Veganism for Dogs: Sensible, Harmless or Irresponsible?

Posted on: 4 August 2019

Each year, more and more Australians are choosing to become vegan, and Australia is in fact the third fastest growing vegan market in the world. It's up to the individual to consider the various environmental and ethical implications of consuming animal products before making their own choice. Do you know who can't make that choice? Your dog. Your pooch is a domesticated animal, and so they eat precisely what pet food you give them. Should your ideology extend to what your dog eats?


It's a sensitive topic, with many contradictory viewpoints. The UK branch of the RSPCA considers vegan pet food to be a form of animal cruelty, and to solely force an animal to consume such food is a breach of the animal welfare act. On the flipside, a proposal for shelter dogs in Los Angeles to consume a vegan diet was endorsed by many prominent vegans, including the musician Moby -- that's the musician Moby, and not the veterinarian or zoologist Moby. There are no easy answers, so what should you do if you're a vegan who is uncomfortable about feeding meat to your dog?

Herbivore, Omnivore, Carnivore

What you definitely shouldn't do is abruptly switch your dog to a vegan diet. If you wish to make such a drastic alteration to your dog's diet, you should consult with your vet, who will discuss the benefits and risks along with the long-term implications. It's crucial to consider the fact that on the carnivore-to-herbivore spectrum, the domesticated dog can be placed between the omnivore and the exclusively carnivorous. You might be a herbivore, but your dog is not, and an entirely vegan diet could deprive your dog of certain nutrients which cannot necessarily be easily replicated with sufficient potency in a plant-based pet food.


A compromise could be possible, and you might be able to decrease the amount of animal products your dog consumes. It's imperative that you don't simply start this on a trial-and-error basis. Consult your vet first. If you were to experience any health concerns as a result of your diet, you could simply discuss this with your doctor. Obviously, your dog cannot, and any diet-based health complications need to be avoided before they have a chance to occur. As a compromise, you might wish to feed your dog meat of a higher ethical standard, such as free-range mince, combined with vegetables and appropriate grains, as opposed to processed dog food.

While you might prefer that your dog shares your vegan lifestyle, remember that your dog has not made that choice, and you shouldn't make that choice on their behalf without carefully considering all the possible implications.