The big issue for me when turning vegetarian/ vegan was what I would feed my dogs. I love my dogs SO MUCH...verging on an obsession (honestly, I may just like them more than people), and would never want to feed them anything that would make them sick, or unhealthy. Up until a few months ago, I had been feeding them "Orijen" dog food (NOT vegan). For dry, meat based dog food, in my opinion, it is one of the best. There are several reasons for this in that it is high in protein (nearly 80% for most flavors), and void of many commonly used fillers, such as wheat, corn, etc. When transitioning to the vegan dog lifestyle I would feed my dogs this dog food, coupled with fruits, veggies, grains, lentils, beans and sometimes eggs. My dogs have been eating fruits and veggies their entire lives as fill ins- and treats (just try and stop Ottis from running eagerly to the slicing of an apple, or Popeye from drooling at soy beans). Furthermore, all of the dog treats I give them have been/are vegan based, and made mainly at home. So, jumping them to a vegan based diet was not a huge leap in my mind. That being said, I still wanted to make sure it was a slow transition.
There are several reasons why I chose the vegan lifestyle for my dogs, but I assure you it began from a selfless position. My greatest 'naysayers' believe I chose this lifestyle for them because of my own choices as a vegan human. This is completely false. Although admittedly it brought me to the research of veganism in dogs, it was never my intention to change their diets, I was only curious. I was perfectly content purchasing the best high meat based foods for them, and still would if I felt that this change was harming them in any way. Once I delved into the research I became to realize how HEALTHY it is to support their system with vegan foods. Even after I did all of the research, it took me a few years to try it out with them, taking baby steps the entire way. It especially doesn't help having the majority of dog owners get ANGRY at anyone who makes this decision for their pets. I understand where this anger comes from, truly I do, but from my standpoint I have done all of the research I can, and know what a dog needs to thrive like the back of my hand. I feel that the lack of support stems from fear of the unknown. The bottom line is that many dog owners are not willing to try, and I don't entirely blame them, but it makes it contoversial for them to get so angry when they really have no way of knowing. This isn't to say that there isn't enough research to back it up (as I will show you in the following posts on this page), but it is to say that this research is often bombarded and crushed by all of the negative, and often unsubstantiated press. What is true is that there are thousands upon thousands of pet owners who have chosen this lifestyle for their pets, and have seen the benefits first hand. Shouldn't those tried and true cases be taken into account??
Bottom line: I am not here to say that the vegan lifestyle should be the only way all of a dogs needs are met. But, I am here to say, through active results, that it is another viable choice for dog owners, and that if done properly, will promote a healthy lifestyle for their dogs. SO, join me on my vegan dogs' journey, as they enter a world of new and delicious foods! (just click on the posts on the vegan dogs page)
And without further ado, meet the vegan dogs themselves, my lovable team who bring me great joy each and every day (....at least for most of it):
OTTIS (..yes, with 2 "T's", because that's how this former show dog likes it!!)
Breed: Smooth Coat Fox Terrier
Current Age: 13ish (and going strong!!)
How We Met: I adopted Ottis when he was 6 years old while I was in the third year of my Bachelor of Arts. It was love at first sight! For the first 6 years of his life he was a show dog, and then a 'Stud'.
Best Quality: Ottis LOVES all people and children.
Worst Quality: Ottis gets distracted easily. Although is generally good on a leash, he often pulls really hard if he sees an small animal (...or flying leaf).
Favorite Toy: Popeye (my 2nd dog)
Favorite Vegan Food: Apples and Tomatoes
POPEYE (...on account of her missing eye)
Breed: Unknown (but we think she has chihuahua, and possibly a Korean breed in her)
Current Age: 3
How We Met: Popeye came into my life when I lived in Korea. I found her online at my cities animal shelter website (which euthanizes animals after only 10 days, no matter how healthy). Popeye's puppy life was a sad one, filled with neglect and abuse that resulted in the loss of one of her eyes. When I found her she was covered in feces, scared, and malnourished. Now, she is healthy and happy!
Best Quality: Other than being ADORABLE, Popeye LOVES to play, with a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g. Lids, corks, socks, you name it! It makes for very cheap toys!
Worst Quality: Popeye likes to gnaw on my 'unmentionables' (gross).
Favorite Toy: Her "Wubba", her nylon bones, and a wine bottle cork.
Favorite Vegan Food: Peanut Butter and Soy Beans.