Plant-Based High-Protein Dog Foods: Busting The Myth

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
It’s common knowledge. Dogs, like their ancestors, dig meat. Ask any dog, and they’ll tell you with their drooling. But do they need meat? Let’s look at the facts and the fiction.

Obviously, every meat-based dog food company in the world will tell you that dogs need meat, of course. They’ll tell you there are are various proteins that come from meats they can’t get from plants proteins and to go vegan with your dog may not be healthy.

But is that really true?

Do Dogs NEED Meat?

Dogs eat meat, yes, but in their body functions, they’re actually physiological omnivores. They can survive and even thrive on a wide selection of foods due to their incredible evolutionary adaptation through generations. The eating of scraps from our ancestors has helped a dog’s body be able to not just be healthy on a plant-based, but they can thrive as well. Look at countries that are predominantly vegetarian (or heavily plant-based protein-focused) like India. Their dogs are often vegetarian because their humans are. Well-balanced diets that include the right proteins can keep dogs thrive–even if they’re meatless.

What Do Vets and Standards Say?

Veterinarians want you to feed your dogs according to protein standards provided by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Dogs require lots of different nutrients to keep them healthy, including protein, but it’s not just from meat that they can get that important protein. There are plenty of ways you can help your dog satisfy what his body needs for wellness, and plenty of healthy food options that are plant-based. Dogs need 10 amino acids in their diets and a plant-based food that meets AAFCO standards for dog nutrition. As long as the plant-based food meets AAFCO standards for dog nutrition, they’ll get all they need.

Many vets are simply not taught about plant-based protein diets in veterinary school, but as we learn more and research continues to support the efficacy, that is changing. An open-minded and educated veterinarian will know that dogs are physiologic omnivores who can and do fare quite well on plant-based diets.

Good For The Earth Is A Perk

Not only can a plant-based dog food be good for your dog, it’s great for the earth. There’s an over-reliance on meat in kibble that’s responsible for 25-30% of the environmental impact of meat consumption in the U.S. Every plant-based meal takes care of your dog and the planet at the same time.

Wild Earth: A Plant-Based Food Inspired By Love Of Our Dogs And The Planet

When Wild Earth CEO Ryan Bethencourt began looking into what was in his dog’s food, he didn’t like what he saw.

He realized there was a lack of ethical concern with regard to not just the planet, but the sourcing of meat for dog foods and that impact on dogs. He and his team decided they could do better, and they did. With the help of Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Ernie Ward and others, they founded Wild Earth treats, and then expanded their line to Wild Earth food.

One-hundred percent plant-based and meeting or exceeding all standards for dietary needs in dogs, Wild Earth is an eco-friendly way to help your dog and the earth thrive. The ingredients are cleanly and responsibly sourced, and reports from a survey Wild Earth conducted of their customers show it to be a hit among our furry friends.

The bottom line is that while dogs certainly won’t turn down a good steak (though mine might because she honestly doesn’t like uncooked meat!), their need for meat and meat-based protein isn’t a deal-breaker if you want to offer them an eco-friendly, healthy high-protein plant-based food. In fact, they may very likely fare better with a plant-based food, as Wild Earth’s survey found.

Take care of your dog and take care of the earth? Worth giving a shot!

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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