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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Healthy, Ethical or Not? Vegan Dry Dog Food, Vegetarian Dry Dog Food






Healthy, Ethical or Not? Vegan Dry Dog Food, Vegetarian Dry Dog Food – is it really good for your dog. Are the pet food industry's offerings of vegan and vegetarian dry dog food actually ethically sourced and formulated? In this article I look at an actual Case Study - what went right, what went wrong, and why, and I discuss in further depth ethical issues and impacts…

Actual Client Case – Seriously ill Dog Needs Help Now!

A woman contacted me after her veterinarian told her that her dog had “vestibular disease, maybe cancer under the ear canal, and probably epilepsy”. 

Her veterinarian wanted to prescribe additional courses of antibiotics, seizure medications, and do invasive (surgical) investigation. After listening to her veterinarian’s recommended ‘course of action’ my soon-to-be client contacted me.

After listening to her brief, the very first question I asked her was “what are you feeding your dog?” Her prompt reply was “I just switched to vegan dog food a few months ago, as my dog had chronic ear infections, and did not want to put my dog back on veterinarian prescribed food”. The vegan dog food just happened to be the most popular brand of vegan dog food sold in North America.

After going on the vegan dog food, her dog developed the foll serious health issues…
1.     Ear infection returns
2.     Acquired:
a.     Head tilt
b.     Tremors and twitching
c.      Sudden collapse of legs
d.     Seizures
e.     Stressed dog, no energy, stiffness

After one (1) week on the holistic, species appropriate custom designed diet I did for my new client’s dog…
1.     No head tilt, ear infection clear
2.     No tremors and twitching
3.     1 collapse on the first day of new diet – none since
4.     No seizures
5.     Stiffness gone
6.     Energy levels up
7.     Happy dog

Why did the Expensive, Dry Processed Vegan Dog Food Make This Dog so Ill?

Highly Processed Dry Food Triggers Health Issues

The manufacturing process used to create dry dog food (meat-based or plant-based food) presents several unsolvable complications that result in serious, chronic health problems for dogs. Even the BEST dry dog foods are subject to these problems. Here are a few examples of those unavoidable pitfalls:

  • Carcinogens are an unavoidable side effect of high-temperature processing
  • Over processing destroys essential nutrients making it necessary to add reconstituted and synthetic additives to the food product.
    • The majority of reconstituted, synthetic essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals are contaminated with GMOs, heavy metals and other toxins that add to your dog’s toxic load, taxing the organs which must deal with the elimination of toxins and triggering his/her body's inflammatory response.
  • A dog’s digestive system, eliminatory system, and immune system are not evolved to consume, process, absorb, and eliminate large quantities of dry, processed food. A daily diet consisting of dry highly processed food is a leading cause of immune system problems, urinary tract problems, premature aging of organs, oral health problems, gastrointestinal problems, arthritis and a host of other inflammatory conditions
  • Dry processed food does not contain or provide sufficient levels of good source essential; Omega-3 fatty acids – the body and brain’s natural anti-inflammatory. This critical deficit serves to increase the body's inflammatory response, leaving your dog prone to many inflammatory conditions and chronic diseases.

Primary Ingredients in Vegan, Vegetarian Dry Dog Food

The primary ingredients are grains, and legumes such as chick peas, lentils, green peas and soy.   

Grains
Grains, even good quality organic, ancient grains are not dog-friendly. A dogs digestive system is not not evolved to thrive on grains. Grains trigger multiple inflammatory conditions, and chronic diseases in dogs. Now consider the following:
  • The vast majority of grain-in dog food consists of non-organic grains
  • The grains are typically animal feed-grade, not human food-grade
  • Grains such as rice can be contaminated with heavy metals that the plant absorbs through its roots and leaves – i.e. non-organic arsenic is common in rice. 
  • Genetically modified grains (i.e. GMO corn, GMO soy) contain higher levels of toxic residue than conventional grains, and have been proven to cause the growth of tumors, trigger the development of serious gastrointestinal problems and more. 
  • Animal feed-grade grains can contain higher levels of contaminants including aflatoxins, vomitoxin, zearalenone – naturally occurring, potent cancer-causing toxins. While many pet food companies test for the presence of these naturally occurring contaminants, the fact remains - allowable levels of contamination exceed that of human-food grade products. Your dog is just as susceptible to illness from these contaminants as you are.
It’s not just your dog that will be adversely effected by consuming GMO grains... 

GMO agriculture destroys the living microbes in soil that are essential to supporting healthy plant life that wild animals rely on as their food source. When GMO crop fields are sprayed with Monsanto’s 2, 4-D Agent Orange. Natural organisms have now become resistant to the heavy doses of 2, 4-D. The FDA has just approved a new, more potent chemical called Dicaumba for use on soy and cotton GMO crops, which will serve to add additional health hazards. You can read more about that here. These chemicals leach into the water table exposing wild animals to carcinogens, hormone disrupters, mutagens and other very real adverse health impacting cruelty. GMO crops have been proven to cause bee colony collapse.  If you purchase GMO contaminated food, marketed as Vegan by the pet food industry, you are unknowingly supporting Monsanto’s GMO crops, Monsanto’s lack of ethics, their animal cruelty, and destruction of the natural environment. It is not a pretty picture, and it’s certainly not what you intended to do! 

Legumes
Legumes such as chick peas, lentils, navy beans and peas may be tolerated by some dogs, particularly when ingested in small amounts, but when consumed daily as a major ingredient in a food product – legumes can cause serious health issues due to the presence of lectin proteins.  Lectin proteins can travel through an organism, and for that reason are used by plants to help divert predators from eating the plant. The ability to travel allows lectin proteins to pass from the digestive tract into the blood stream, after which they can attach themselves to various tissues resulting in poor nutrient absorption, and may also cause an autoimmune response resulting in a host of inflammatory conditions and diseases. 

Vegan and Vegetarian Dry Dog ‘Food’ Is Unethical, and Cruel

Dry food products comprised of species inappropriate foods, and synthetic additives can have a significant adverse impact on the quality of a dog’s life, and can shorten a dog’s life-span.

Some people can chain smoke their entire life, remain relatively healthy, live to 105 years of age and pass away in their sleep of old age – but this type of genetic resilience to toxic exposure is more rare than common. The same is so for dogs - however the majority of people and dogs simply cannot weather the abuse to their body – the result is serious illness. 

People who feed their dogs vegan or vegetarian dry dog food products are trying to do the right thing as they seek to:
  • Provide their dog with relief from illness, or;
  • Aid in the fight against cruelty to farm animals.

The pet food industry simply sees this as an opportunity to take advantage of a special niche, an opportunity to make large profits - the health of your dog is a low priority, although the industry would like you to believe otherwise.

I have been a vegetarian since I was a pre-teen – for ethical reasons. Even at a very young age I could not tolerate animal cruelty. Going vegetarian was a decision I made on my own, as a young child while living amongst others who consumed meat on a daily basis.  My choice.

In my opinion animals that live on a farm (so called ‘farm animals’) should NOT be called or thought of as ‘livestock’.  These animals are individuals with emotional capacity, and intelligence – each one with his/her own personality, likes, dislikes, and best friends. Large factory farms (CAFO – Confined Feeding Operations), and associated slaughter houses, auction houses, feed lots, etc. are places of torture and abuse - the truth about CAFO can be found here.  I sign petitions on a daily basis to stop the daily wrong done to animals by humans…but two wrongs don’t make a right. 1) CAFO is wrong, and cruel, 2) feeding a dog vegan or vegetarian dry processed food is also cruel as the dry vegan and vegetarian dog foods offered by pet food manufacturers contain multiple immune system destroying allergens, toxins and carcinogens. 

My dogs eat plenty of fruits, herbs and vegetables but they also eat meat adhering to the species appropriate ratio of +/- 57% meat, 30% good-source fats, with the remainder of the daily diet comprised of appropriate fruits, herbs, veggies and seeds (i.e. pumpkin seeds, tahini, chia seeds.) It was natural, and important for me to be vegetarian – however it would be unnatural, and unethical to make my dogs eat DRY vegetarian or DRY vegan processed food.


Are Vegan Dry Dog Foods Really Vegan?
If the grains used in the product are GMO, the product is not vegan. Bees are harmed in the growing of the grain ingredients due to use of neonicotinoids which cause bee colony collapse disorder , harming bees is in direct violation to veganism. In addition as noted further above wild animals suffer cruelly from ingesting the herbicides, pesticides, fungicides applied to GMO crops.

Knowledge is the Pathway to Health…

You can find an objective analysis of six of the most popular Vegan dry dog foods, and Vegetarian dry dog food products here.  I highly recommend reading it, for the health of your dog...

Additional Assistance - Holistic Support
If you require additional support and guidance I would be pleased to assist you via my In-Person or On-Line Services…
Diet, Nutrition Wellness Services:
  • Unbiased Diet, Nutrition, Product Advice is available via this service
  • Holistic Diet, Nutrition Wellness Plans are available via this service
Dog Obedience Training and Behavior Modification Services:

Vegan Dry Dog Food, Vegetarian Dry Dog Food




Vegan dry dog food, vegetarian dry dog food – do you know how to select a good product? Below I take an objective, in-depth look at six of the most popular Vegan DRY dog food, and vegetarian DRY dog food products to help you understand how to choose what’s best for your dog...

An Objective Look at Six Popular Vegan and Vegetarian Dry Dog Food Products

Petguard Organics Vegetarian Adult Dry Dog Food

Ingredients: Organic Quinoa, Organic Oat Meal, Organic Ground Barley, Organic Brown Rice, Organic Dried Eggs, Organic Sunflower Oil, Organic Apples, Organic Peas, Organic Carrots, Organic Potatoes, Organic Flaxseed, Organic Amaranth, Organic Kelp, Organic Cranberries, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Ascorbate (Source Of Vitamin C), Choline Chloride, Vitamin A Supplement, D-Alpha Tocopherol, Calciferol (Source Of Vitamin D), Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Inositol, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Source Of Vitamin B6), Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Calcium Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Folic Acid, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Cobalt Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite. Omega-3: 0.8 min. Omega-6: 4.2 min.
  • Health Check – Positive Features:
    • Organic antibiotic-free, pesticide residue-free fruit and vegetable.
    • Organic pesticide residue-free grains.
    • Organic kelp and organic flax seed – pass, assuming that the kelp is sourced from clean waters.
    • Organic sunflower oil.
    • Human food-grade ingredient.
  • Health Check Issues
    • Fruit variety insufficient, should include blue and orange fruit.
    • Vegetable variety insufficient, should include more dark leafy greens, celery, zucchini, etc.
    • Root vegetable used is potato – this product should have included a more nutritious root vegetable, i.e. as squash, turnips, sweet potato
    • Herbs, none. 
    • Critically low in Omega-3 fatty acids increases the inflammatory nature of this food.
    • Contains species inappropriate ingredients.
      • Grains are a leading cause of immune system issues and other inflammatory conditions and diseases in dogs – for example - allergies, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, urinary tract and renal system problems, oral health problems, cancer, insect and parasite infestations, etc.
    • Peas contain lectin proteins which can interfere with nutrient absorption, and create auto immune responses leading to inflammation and chronic disease.
  • Vitamins and minerals added to product to ‘fortify and enrich’ the product due to loss of viable nutrients from processing.
    • Vitamins and minerals used are not organic.
      • If soured from China are contaminated with heavy metals and other toxins.
      • If sourced from the USA are contaminated with GMOs.
Vdog Vegan Dry Dog Food
Ingredients: Dried Peas, Brown Rice, Pea Protein Concentrate, Oats, Sorghum, Lentils, Canola Oil, Peanuts, Sunflower Hearts, Potato Protein, Brewers Dried Yeast, Alfalfa Meal, Flaxseeds, Natural Vegetable Flavor, Quinoa, Millet, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Vegetable Pomace (Carrot, Celery, Beet, Parsley, Lettuce, Watercress & Spinach), Taurine, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D2 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid), Choline Chloride, Minerals (Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Sodium Selenite & Calcium Iodate), DL-Methionine, L-Lysine, L-Carnitine, Parsley Flakes, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Dried Cranberries, Dried Blueberries, Preserved With Citric Acid and Mixed Tocopherols (Form of Vitamin E). Omega-3: not disclosed. Omega-6: not disclosed – however, based on ingredient profile product is critically low in Omega-3.
  • Health Check – Positive Features 
    • none
  • Health Check – Issues
    • VDog does not state that their ingredients are human food-grade. This is troubling as animal feed-grade ingredients are permitted to contain more, and higher levels of toxic contaminants than human food-grade ingredient.
    • Insufficient variety and quantity of nutrient dense fruits.
    • Vegetable pomice – low in nutritional value. Vegetable pomice is a by-product of manufacturing made-for-human processed foods.
    • Root vegetable content - zero.
    • Product contains high levels of salt – in fact there is more salt in this product than fruit.  Salt is best obtained from consuming whole foods – added salt content in this product is high.
    • Alfalfa - when used in small amounts alfalfa meal is an acceptable source of whole-food nutrients. When alfalfa is used as a major ingredient - alfalfa becomes a health hazard.  The saponins in alfalfa interfere with the absorption of nutrients by the body. Non-organic alfalfa is also high in herbicide residue, making it a source of toxins and carcinogen.
    • Contains species inappropriate ingredients.
      • Grains are a leading cause of immune system issues and other inflammatory conditions and diseases in dogs – for example - allergies, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, urinary tract and renal system problems, oral health problems, cancer, insect and parasite infestations, etc.
    • Lentils and peas contain lectin proteins which can interfere with nutrient absorption, and create auto immune responses leading to inflammation and chronic disease in some dogs – not an appropriate ingredient to use in large quantities.
    • Peanuts used are not organic, and are not human food-grade.
    • Natural flavor – a source of emulsifiers, preservatives, MSG, and solvents, (all three are placed in the category ‘incidental additives, a category that manufacturers are not required to list/disclose. These incidental additives typically contain GMOs, toxins, carcinogens. Increases the inflammatory nature of this food produc.
    • Product is critically low in Omega-3 fatty acids increases the inflammatory nature of this food.
    • Product contains poor-source Omega-6 fatty acids that increase the inflammatory nature of this food. Canola oil is GMO, mixed tocopherols typically GMO contaminated. Source of herbicide residue, typically glyphosate. This residue is toxic and carcinogenic, inflammatory disease promoting, serotonin disrupting, dementia causing, and more. The FDA does not regulate testing for glyphosate residue in food. Interferes with absorption of nutrients and adjuncts absorption of toxins such as mercury from vaccinations, and non-organic arsenic which is present in non-organic grains such as rice, interferes with healing.
    • Citric acid (is not organic) is typically GMO, and MSG contaminated, increases the inflammatory nature of this food.
    • Vitamins and minerals added to product to ‘fortify and enrich’ the product due to loss of viable nutrients from processing.
      • Vitamins and minerals used are not organic-source.
      • If soured from China are contaminated with heavy metals and other toxins.
      • If sourced from the USA are contaminated with GMOs. 
      • Citric acid is a common source of MSG (a neurotoxin).
    • VDog products are endorsed by PETA. PETA does do good in educating people regarding cruelty to animals on a larger scale – i.e. animal testing, and circuses - HOWEVER when it comes to ‘pets’ such as dogs and cats PETA KILLS 98% of all healthy, adoptable dogs and cats that they ‘rescue’/ ‘save’. Take a look at PETA's kill records for the last few years...
    • PETA’s official annual pet-killing reports as submitted to the state government of Virginia – location of PETA’s head office, and main center for their pet slaughter activities:
    • Over the span of 11 years, PETA has killed 29,426 dogs, cats, rabbits, and other domestic animals. I personally do NOT consider PETA to be an ethical organization. PETA’s endorsement of this product provides zero meaningful value to the safety of this product. Facts regarding PETS’s lack of ethics when it comes to domestic dogs, cats and other small animals you can go here – Nathan Winograd keeps an accurate, and close watch on PETA’s ongoing cruelty, you can also follow him on Facebook – I do.  You can find additional evidence of PETA’s unwarranted, unnecessary killing of dogs and cats by going here, and here, and here.  In light of PETA’s ongoing actions of animal cruelty to small animals, in my opinion, PETA’s endorsement of this product is completely inappropriate.
    • PETA supports a KILL policy for ALL Pit Bulls in shelters across North America - you can see the OpEd piece on this PETA endorsed policy as written by the founder of PETA Iingrid Newkirk by going here.
Halo Vegan Garden Medley
Ingredients: Green Peas, Chickpeas, Pearled Barley, Oat Groats, Pea Protein, Whole Flaxseed, Sunflower Oil, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Potato, Sweet Potato, Alfalfa Meal, Carrot, Celery, Beet, Parsley, Lettuce, Watercress, Spinach, Canola Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Dicalcium Phosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate, Dried Kelp, Natural Vegetable Flavors, Flaxseed Oil, Carrots, Dried Apple, Dried Blueberry, Dried Cranberry, Chicory Root, Taurine, Rosemary Extract, L-Carnitine, Potassium Chloride, DL Methionine, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin B12 Supplement, Niacin, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D-2 Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin, Folic Acid), Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Iron Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Cobalt Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Ethylene Diamine Dihydriodide, Sodium Selenite). Omega-3: 1.25 min. Omega-6: 4.25 min.
  • Health Check – Positive Features, maybe...or not...
    • Sweet potato, leafy greens and herbs BUT only if human food grade - Halo does not state that their ingredients are human food-grade.This is troubling as animal feed-grade ingredients are permitted to contain more, and higher levels of toxic contaminants than human food-grade ingredient.
    • Kelp is a good BUT only if sourced from clean waters, if from i.e. China, Japan, or Hawaii the kelp is contaminated with toxins, and not beneficial. It is not clear where Halo is sourcing the kelp from.
  • Health Check – Issues
    • Alfalfa - when used in small amounts alfalfa meal is an acceptable source of whole-food nutrients. When alfalfa is used as a major ingredient - alfalfa becomes a health hazard.  The saponins in alfalfa are anti-nutrients that interfere with the absorption of nutrients by the body. Non-organic alfalfa is also high in herbicide residue, making it a source of toxins and carcinogens
    • Contains species inappropriate ingredients
      • Grains are a leading cause of immune system issues and other inflammatory conditions and diseases in dogs – for example - allergies, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, urinary tract and renal system problems, oral health problems, cancer, insect and parasite infestations, etc.
    • Chick peas and peas contain lectin proteins which can interfere with nutrient absorption, and create auto immune responses leading to inflammation and chronic disease in some dogs – not an appropriate ingredient to use in large quantities.
    • Product contains poor-source Omega-6 fatty acids that increase the inflammatory nature of this food. Canola oil is GMO, mixed tocopherols typically GMO contaminated. Source of herbicide residue, typically glyphosate. This residue is toxic and carcinogenic, inflammatory disease promoting, serotonin disrupting, dementia causing, and more. The FDA does not regulate testing for glyphosate residue in food. Interferes with absorption of nutrients and adjuncts absorption of toxins such as mercury from vaccinations, and non-organic arsenic which is present in non-organic grains such as rice, interferes with healing.
    • Product is critically low in Omega-3 fatty acids increases the inflammatory nature of this food product 
    • Natural flavor – a source of emulsifiers, preservatives, and solvents, (all three are placed in the category ‘incidental additives, a category that manufacturers are not required to list/disclose. These incidental additives typically contain GMOs, toxins, carcinogens. Increases the inflammatory nature of this food product
    • Vitamins and minerals added to product to ‘fortify and enrich’ the product due to loss of viable nutrients from processing.
      • Vitamins and minerals used are not organic-sourced
      • If soured from China are contaminated with heavy metals and other toxins
      • If sourced from the USA are contaminated with GMOs

Royal Canin Vegetarian
Ingredients: Oat groats, brewers rice, potato protein, coconut oil, natural flavors, dried plain beet pulp, tomato pomace, flaxseed, calcium carbonate, monocalcium phosphate, carrot pomace, potassium chloride, calcium sulfate, salt, fructooligosaccharides, choline chloride, taurine, vitamins [DL-alpha tocopherol acetate (source of vitamin E), L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), biotin, D-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A acetate, niacin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin supplement, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement], trace minerals [zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, copper proteinate] , L-carnitine, carotene, rosemary extract, preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid. Omega-3: not disclosed. Omega-6: not disclosed – however, based on ingredient profile product is critically low in Omega-3.
  • Health Check – Positive Features
    • none
  • Health Check – Issues
    • Royal Canin does not use human food-grade ingredients. This is troubling as animal feed-grade ingredients are permitted to contain more, and higher levels of toxic contaminants than human food-grade ingredient.
    • Product contains coconut oil, unfortunately the coconut oil used is not organic, nor does it seem to be human food grade - does not have the same healthful value as organic coconut oil 
    • No fruit content - should include red, blue and orange fruit
    • Vegetable variety insufficient, should include dark leafy greens, celery, zucchini, etc.
    • Tomato pomice – low in nutritional value, tomato pomice is a by-product of manufacturing ketchup,
    • Root vegetable selection is lacking– should have included nutritious options such as i.e. as squash, turnips, sweet potato
    • Salt is best obtained from consuming whole foods – added salt content in this product is high
    • Contains species inappropriate ingredients
      • Grains are a leading cause of immune system issues and other inflammatory conditions and diseases in dogs – for example - allergies, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, urinary tract and renal system problems, oral health problems, cancer, insect and parasite infestations, etc.
      • Brewer’s rice – a by-product of made-for human processed food, brewers rice is stripped of nutrients, has very little nutritional value, is an inexpensive filler
    • Mixed tocopherols typically GMO contaminated. Source of herbicide residue, typically glyphosate. This residue is toxic and carcinogenic, inflammatory disease promoting, serotonin disrupting and more.  Interferes with absorption of nutrients and adjuncts absorption of toxins such as mercury from vaccinations, and non-organic arsenic which is present in non-organic grains such as rice, interferes with healing. Increase the inflammatory nature of this food product
    • Product is critically low in Omega-3 fatty acids increases the inflammatory nature of this food product
    • Coconut oil used is not organic
    • Product contains poor-source Omega-6 fatty acids increases the inflammatory nature of this food product
    • Vitamins and minerals added to product to ‘fortify and enrich’ the product due to loss of viable nutrients from processing.
      • If sourced from the USA are contaminated with GMOs
      • If soured from China are contaminated with heavy metals and other toxins 
      • Citric acid - a common source of MSG
Nature’s Recipe Healthy Skin Vegetarian Recipe
Ingredients: Ground Rice, Soybean Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Canola Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Salt, Dehydrated Carrots, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Inositol, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Beta-Carotene, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Garlic Oil, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Iron Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Onion Extract, Garlic Powder, Rosemary Extract. Omega-3: 0.6 min. Omega-6: 1.9 min.
  • Health Check –Positive Features
    • None
  • Health Check - Issues
    • Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex is toxic to kidneys, liver, mucous membranes. Repeated or prolonged exposure can produce damage to target organs, is carcinogenic and mutagenic.
    • Onion extract – inappropriate for dogs due to thiophosphate – a substance that causes Heinz factor anemia in dog.
    • Aource of garlic is undisclosed, if from China the garlic has a high level of toxic contamination.
    • Nature's Recipe does not use human food-grade ingredients. This is troubling as animal feed-grade ingredients are permitted to contain more, and higher levels of toxic contaminants than human food-grade ingredient.
    • No fruit content - should include red, blue and orange fruit
    • Vegetable variety insufficient, should include dark leafy greens, celery, zucchini, etc.
    • Root vegetable selection is non-existent – should have included nutritious options such as i.e. as squash, turnips, sweet potato.
    • Salt is best obtained from consuming whole foods – added salt content in this product is high, in-fact the salt content exceeds the amount of carrots in product
    • Contains species inappropriate ingredients
      • Grains are a leading cause of immune system issues and other inflammatory conditions and diseases in dogs – for example - allergies, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, urinary tract and renal system problems, oral health problems, cancer, insect and parasite infestations, etc.
    • Soy beans in this product are GMO. Source of herbicide residue, typically glyphosate. This residue is toxic and carcinogenic, inflammatory disease promoting, serotonin disrupting and more.  Interferes with absorption of nutrients and adjuncts absorption of toxins such as mercury from vaccinations, and non-organic arsenic which is present in non-organic grains such as rice, interferes with healing. Increases the inflammatory nature of this food.
    • Poor-source Omega-6 fatty acids. Canola oil is GMO, mixed tocopherols typically GMO contaminated. Source of herbicide residue, typically glyphosate. This residue is toxic and carcinogenic, inflammatory disease promoting, serotonin disrupting, dementia causing, and more. The FDA does not regulate testing for glyphosate residue in food. Interferes with absorption of nutrients and adjuncts absorption of toxins such as mercury from vaccinations, and non-organic arsenic which is present in non-organic grains such as rice, interferes with healing.
    • Critically low in Omega-3 fatty acids increases the inflammatory nature of this food product
    • Vitamins and minerals added to product to ‘fortify and enrich’ the product due to loss of viable nutrients from processing.
      • If sourced from the USA are contaminated with GMOs
      • If soured from China are contaminated with heavy metals and other toxins
Natural Balance – Vegetarian Dry Dog Food Formula
Ingredients: Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Peas, Potato Protein, Canola Oil, Potatoes, Tomato Pomace, Vegetable Flavoring, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Natural Mixed Tocopherols, Spinach, Parsley Flakes, Cranberries, L-Lysine, L-Carnitine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Kelp, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Manganese Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Riboflavin (Vitamin B-2), Vitamin D-2 Supplement, Folic Acid. Omega-3: 0.3 min. Omega-6: 2.0 min.
  • Health Check – Positive Features
    • None
  • Health Check - Issues
    • Nature Balance does not use human food-grade ingredients. This is troubling as animal feed-grade ingredients are permitted to contain more, and higher levels of toxic contaminants than human food-grade ingredient.  
    • No fruit content - should include red, blue and orange fruits
    • Vegetable variety insufficient, should include dark leafy greens, celery, zucchini, etc. Tomato pomice – a by-product of manufacturing ketchup, low in nutritional value
    • Root vegetable is potato - should have included more nutritious options such as i.e. as squash, turnips, sweet potato
    • Contains species inappropriate ingredients.
      • Grains are a leading cause of immune system issues and other inflammatory conditions and diseases in dogs – for example - allergies, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, urinary tract and renal system problems, oral health problems, cancer, insect and parasite infestations, etc.
    • Chick peas and peas contain lectin proteins which can interfere with nutrient absorption, and create auto immune responses leading to inflammation, and chronic disease in some dogs – not an appropriate ingredient to use in large quantities.
    • Natural flavor – a source of emulsifiers, preservatives, and solvents, (all three are placed in the category ‘incidental additives, a category that manufacturers are not required to list/disclose. These incidental additives typically contain GMOs, toxins, carcinogens. Increases the inflammatory nature of this food product
    • Product is critically low in Omega-3 fatty acids increases the inflammatory nature of this food product
    • Product contains poor-source Omega-6 fatty acids increases the inflammatory nature of this food product. Canola oil is GMO, mixed tocopherols typically GMO contaminated. Source of herbicide residue, typically glyphosate. This residue is toxic and carcinogenic, inflammatory disease promoting, serotonin disrupting, dementia causing, and more. The FDA does not regulate testing for glyphosate residue in food. Interferes with absorption of nutrients and adjuncts absorption of toxins such as mercury from vaccinations, and non-organic arsenic which is present in non-organic grains such as rice, interferes with healing.
    • Vitamins and minerals added to product to ‘fortify and enrich’ the product due to loss of viable nutrients from processing.
      • If sourced from the USA are contaminated with GMOs
      • If soured from China are contaminated with heavy metals and other toxin
Are These Products Nutritionally Complete?

According to AFFCO the answer is yes. All six of the above products meet AAFCO’s ‘standards’. But how meaningful are AAFCO standards? Dig a little deeper – consider who AFFCO is, and who they represent…

AAFCO is an acronym for the American Association of Feed Control Officials. Although AAFCO promotes itself as THE 'governing' body for the pet food industry. AFFCO's claim is a self-proclamation - they are a partisan organization comprised of people directly involved in  the pet food manufacturing industry. AAFCO is directly responsible for unclear labeling on pet food products including dry and wet dog food and treats. AAFCO allows toxins and carcinogens into the food that they 'approve'. AAFCO is responsible for the confusion around poor vs. good quality dog food (and cat food) products. AAFCO guidelines, and standards are not sufficient to ensure a food product is ‘nutritionally balanced’, ‘nutritionally complete’, truly health supporting or species appropriate.

Disappointing Products - Falling Short of Expectations

In my opinion, based on the findings provided further above, these dog food products are very disappointing for many reasons...

When you think of eating a vegan or vegetarian diet the images that appear in your mind are likely to reflect a rich variety of fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables – like those on this list  of appropriate fresh fruits and vegetables for dogs. A full spectrum of good quality, appropriate fruit and veggies  are an essential part of a vegan or vegetarian diet. The food products above offer poor-source and/or a very limited variety of fruits, and vegetables. 

There are some very good sources of plant proteins, however the products above do NOT include any of those better quality plant proteins. The products are comprised of grains and legumes. Grains are proven to cause 160+ inflammatory diseases in dogs. Legumes consumed in large quantities on a daily basis, can cause serious gastrointestinal, and other problems for your dog.  Why aren’t these companies using better quality sources of protein? Because grains and legumes are inexpensive ;to purchase thereby ensuring that high profit margins are maintained.

The products above, are the best the pet food industry currently offers in vegan and vegetarian DRY dog food products. I cannot recommend any of these products as each of these products present serious threats to a dog’s short and long-term health.

The health of your dog depends on that very old and apt saying ‘buyer beware’.  AAFCO, the FDA and Health Canada allow many toxins, carcinogens and otherwise inappropriate ingredients to be used in pet food.

Don’t allow your dog’s health to be adversely impacted by the pet food industry’s drive for profit.
Don’t allow the pet food industry to ‘pull the wool’ over your eyes when it comes to honoring your efforts to be cruelty-free.

Animal Cruelty?

The Vegan Dry Dog Food, Vegetarian Dry Dog Food products analyzed above contain inappropriate, highly inflammatory ingredients known to degrade a dog’s quality of life by destroying his/her physical health, and mental health – this is animal cruelty perpetrated by the pet food industry in the name of profit. These dry dog foods do NOT offer the opportunity to end cruelty to animals.

If you are truly dedicated to feeding vegan or vegetarian it is necessary to invest your time and effort – there are no shortcuts. Be ready to invest the time and effort required to make your dog’s food. His/her diet should be comprised of organic, clean-sourced protein-rich plant-based, grain-free proteins; appropriate nutrient rich organic fruits, vegetables, appropriate plant-based organic fats, appropriate organic herbs and nutraceutical, and appropriate dairy products for vegetarian diets.

In an accompanying article, I look at an actual Case Study - what went right, what went wrong, and why. I discuss in further depth ethical issues and impacts – you can read that article by going here.

Don’t allow your dog to be a victim of accidental cruelty.  Get help to design the best possible, cruelty-free homemade diet if you must go vegan or vegetarian – don’t make your dog eat dry vegan or dry vegetarian highly processed dog food. 

Additional Assistance - Holistic Support
If you require additional support and guidance I would be pleased to assist you via my In-Person or On-Line Services…
Diet, Nutrition Wellness Services:
  • Unbiased Diet, Nutrition, Product Advice is available via this service
  • Holistic Diet, Nutrition Wellness Plans are available via this service
Dog Obedience Training and Behavior Modification Services: