The vegan dog
Kery Shaw is one of many vegan dog owners aligning their pets’ lifestyles with their own.
Ms. Shaw, a freelance photographer who lives in San Diego, was on medication for irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, allergies and recurring sinus infections when she learned about the health benefits of a plant-based diet. She decided to go vegan, abstaining from meat, fish, eggs, dairy and other foods made from animals.
On the new diet, her health improved so much that she wondered if Portland, her golden retriever who was suffering from bouts of diarrhea and itchy hot spots on the skin, could also benefit from a vegan diet.
She switched him from a meat-based dog food to a vegan kibble that uses a pea-based protein and forgoes corn, soy and wheat, and saw his symptoms clear up. She supplements his diet with homemade smoothies and vegetables.
“He’s a cancer survivor, and he has way more energy than ever,” she said of Portland, who now has a clean bill of health.
Dog owners turn to plant-based foods for ethical, environmental and health reasons, noting that byproducts from mistreated or diseased livestock sometimes make it into foods and that animal agriculture is a leading source of greenhouse gases requiring copious amounts of water.
Makers of plant-based dog foods, say their food meets the nutritional standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, an organization of commercial feed producers and government officials that seeks to safeguard consumer and animal health. Vegan dog foods contain protein from plants like soybeans, potatoes or peas and are supplemented with the vitamins, minerals and amino acids, like vitamin B12 and calcium, that the feed organization recommends for dogs.