was impressive compared with the lab’s average for animal protein digestibility in dry dog food of ~89%. 

Ethical Considerations 

Many people choose to feed their dogs a vegetarian diet for ethical reasons, as a way to avoid supporting the meat industry. Nearly all animal protein used in dog food in the U.S. comes from factory farms. Animals are often subjected to cruel and cramped living conditions, and the facilities themselves have many negative consequences for the environment. 

  • High levels of greenhouse gas emissions: The production of animal protein, especially from ruminant animals such as cattle, can generate high levels of greenhouse gas emissions, including methane and nitrous oxide. These gases contribute to climate change and can have negative effects on the environment.
  • Deforestation: Factory farming often requires large amounts of land for animal grazing and feed production, which can lead to deforestation and the loss of natural habitats.
  • Water pollution: Factory farming can generate large amounts of animal waste, which can contaminate water sources and contribute to water pollution.
  • Antibiotic resistance: The use of antibiotics in factory farming can lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which can pose a threat to human and animal health.
  • Animal welfare: Factory farming often involves intensive confinement and high-stress conditions for animals, which can compromise their welfare and cause suffering.

If you’re considering a meat-free diet for your dog, it's important to make sure that formula was made to be complete and balanced (according to AAFCO standards) to ensure that it provides all of the essential nutrients that dogs need. It’s wise to chat with a veterinarian before switching your dog to any new diet.

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