Plant based dog food is a trend that has been steadily catching on in the industry as pet parents look for more ways to be sustainable and lower their carbon footprint. As the trend experiences a boom in popularity, pet parents have become much more interested in learning more about plant-based options. After all, dogs need to get a certain amount of nutrients such as proteins, fats, water, vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates, and consumers want to be sure that these needs are addressed in plant-based recipes.
Freshpet realizes that it is important for pet parents to evaluate products to find foods that best fit the needs of their furry friends. Here, we explore a brief overview of plant-based dog food as well as a few commonly referenced benefits of these products.
Can Dogs Survive on Fully Plant-Based Dog Food?
One of the biggest questions that pet parents have regarding plant-based dog food is if their dogs can get their nutritional requirements from them. This is an important question because we naturally want to provide our dogs with products that will best set them up to live long, happy, and healthy lives.
Many pet parents hold the misconception that dogs are carnivores, meaning that they need meat as the cornerstone of their diets to receive their necessary nutrients. Experts have found that this is not the case, and dogs are actually omnivores that can get their nutrients from fruits and vegetables. This means that dogs can survive on plant-based dog foods, but there are a few important things to keep in mind when evaluating plant-based products that do not include animal proteins in their recipes.
What’s The Catch?
While dogs can get the nutrients that they need from plant-based dog foods, finding the perfect balance can be tricky with strict vegan diets. Dogs require a certain allotment of vitamins and minerals, that can differ depending on their breed, size, and age. These requirements can make it difficult for them to receive the right amount of each on vegan diets alone. For this reason, experts recommend not feeding your dog strict vegan products without consulting a trusted veterinarian for dietary advice first.
What is the Difference Between Vegan and Vegetarian Dog Food Recipes?
When comparing vegetarian and vegan dog food options, it is important to be aware of the key differences between these products. Vegan dog food is entirely comprised of plant-based proteins, fruits, and vegetables formulated to ensure that dogs’ nutritional needs are met, but this balance can be difficult to attain without the use of animal proteins, vitamins, and minerals associated with other products.
Vegetarian pet food differs from vegan products because they usually will include eggs as a source of animal protein along with fruits and vegetables. This minor distinction can make a huge difference for helping dogs get their recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals while still working towards making the pet food industry more sustainable and inclusive. Freshpet has recently stepped into the vegetarian dog food space with our Spring & Sprout line, which is 100% meat free, uses cage-free eggs, and includes high-protein plant proteins for a complete and balanced plant-based diet.
Are There Any Benefits of Plant-Based Dog Food?
As plant-based dog food options experience a boom in popularity, experts and pet parents have been conducting a lot of research to evaluate the niche. Naturally, a popular question among pet parents is whether there are any benefits to feeding their dogs plant-based foods. Below are a few of the most commonly cited potential benefits for plant-based diets for dogs.
Promotes Sustainability in the Pet Food Space
Sustainability has become a popular talking point within the past few years and for a good reason - protecting our planet for future generations is crucial. Many people subscribe to plant-based diets themselves because they realize the meat production industry can have a negative environmental impact. Plant-based dog food products stand out as an efficient way to reduce our reliance on meat production, meaning that tremendous amounts of water and energy can be saved while waste production is reduced.
Provides Potential Solutions to Allergies
Believe it or not, the most common food allergens for dogs are proteins. Dogs who are fed a food with a large amount of protein that they are allergic can experience a variety of symptoms including itchy skin, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and lethargy. Foods that include a mix of plant-based proteins can be a good choice for dogs that suffer from allergies to common animal protein sources and can work to reduce symptoms associated with their allergies over time.
Contributes to Healthy Weight Management
Dogs that are having trouble digesting their food, either due to allergies or otherwise, can often have issues that lead to them becoming overweight. A benefit of plant-based products is that plant-based diets are normally lean and contain easily digestible ingredients. This quality can help dogs maintain a healthy weight while also helping them feel less weighed down and lethargic.
Includes Anti-Inflammatory, Immune System Boosting Ingredients
Plant-based dog food often contains fruits and vegetables with anti-inflammatory properties, which can help with certain inflammatory issues such as joint pain and arthritis typically seen in older dogs as they age. This is due to the fact that many fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that protect dogs’ tissues against damage, lowering inflammatory responses that can impact their mobility. A bonus is that antioxidant filled foods that are common ingredients in plant-based products can also boost their immune systems, providing a bit of protection from a host of conditions and diseases.
Considering a Plant-Based Dog Food for Your Furry Friend?
Pet parents who are considering a plant-based diet for their dogs can rest assured that there are a variety of products that are formulated with their nutritional needs in mind. As is the case with any other significant change to a dog’s diet, pet parents will want to do the necessary research to ensure that their choice is the best fit for their furry friends. This due diligence should always include a visit to a trusted veterinarian who can be a great resource for learning more about their nutritional needs and whether a plant-based diet can properly accommodate them.