Vegan Dogs: The ONE Question.
When it comes to the topic of vegan dogs, there's a consistent, misinformed carnivore vs. omnivore sparring.
After years of hot debates, you can find dozens of articles and interviews questioning if a dog can (or should) be vegetarian, vegan or plant-based. Aside from a small few, they’re all pretty much the same. No conclusion really, just an ongoing, “Let’s wait and see” debate.
Quite frankly - stick a fork in me - I’m done like dinner on this topic.
Having said that, I have deep respect for veterinary professionals who are doing their best day after day and fielding questions from thousands of people on the topic of canine nutrition. There are no simple answers and in fact, this subject (combined with plant-based nutrition) is extremely complex considering the diversity of breeds, genetics and the evolution of our domestic dog's diet.
My intention as an entrepreneur and founder of Virchew is to ask new questions to find new, maybe even bold, solutions. I feel without a doubt, due to new demands from discerning paw parents questioning sustainability and ingredient transparency, and in our case, plant-based options, it’s time to write a NEW story about our dog’s diet. Here’s a good start.
First, let’s compare this to the exact hot debate that has occurred in plant-based human nutrition in these three stages:
Resistance: “We need meat for protein and survival!” (Carnivore)
Reaction: “A diet high in vegetables, fruits and fiber could be beneficial.” (Flexitarian)
Research: “Research has shown that a vegan diet is considered one of the healthiest diets for humans.” (Vegan)
If you were to take this same trajectory and place it on the canine plant-based trajectory, the start of the two paths would be the same. Exactly the same. We’re somewhere between the resistance and the reaction.
I’ve been watching and experiencing this human diet debate for over 35 years both professionally and personally. Instead of asking, “Show me the research that proves humans can be vegetarian (or vegan) and don’t need meat”, I ask, “Show me the research that proves we cannot thrive on a vegan diet”.
Here’s the thing. There isn’t one study that proves or even indicates that we need meat to survive as a species. We don’t. Period. (Want to learn more about the intriguing philosophy behind this human condition? Google, “Beyond Carnism” by Melanie Joy, Ph.D.)
So, what about our dogs? Same, same. We wrangle across the virtual table and even witness outright bullying to caring animal lovers who dare to share their vegan dog success stories. These same misinformed people even challenge highly-educated and experienced veterinarians!
After 25 years of researching vegetarian/vegan dogs and interviews with dozens of veterinarians, I ask you this ONE question:
“Have you ever seen one study that proves dogs cannot thrive on a vegan diet?”
We’ll explore more on this important (and hot) topic next!
*Hey Greater Vancouver! Virchew has just launched Fall 2020! Since we’re not a typical retail brand and we deliver direct to your dog’s door, we reached out first to our animal loving, plant-based and/or vegan community to meet 50 dogs! Well, it worked! We're oversubscribed and now have a waitlist. Thank you, Greater Vancouver!
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