My Dog is a 55lb Pitbull… And He’s Vegan!

By Kassy Ortega, Outreach Coordinator

You may be thinking: “Dogs are carnivores and need meat!” “Dogs wouldn’t eat just plants in the wild.” “Forcing your beliefs on your dog is wrong.” “You are killing your dog.”

Let me respond with the following: Dogs are omnivores. Dogs have been domesticated over thousands and thousands of years – the ones in our homes are no longer “wild” animals. If forcing a healthy lifestyle on my dog is wrong, I don’t want to be right. My dog is happy, healthy, and thriving.

Meet Paco. Paco is an adopted American Staffordshire Terrier, weighs approximately 55lbs and turned 4 years old in February (yes, I threw him a birthday party). His story is similar to most vegans: he was not raised vegan, and became plant-based later on in life.

Paco and Patrona share about their vegan diet on the Vegan Outreach blog!

(Patróna on the left. Paco on the right.)

I always had Paco’s well being in mind, so I fed him a high-quality meat-based kibble. Soon after going vegan, I learned that dogs could survive, even possibly live longer, on a nutritionally complete vegan diet. My little guy has been vegan for 2 years, and he is just as healthy as he was on a high-quality meat diet.

Paco lives with my roommate’s dog, Patróna, who is also vegan! These pups will give you the scoop on what they eat, play with, and munch on when they aren’t taking a nap.

Paco’s Faves

Favorite Kibble: V-Dog Dry Kibble
V-Dog Vegan Dog Food!

V-dog is the perfect kibble for my little dude. Skin allergies are common for his breed, so the hypoallergenic formula makes this the perfect fit.

Where to buy: Online and in some stores

Favorite Toy: Nylabone DuraChew Double-Action “Bacon” Flavor
nylabone green

For a powerful chewer like Paco, rawhides and femur bones aren’t going to cut it because 1) We know the many hazards that come with “real” bones and 2) Ew. Not all Nylabones are vegan, but the company states: “Dura Chew Bacon flavored bones contain non-meat based flavoring. The ‘Bended Bone’ and ‘Stick’ also contain a non-meat based bacon flavoring. All of these products are flavored with a vegetarian (plant-derived) natural flavoring that does not contain any meat protein. Similar to ‘Tofurky’ and ‘veggie-burgers,’ they have the meat flavor without the meat.”

Where to buy: Any pet store or online.

Favorite Treat: Fruits, Veggies, and Chickpeas

Why buy overpriced treats when Paco is just as happy eating baby carrots? I typically slip the pups a brussel sprout or an apple slice here or there while cooking or making smoothies. Giving Paco fruits and vegetables as treats gives me peace of mind around with all the dog treat recalls, and is much better for my wallet. Note: Some fruits and veggies can be poisonous. Ask Google if a new fruit or veggie is okay to give to your furry friend.

Where to buy: No need to buy, peek in your fridge!

Patróna’s Faves

Favorite Kibble: Nature’s Recipe Vegetarian Formula
Nature's Recipe Vegan Dog Food!

Patróna has been fed Nature’s Recipe Vegetarian Formula since day one in her adopted life. It’s an affordable vegan kibble that can be found at most major retailers.

Where to buy: Any pet store or online.

Favorite Toy: Squeaky or Crunchy Stuffed Animals
bottle cruncher

This little girl loves snuggling and chewing on her stuffed animals! You can buy stuffed animals online or at pet stores. For an eco- and wallet- friendly option, you can always buy stuffed animals at thrift stores (just be cautious of the filling and other hazards).
Where to buy: Any pet store or online.

Favorite Treat: Old Mother Hubbard’s Just Vegg’N Biscuits
OMH Vegan Dog Biscuits

Ingredients you recognize at an affordable price ($10 for a 3lb bag!). Who can argue with that?
Where to buy: Any pet store or online.

Read more about vegan dogs from a veterinarian here.

41 thoughts on “My Dog is a 55lb Pitbull… And He’s Vegan!

  1. Kassy both dogs are adorable! What a sweet little face your little Paco has! Good for you for giving him a birthday party! I know you love your dog very much! I have a black chihuahua, Shelby and two cats.

    Happy Birthday to Paco! I love both dogs very much!

  2. What a great article & information! The Patróna & Paco are just adorable. I’ve wanted to recreate my dogs’ diet (I have 4 dogs!) into vegan/vegetarian to match my diet & lifestyle, and this info is awesome! Thank you!

  3. This is amazing! I have been wondering about this matter for a while now, so this has cleared everything up. They are beautiful and cruelty free! Just amazing, good on you!

  4. my 3 dogs are vegan as well and quite healthy. They get v-dog, and beyond meat chicken, smashed bananas with peanut butter, dried blueberries and peanuts.

  5. im sorry but how can you say you love your dogs when you are doing more harm to them than good , a dog is a carnivor by nature and by genetics there for feeding them a vegan diet is crule and blatent animale crultey , would you feed a lion or a tiger or any large cat a vegan diet , or how about a wolf which by the way is a direct family member to domesticated canines you say you dog is a 55lb pitbull when the correct weight for a pitbull is around 35kg (77lb) to 45kg(99lb)

    so i say to you
    shame on you SHAME on you

    1. Pitbulls can range in weight and as she suggested this dog appears to be a staffie, which 55lbs for male is very accurate. However she is still doing them a horrible injustice by forcing them to eat a diet they were not designed to eat. I was however surprised to learn the dog is only four, looks to be much older. Based on the appearance of his eyes and other characteristics. So yes, it is a safe bet you are slowly killing your dog.

      You say your dogs are vegan? Here is a test, throw a nice large raw steak in front of them and see what happens.

      1. Agreed itt is not natural for dogs or people for that matter.
        They must have what make intended. I have tead the ingredients in vegan foods that is no better them processed food. Full of junk i wouldn’t touch. And, r.i.p. to my friend, linda, who was vegan 22 years and died..watching her skin turn gray, With dark circles under her eyes her hair falling out, her, naturalpathic doctor told her she must eat meat or die, and she refused. Long painful desth. She was 47 and looked 60. I go to whole foods and i can tell the long term vegans by how they look. You’re kidding yourself. And you should be fined for animal abuse.

  6. My concern is that Vegan Food is not always organic. This is a problem for me as animal feed can be GM modified. Whilst there is a fine in Europe for not labelling GM food for humans (£20K) it is legal to have animal feed genetically modified. Especially soy is a big problem. GM foods and feed have let to cancers and tumours in laboratory animals tests (poor animals). I am very interested in the organic versions of vegan animal feed and also the Vitamin B12 questions. Dogs can’t tell you when they have symptoms of B12 – tingling of hands and feet and physically low stamina. So this is also a concern – but having said all that I agree that my doggies are happy to eat veggies and love peppers the most! But they also like avocado, carrots and coconut oil! All organic of course.

  7. What a load of rubbish ….dogs are carnivores …look at their teeth, meant for tearing flesh and crunching bone….not plants and biscuits

  8. Is any of this organic or has it all been treated with pesticides? I am Vegan and would love to switch to a vegan product for my pets – but not conventionally grown in toxic chemicals.

  9. The dogs are not vegans, being a vegan is a choice and they are not choosing. If you were a vegan then why do you keep pets? Clearly not committed that much to animal welfare if you are keeping animals captive

    1. Oh you’re right they would have a much better life in the shelter in a cage where they likely came from. What a dumb statement. Maybe when idiots like you stop buying puppy mill dogs , dogs wouldn’t be killed daily in the shelter.

  10. When your dog dies from all the defiencies it’s lacking, when your dig has multiple seizures and dies blame yourself. Let them in the backyard and let a rabbit run across the yard we will see how vegan they are.

  11. If you feed your dogs vegan diets, you are committing cruelty to your canInes. A dog, by it’s natural diet, is a carnivore. This is the healthiest for him! Don’t enforce your diet and your beliefs onto your pet, as he won’t get the required nutrients he requires.
    This is sheer folly and complete idiocy! Your diet is NOT the same as your dog. Your canine is reliant upon YOU feed him the proper food. Do so responsibly and with proper education.

    If any of you feed your canines vegan or vegetarian, much less your cats, too, you should honestly be charged with animal cruelty. Please educate yourselves better for the sake of your pets!

    1. This is not defined as cruelty. At least they love their dogs & are not animal abusers (thank goodness). Cats are a little bit more carnivorous than dogs if im not mistaken.

    2. Are you kidding me? How many names do you have? If you’re such a devoted meat eater, why go to a vegan site? Besides needing more mentoring in courtesy and spelling, please get a life.

  12. I think feeding your dog vegan food is great because no animal gets hurt (cows, pigs, etc.). Unfortunately i cant feed my dog vegan food because those foods are pricey. Those people that think this is “cruel” (you dont know what cruel is) need to rethink what they say. I mean c’mon at least they’re not beating (excuse me for saying this) the animal- now thats cruel! As long as the pets are happy, why should there be a problem? After all, pets come first & if they refuse to eat vegan stuff, then thats a sign they dont like vegan food. Those dogs seem to be doing fine.

  13. I think I can make my own dog food and treats. If I buy vegan and avoid foods dogs are sensitive to, shouldn’t be hard. Plus she will think she gets my leftovers which always excites her! Supplement with other dog food. But honestly dogs suffer from modern diseases because of piss poor diet in processed foods, just like people. I think my dog would benefit from a diet of made from scratch non-gmo crap, mostly vegan too. No promises as the hubby is still omni.

  14. Dogs are not vegan. Just because you have imposed your lifestyle on them, it does not mean they are vegan. Your dogs need meat in their diet. Everything about dogs, from their prey instinct, to their teeth, to their digestive tract indicates that they eat meat. Please stop putting this rubbish on the internet because biologically DOGS NEED MEAT IN THEIR DIET. Not giving them the nutrients the need is cruel.

    Feed your pets a SPECIES APPROPRIATE DIET. Do some research please! It is called science and it backs up the claim that dogs must have meat in their diet if you couldn’t tell that from just looking at the animal.

    1. Now you, whoever you are, you are really not wanted nor needed here! If all you can say is
      “dogs need meat in their diet”, ok we heard, now go do something else. Why don’t you go to a Humane Society and help out dogs that you are so concerned about.

  15. I too do the most natural and healthy thing for my animals. For me that is feeding them a Prey Model RAW diet. However, as I would hope anyone feeding an alternative diet does, I have my animals blood tested bi – annually to insure that they are in fact healthy and receiving all the necessary nutrients they require. You on the other hand are feeding a diet of grains and vegetable matter that a dogs system was never intended to process and the vitamins and nutrients they need are added into the food in artificial form. Additionally, while you may get away with feeding a dog a vegan diet without causing it harm, should you try the same with a cat, you will kill it. Cats CAN NOT live with out meat. They are obligate carnivores, meaning they MUST have meat in their diet, specifically the mineral Taurine. Without they will die. So I do not like seeing articles spewing the wonders of veganism in carnivoes. It isn’t natural, nor is it healthy!

  16. Sorry to tell you, but dogs are CARNIVORES! They have been from day one and not only are their bodies designed as carnivores and that their DNA is only off by .2% of their ancestor, the wolf, their organs & digestive system are designed as carnivores too. Ever look at your dogs teeth too. And yes, not only have I studied wolves for 28yrs and African wild Cat(small cat- our domestic cat’s true ancestor) for 22+yrs but have owned, studied, animal behaviorist & dog trainer for 26yrs/30yrs and researched their nutritional needs based on THEIR bodies design and needs NOT based on my beliefs. I use to be a vegetarian for many many many years, unfortunately I was not getting enough protein in my diet(I’m a fussy eater and don’t like many vegetarian foods especially all the different kinds of beans & tofu) so I have gone back to eating some meat. I don’t like that farm animals are killed for food, but I am also a Christian and know the Lord Our God gave us “specific” animals to be used for food and most important, HE designed our animals to eat meat. They require lean muscle meat/organs/fat/bone from mainly herbivore/angulate animals. I do not like the way farm animals are treated either so don’t go telling me things I already know and I donate as much money as I can and sign every campaign for better treatment of ALL animals, domestic, wild life, marine mammals & farm animals.

    But if you want information proving dogs, just because they are domesticated doesn’t make them omnivores, they are CARNIVORES, let me know and I’ll post tons of info for you to learn.

    And just because your 2 dogs look healthy, just remember this, to digest vegetation(which actually isn’t eaten in the wild either except grass when they have eaten something bad or have upset stomach or are under some form of mental or physical stress & only small berries are ever eaten by wolves and we have observed them that they passed right through into their feces……dogs & carnivores like their ancestor the wolf, digestion is 2hrs! Unlike humans average of 8 to 24hrs; cats are actually 1hr!) “their pancreas has to over work to produce more enzymes to break down all the cell walls in all plant matter” And even if your food process, blend, puree, steam your vegetation, not all the cell walls break down(I have a VitaMix to prove it) so their pancreas is being over worked. And actually other organs get over worked too like the kidneys & liver too to process that type of diet.

    1. By the way, you could feed Horrible Dry Kibble (& some canned foods are actually better than ALL dry kibble) to your dogs and they’d still be 55lbs but just wait for all the disease that will occur later in their life including more and more cancer, obesity, diabetes, thyroid problems, kidney & liver disease & failure, IBD, IBS, allergies up the Ying Yang including most all skin allergies, chronic ear infections, etc

  17. This is just WRONG. Dogs are carnivores, what makes you think they would wanna eat vegan? Those poor dogs. That is just stupid.

  18. Nice to see so much common sense in the comments! Dogs are carnivores/omnivores and while they can survive on a vegetarian diet, they cannot thrive and will never be happy. It’s not the blatant abuse and cruelty that comes from feeding a cat this way, as they will go blind, but it’s selfish and wrong. I DO respect them leaving these comments up, but hope they will love their dogs more, by feeding them right.

  19. PLEASE CHANGE THE FRUIT IMAGE!

    Hi! I’m Drew, a veterinarian and a vegan. I fully support feeding dogs a healthy AAFCO-approved Vegan dog food.

    BUT DO NOT EVER SHOW A PICTURE OF GRAPES IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE SUGGESTION THAT YOU FEED DOGS FRUIT AND VEGETABLES.

    I do not care if you followed it up with “some fruits are poisonous, so ask your vet.” Please GET RID OF THAT PHOTO that shows grapes. Please?! Grapes KILL DOG KIDNEYS.

    http://aspcapro.org/sites/pro/files/q_0.pdf

    It’s irresponsible to juxtapose that image with one suggesting you feed your pets fruits. Please! For the love of all that’s vegan and furry, get rid of the picture! Please!?

  20. Professional veterinarians advised against a vegan or vegetarian diets for dogs. Get a rabbit or something. I mean would you feed meat to a horse. In either case it’s irresponsible. If your worried about health feed your dog grass fed beef or free range chicken or organic dog food. Omg people these days.

  21. Everyone posting that dogs are carnivores should read some facts posted by veterinarians: http://web-dvm.net/dogs-are-omnivores-and-should-be-fed-as-such/
    Dogs are SCAVANGERS before anything and are therefore omnivorous with most of their diet coming from plant sources and what ever is available. Do they eat meat if they come across it? Yes, probably the rotting carcass of something already killed. For you to say this is ‘cruelty’ is an over-exaggeration. The dogs are well fed. Do they have nutrient deficiencies? Possibly. Do you? Probably. They may not live to their absolute max life if they have deficiencies, but then neither will you. Personally, giving them meat now and again seems more natural and safer for the dogs to me, while continuing to feed regularly with the vegan food. But these posts about ‘how dare you subject your dog to your lifestyle’ posts are ignorant. And what exactly are you doing to your dog? Oh yea, subjecting them to whatever YOU deem appropriate. One of the longest living dogs was vegan. It may not be for you, but maybe you people should look up some facts (and not biased ones from dog food manufacturers, or unfounded ones from a dog grooming website) before you post. Learning from others will teach you a lot more than jumping to conclusions based on what you already believe or have heard.

  22. I tried 2 v-dog food twice 1 year apart. My dog still has skin issue with this product. You need to make limited ingredients.

  23. Is great about dog’s but in EU we don’t have so many choices for vegan cat’s food is either soya or potatoes (amycat, bonevo) .. for Cats the problem with ph urine… NEEDS to be 6.5 or the kidneys will be destroy + many stone’s . … So any Tips to make my cat’s vegan will be great… ty

  24. Just saw this for the first time while searching for which varieties of Nylabone are vegan. 🙂 My first foray into vegan diets for dogs was for my rat terrier who had digestive issues caused by the meat in her diet. She and my other dog were happy, healthy vegan dogs from then on–for all but that first year of their 16.5 and 17.5 years of their lives. Usagi may have been older, actually…but that was the youngest anyway. Since they passed on, I miss them every day…that’s part of the reason I get upset when people attack people with vegan dogs by saying they don’t care. I did a ton of research, met other dogs who were vegan, went to canine nutrition seminars, and so on. I wasn’t just choosing a vegan diet to help other animals, but also because I feel it’s a great nutritional choice for *my* dogs as well, and not just for the one who was meat intolerant, but for all of my dogs, including the dog I adopted after they died. My chihuahua is a happy, healthy, vegan dog who has a nicer coat and overall body condition on his vegan diet than he did on the diet he was fed in the past.

    Thank you for this wonderful post, and please ignore the negative comments claiming that dogs are carnivores, which is simply not true from a nutritional perspective (they are catagorized as such only by taxonomy, just like pandas, who are herbivorous.), or that a dog should be fed meat because he will eat a steak if you throw one in front of him (he will also eat oreos if you through that in front of him, does that mean he should be fed a sugar-based diet?) or that it’s “unnatural” (so is instructing a dog not to pee and poop all over the house, but we do that, don’t we? So is expecting a dog not to bite small children who behave too roughly, startle them, or screech and fall on or near them, but we expect them to do that, too, along with a bajillion other “unnatural” things like asking them not to rifle through the trash for food (like their ancestors have done to feed themselves for hundreds of years), chew on anything and everything they please, chase our cats, and so on).

    Your dogs are adorable! My canine “neice” (my brother’s dog) is a rescued staffie/bull terrier mix and she’s a beautiful vegan girl as well. It’s not as uncommon as people think, and there are *many* commercial vegan diets available now (with many different plant-based protein sources), as well as tried and true home cooked recipes, and just-add-protein mixes on the market. There’s lots of support out there, wonderful information, books, classes, discussion groups, and more. Thanks for posting this article. I hope it helps educate people who want a healthy, humane diet for their own canine companions. Oh, and thanks for the tip about Nylabones! 🙂

  25. My dog has been vegan for a year. He is gorgeous, heathy*and happy. *He recently had a teeth cleaning and routine exam. The vet was entirely impressed with his condition.

    Most of the commenters say a vegan diet for dogs is unnatural and unhealthy, but provide no logical basis for their statements. Maybe they need to examine their own illogical, immoral justifications for eating the flesh of fellow animals themselves.

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