Humans around the world follow plant-based vegetarian and vegan diets often for religious, ethical, environmental, health or taste preference reasons. Many people thrive eating plant-based food and want to share their lifestyle with their pets. There are animals that are naturally vegetarian (or herbivorous) like many birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, and tortoises, but what if you have a pet that naturally eats meat?
With the right nutrient balance and careful attention to giving your dog all of the vital protein they require, some dogs can live happily on a vegan diet. In this guide, I’ll be covering six vegan dog food recipes and some store-bought alternatives, but before we dive in I have an important word of caution: Dog owners should not put their dogs on a vegan diet without first consulting closely with a veterinarian.
Why Would You Choose a Vegan Diet for Your Dog?
Allergies to meat products are the number one reason to choose a vegan diet for your dog. Very few vets will recommend vegan dog food for dogs that do not have allergies to meat, and the first option most vets will recommend will usually be choosing an alternative low-allergen protein like bison, venison, duck, or even kangaroo.
Most people who are interested in making the switch to vegan dog food are interested for environmental and ethical reasons as feeding the entire world of humans and pets a meat based diet may not be sustainable long term.
One option is to look into some dog food brands that source their meat sustainably–there are lots of options out there.
Is a Vegan Diet Safe for Dogs?
If correctly formulated–with the help of a vet–a vegan diet can be safe for dogs, and can be extremely beneficial for dogs with meat allergies. So, yes, a vegan diet can be safe for dogs, but it needs to be carefully monitored by a professional.
Best Homemade Vegan Dog Food Recipes
It’s time to dive into our seven best vegan dog food recipes!
Note that while these recipes are plant-based, some include supplements that include animal protein, and your vet may suggest similar additives to ensure your dog is getting a balanced, biologically appropriate diet.
1. “Almost Vegan” Homemade Dog Food
Believe it or not, this “almost vegan” dog food recipe comes to us from a dog food business called Yumwoof best known for making low-carb dog food. While Yumwoof uses animal protein in their dog food formula, they also understand that some dogs need a vegan diet, and create supplements to add vital nutrients to create the best plant-based dog food.
One of the best things about this recipe is how high-protein it is. Almost every ingredient gives your dog a clean source of protein and tastes delicious thanks to savory nutritional yeast. To make this a complete and balanced vegan dog food, Yumwoof recommends adding their Perfect Dog Food Mix, a nutrient blend designed to be added to fresh ingredients. While it is mostly plant-based, this blend also includes powdered beef liver.
- Yield: ~30 cups
- Serving Size: 2 cups per day
- Guaranteed Analysis (crude): 14% Protein – 4% Fat – 2% Fiber – 57% Moisture
|40 oz sweet potatoes||Preheat your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.|
|30 oz canned chickpeas||Peel and cut the sweet potatoes and summer squash into 1-inch cubes.|
|2 ½ lbs cooked brown rice||Add the sweet potatoes and summer squash to a large pot of water and put over medium-high heat. Bring to a low boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until both squash and sweet potatoes are fork tender. Drain, and set aside to cool.|
|2 lbs summer squash||Drain chickpeas and rinse thoroughly under cold water.|
|5 Tbsp coconut oil||In a large roasting pan, combine all ingredients and mix well, mashing the pre-cooked squash and sweet potatoes. The final consistency should be like a wet dough. If more moisture is needed, add a tablespoon of water at a time and mix.|
|1 Tbsp nutritional yeast||Spread the mixture evenly in the roasting pan and place in the oven for 1 hour before removing and setting aside to cool.|
|700 g pea protein||Break the cooked dog food into small pieces using a spatula and store for feeding. Can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.|
|1 bag Perfect Dog Food Mix|
👉Commercial Alternative: Wild Earth Complete Protein Dog Food
Not in the mood to cook? Try Complete Protein Dog Food from Wild Earth! Made from chickpeas, pea protein, and sweet potato, this plant-based dog food is ready to serve and already features all the nutrients your dog needs and according to some it’s the best vegan dry dog food on the market.
Buy From Wild Earth | $90 for 18 lbs
2. Meatless Homemade Dog Food with Peanut Butter
Created by Samantha Randall–Boxer dog lover and contributing author at Top Dog Tips–this dog vegan dog food recipe relies on peanut butter for the bulk of its protein content! A perfect recipe for dogs who are hesitant about the vegan lifestyle, this dog food is basically like giving your pooch a peanut butter treat (but healthy!) for every meal. This might not be a good choice for dogs with diabetes, senior dogs, or dogs that are trying to lose weight. Thanks to the peanut butter, this recipe is relatively high in fat as compared to protein, and is best for active dogs who can use the extra energy.
While this recipe is a great option for feeding your vegan dog, the author herself notes that it is not fully nutritionally balanced and needs supplementation. Remember, always chat with your vet before trying a vegan diet for your dog so they can help to recommend the right nutrients to add to their food.
- Yield: 15 cups
- Serving Size: 1 ½ cups per day
- Nutrition per ½ cup: 9.1 g protein – 17 g fat – 4.6 g fiber
|6 cups water||Add water to a large pot and place over high heat. Bring to a boil.|
|3 sweet potatoes, cubed||Add sweet potatoes, rice, quinoa, and lentils to boiling water. Reduce temperature and bring to a simmer, cook for 30 minutes. Water will be absorbed.|
|½ cup brown rice||Remove the pot from the heat and add peanut butter, apple cider vinegar, and flaxseed oil. Mix thoroughly to combine ingredients and create a loose mash.|
|½ cup quinoa||Allow the mixture to cool completely before serving. Lasts up to 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.|
|1 cup lentils|
|3 cups peanut butter (sugar and xylitol-free)|
|1 cup apple cider vinegar|
|½ cup flaxseed oil|
👉Commercial Alternative: Petaluma Roasted Peanut Butter & Sweet Potato Dog Food
Made from 100% plant-based ingredients, Petaluma’s peanut butter dog food features delicious ingredients and a complete and balanced formula so you can forget adding extra supplements to your dog’s diet. For environmentalists, this brand has some other exciting features, like powering their U.S.A.-based plant with solar power!
Buy From Petaluma | $93.95 for 18 lbs
3. Low-Fat Vegan Dog Food
This homemade vegan dog food recipe was created by vegan food blogger Good Food Vegan for a senior dog with pancreatitis. Designed to be easy to digest and healthy for dogs who need a low-fat diet, the key protein source in this food is textured vegetable protein or TVP. TVP is a popular vegan ingredient sometimes used as a meat replacement thanks to its robust and slightly spongy texture. Sold dehydrated and ready to make, TVP is made almost entirely from soy, which is naturally high in protein.
Keep in mind that this particular recipe is great for older dogs with specific dietary needs, but is not a complete and balanced diet. Be sure to talk to your vet before you try this vegan dog food.
- Yield: Approximately ⅔ cup or a single serving for a small-medium dog
|⅓ cup unflavored textured vegetable protein pieces||Combine TVP and boiling water in a heatproof bowl. Set aside and allow TVP to hydrate and cool, about 5 minutes.|
|¼ cup boiling water||Add rice and brewer’s yeast and stir to combine. Serve immediately.|
|⅓ cup cooked rice|
|2 tsp brewer’s yeast|
👉Commercial Alternative: PawCo Foods
PawCo Foods makes fresh vegan dog food blends that feature TVP as their main ingredient! With four recipes to choose from, there’s an option for every dog, and you can purchase meals on a subscription basis so you never run out.
4. Pea & Fennel Puree Vegan Dog Food
Easily one of the most creative vegan dog food recipes you’ll find, this pea and fennel puree formula was created by Leni Lecker of Vegan4Dogs. Leni includes two options for this recipe. The first involves serving the pureed mix plain, which works beautifully if your dog doesn’t care about crunch. The second option involves rolling some of the puree into balls and frying it to give your dog a little bit of added texture.
Not a complete diet, this is another recipe that will require supplemental nutrients.
- Yield: One serving (for a 30 lb dog)
|4 ¾ cups cooked peas||Using a food processor, grind the rolled oats with salt into coarse oatmeal and transfer to a bowl.|
|150 g fennel, sliced||Add a few inches of water to a saucepan and steam the fennel until soft.|
|1 cup rolled oats||Puree peas, fennel, parsley, and water in the food processor until soft then transfer to the reserved oatmeal mixture. Stir to combine.|
|1 ¾ Tbsp sunflower oil||Add the sunflower oil and any supplements, stir again, and serve!|
|¼ tsp salt|
|¼ cup chopped parsley|
|¾ cup water|
👉Commercial Alternative: V-dog Kind Kibble
Also made from peas and oatmeal, V-dog’s Kind Kibble is an easy alternative to this pureed recipe, and includes all the vital nutrients your dog needs to be happy and healthy.
Buy From V-Dog | $71.99 for 30 lbs
5. Grain & Veggie Medley Vegan Dog Food
Another recipe from Samantha Randall of Top Dog Tips, this vegan dog food recipe is lentil, quinoa, and sweet potato-based with peanut butter for flavor. Quinoa, which is a fabulous nutrient-rich grain, helps to pack this recipe full of key vitamins and minerals, and like many other recipes, this includes apple cider vinegar for digestion and allergy relief.
- Serving Size: 1 cup per day
|6 cups water||Bring water to a boil over medium-high heat.|
|½ cup rice||Add rice, quinoa, lentils, and sweet potatoes to the boiling water. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until ingredients are soft.|
|½ cup quinoa||Remove from heat and add peanut butter and apple cider vinegar. Stir to combine and allow to cool before serving. Lasts in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or 6 months in the freezer.|
|1 cup lentils|
|3 medium sweet potatoes, cubed|
|3 cups peanut butter (sugar and xylitol-free)|
|1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar|
👉Commercial Alternative: Bramble Pets The Cowbell
Save yourself a little time by buying fresh, pre-made vegan dog food from Bramble Pets! The Cowbell formula features lentils and a medley of vegetables including sweet potatoes, peas, and apple.
6. Best Vegan Dry Dog Food
Dry dog food is a lot more convenient than wet dog food, and Samuel Warde of Vegan Food Lover has created the perfect dry vegan dog food recipe. Made for easy storage and longer shelf life, although it should still be kept in the refrigerator. If you are low on freezer space, or your dog just prefers dry dog food, give this recipe a try.
Note, like most of the recipes on this list, this is not a complete balanced diet and will need to be supplemented with additional nutrients.
- Yield: About 8 servings
|2 cups dry pinto beans, cooked according to package instructions||Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.|
|2 cups brown rice, cooked according to package instructions||Pre-cook the pinto beans and rice according to the package instructions.|
|1 large sweet potato, cubed||Add sweet potato, carrot, and flax seeds to a large pot. Cover with water and cook over medium heat, about 30 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Drain and allow to cool for 10-20 minutes.|
|1 large carrot, chopped||Combine all ingredients (except coconut oil) in a food processor and puree until mostly smooth.|
|1 cup lettuce, chopped||Grease a baking sheet with coconut oil and pour the puree onto it. Spread into an even layer and transfer to a preheated oven. Bake for 45 minutes.|
|2 Tbsp flax seeds||Remove from the oven, flip, and return to the oven. Reduce heat to 300 and bake for another 45 minutes.|
|2 Tbsp peanut butter (sugar and xylitol-free)||Remove from the oven and break into small pieces. Reduce heat to 200 and bake for an additional 30-60 minutes, or until the dog food is dry. Allow to cool completely before serving.|
|1 Tbsp coconut oil|
👉Commercial Alternative: Gather Endless Valley Vegan Recipe
Avoid the oven time and choose a pre-made dry vegan dog food instead! Gather’s recipe is fully balanced and made from clean, organic, responsibly sourced ingredients.
Buy From Amazon | $44.99 for 6 lbs
*Serving size calculated for a 30 lb. dog
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