The Dog Food Project
If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience. - Woodrow Wilson
A better food makes a big difference!

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Main Page About the Author What Readers say Dog Discussions Forum
Commercial Dry Foods
Introduction Label Information 101 Identifying better products Ingredients to avoid Product List
Specific Product Groups
Organic Dog Food Grain Free Dog Food Vegetarian & Vegan Dog Food
Articles
Meat vs. Meat MealNew! Choosing the right food Feeding Puppies Feeding Senior Dogs Canine Obesity Is too much protein harmful? Grading kibble - easily? "Five Star Foods"
Other Diet Topics
Questions on Diet Myths about Feeding The Yuck Factor Where the money goes Natural Supplementation Menadione (Vitamin K3) Nutrient Requirements Links & Resources
Nutrition Primer
Nutrient Overview Water Protein Fat Carbohydrates Fiber Vitamins Minerals Essential Fatty Acids Probiotics

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Vegetarian and Vegan Products

While I do realize that some people may have personal, ethical reasons for wanting to feed their dogs a vegetarian or even vegan diet, it is my opinion that unless a specific health condition prevents a dog from eating meat, it should not be withheld.

Nevertheless, vegetarian and vegan commercial foods can be useful where an allergic dog can not tolerate common sources of animal protein or fat, since the owner can add specific canned or fresh meat types and has control over the amount added.

I do not recommend feeding normal, healthy, adult dogs a diet exclusively if it contains less than 23% protein. See my articles on protein here and here .

Breeder's Choice - AvoDerm Vegetarian Dog Food
Main Ingredients:
Ground rice, soy flour, ground pearled barley, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols and ascorbic acid),
Lesser Ingredients:
Dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, potatoes, avocado oil, carrots, peas, flax seed meal, dried kelp, salt, choline chloride, lecithin, garlic oil, dried garlic powder, dried onion powder, dried yucca schidigera, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D supplement, vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, folic acid, biotin, zinc sulfate, zinc proteinate, ferrous sulfate, ferrous proteinate, copper sulfate, copper proteinate, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite
Protein min:
18%
Fat min:
8%
Fiber max:
4%
Moisture max:
10%
Ash max:
n/a
Caloric density? 3354 kcal/kg and 324 kcal/cup
Contains animal-derived ingredients? This product is free of animal fats or proteins including eggs and dairy, but the vitamin A and D supplements may originate from animal sources.
Contains soy or soy products? Yes, contains soy flour - if your dog is sensitive to it, please avoid this food.
Nutritional Adequacy Statement? Suitable for Maintenance.
Menadione used as a supplement? No
Product Website: AvoDerm Vegetarian Dog Food
Additional comments:
- Food contains onion powder, which may contribute to the development of Heinz Body Anemia in dogs if fed on a regular basis.

Evolution Diet - Gourmet Pasta Dog Kibble
Main Ingredients:
Whole grain wheat flour, or whole oat groats, corn gluten meal, soybean meal, soybean oil,
Lesser Ingredients:
Carrots, dried tomato pomace, dried potato product, dried molasses, deflourinated phosphate, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, salt, nutritional yeast, arginine, dl-methionine, kelp meal, taurine, garlic, enzyme bromelain from pineapple stem & fruit, enzyme papain from papaya, dried lactobacillus acidophilus, fermentation product, dried bifidobacterium bifidum fermentation product, lysine, choline chloride, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, vitamin A acetate, vitamin D2 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, ascorbic acid, calcium pantothenate, manganous oxide, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, folic acid, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), inositol, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, zinc methionine complex, copper lysine complex, manganese, methionine complex arachidonic acid, rosemary extract, cobalt glucoheptonate
Protein min:
28%
Fat min:
14%
Fiber max:
3.5%
Moisture max:
10%
Ash max:
n/a
Caloric density? n/a
Contains animal-derived ingredients? Vegan formula, per manufacturer's information.
Contains soy or soy products? Yes, contains soybean meal and soybean oil - if your dog is sensitive to it, please avoid this food.
Nutritional Adequacy Statement? Suitable for All Life Stages.
Menadione used as a supplement? Yes, appears as menadione sodium bisulfite complex.
Product Website: Gourmet Pasta Dog Kibble
Additional comments:
- Manufacturer makes inappropriate, misleading claims about this product:
- 1. "Because our food is concentrated, you may feed your pet 30% less food. According to the National Institute of Health your pet will live at least 30% longer by doing this.
A grave misinterpretation of a Dog Diet Study by Cornell University, which states that "dogs forced to eat 25 percent less than their littermates of the same balanced diet lived significantly longer and suffered fewer canine diseases." What is important to understand is that this does not apply to the amount by volume a dog eats, but to overall caloric intake. In other words, it doesn't matter as much whether a food supplies the daily ration in one cup or 3/4 of a cup as this manufacturer claims, but whether the amount of calories a dog eats per day is cut down by 25% - for example by feeding 375 kcal per day instead of 500 kcal.
- 2. "Additionally, expect no bad breath and no body odor attributable to bacteria, viruses, molds and fungi found in animal meal and animal by products."
The claim that contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, mold and fungi are only present in animal-derived food ingredients is ignorant and only serves as a scare tactic to draw in consumers. Grains and grain products are far more prone especially to contamination with mold and fungi than meat sources. The November 2005 incident at Diamond's Gaston, South Carolina plant serves as a painful reminder that strict, continuous quality control is absolutely necessary.

Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance - Vegetarian Formula
Main Ingredients:
Ground brown rice, oatmeal, pearled barley, potato protein, canola oil,
Lesser Ingredients:
Carrots, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, peas, natural vegetable flavor, tomato pomace, flaxseed meal, rosemary extract, choline chloride, potassium chloride, parsley flakes, dried kelp, sodium chloride, yucca schidigera extract, lecithin, yeast culture, garlic powder, lactobacillus acidophilus, zinc proteinate, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), taurine, l-lysine, manganese sulfate, niacin, riboflavin (vitamin B2), copper proteinate, copper sulfate, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A acetate, inositol, folic acid, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), thiamin mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin D2, biotin, ethylenediamine dihydriodide (source of iodine), cobalt sulfate, sodium selenite
Protein min:
18%
Fat min:
8%
Fiber max:
4%
Moisture max:
10%
Ash max:
n/a
Caloric density? n/a
Contains animal-derived ingredients? Vegan formula, per manufacturer's information.
Contains soy or soy products? No
Nutritional Adequacy Statement? Suitable for Adult Maintenance.
Menadione used as a supplement? No
Product Website: Natural Balance Vegetarian Formula
Additional comments:
-

Natural Life - Vegetarian Formula
Main Ingredients:
Ground brown rice, ground yellow corn, full-fat soybeans, oatmeal, ground whole wheat, corn gluten meal, linseed meal, vegetable oil (preserved with natural mixed tocopherols, citric acid, rosemary extract and ascorbyl palmitate - a vitamin C ester),
Lesser Ingredients:
Dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, brewer’s dried yeast, garlic, salt, potassium chloride, dried kelp, choline chloride, natural antioxidants, yucca schidigera extract, vitamin supplements (E, A, B2, B12, D2), niacin, calcium ascorbate, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, inositol, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), folic acid, biotin, zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, copper sulfate, manganous proteinate, manganous oxide, cobalt proteinate, potassium iodide, sodium selenit
Protein min:
17.5%
Fat min:
7.5%
Fiber max:
4%
Moisture max:
10%
Ash max:
7.5%
Caloric density? 3,660 kcal/kg
Contains animal-derived ingredients? Vegan formula, per manufacturer's information.
Contains soy or soy products? Yes, contains soybeans - if your dog is sensitive to it, please avoid this food.
Nutritional Adequacy Statement? Suitable for Adult Maintenance.
Menadione used as a supplement? Yes, appears as menadione sodium bisulfite complex.
Product Website: Natural Life Vegetarian Formula
Additional comments:
- The main source of fat is generic "vegetable oil" that may appear in the food as a blend of changing ingredients and proportions. A specifically named source would be preferable.

Nature's Recipe - Healthy Skin Vegetarian Recipe (Del Monte Foods)
Main Ingredients:
Ground rice, soybean meal, cracked pearled barley, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols),
Lesser Ingredients:
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
Protein min:
17.5%
Fat min:
7.5%
Fiber max:
4%
Moisture max:
10%
Ash max:
n/a
Caloric density? n/a
Contains animal-derived ingredients? This product is free of animal fats or proteins including eggs and dairy, but the vitamin A supplement may originate from animal sources. The vitamin D3 supplement used (cholecalciferol) always originates from animal sources.
Contains soy or soy products? Yes, contains soybean meal - if your dog is sensitive to it, please avoid this food.
Nutritional Adequacy Statement? Not given.
Menadione used as a supplement? Yes, appears as menadione sodium bisulfite complex.
Product Website: Healthy Skin Vegetarian Recipe
Additional comments:
- It's a little alarming that salt ranks higher than dehydrated carrots in the ingredient list, especially since carrots are the only vegetable included in this food.

Pet Guard - Next to Nature Organic Vegetarian
Main Ingredients:
Organic quinoa, organic oatmeal, organic ground barley, organic brown rice, organic dried eggs, organic sunflower oil,
Lesser Ingredients:
Organic apples, organic peas, organic carrots, organic potatoes, organic flaxseed, organic amaranth, organic kelp, organic cranberries, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, calcium ascorbate (vitamin C), yucca schidigera extract, choline chloride, vitamin A acetate, d-alpha tocopherol, vitamin D supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin supplement, inositol, niacin, calcium pantothenate, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, zinc amino acid chelate, calcium amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, folic acid, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K), manganese amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, cobalt amino acid chelate, sodium selenite.
Protein min:
16%
Fat min:
9%
Fiber max:
7%
Moisture max:
12%
Ash max:
n/a
Caloric density? n/a
Contains animal-derived ingredients? This product contains (organic) eggs and the vitamin D supplement (not specified) may originate from animal sources.
Contains soy or soy products? No
Nutritional Adequacy Statement? Suitable for Adult Maintenance.
Menadione used as a supplement? Yes, appears as menadione sodium bisulfite complex.
Product Website: Next to Nature Organic Vegetarian
Additional comments:
- This dog food contains over 95% certified organic ingredients - package bears the USDA Organic seal.

Three Dog Bakery - Adult Vegetarian Formula
Main Ingredients:
Wheat flour, wheat germ meal, ground whole wheat, wheat gluten, canola oil,
Lesser Ingredients:
Wheat bran, sunflower seeds, mineral supplements (tricalcium phosphate, potassium chloride, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, potassium iodide, sodium selenite), rice gluten, flaxseed, l-lysine, vitamin supplements (choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, vitamin A supplement, ascorbic acid, niacin, D-calcium pantothenate, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement), carrots, peas, natural vegetable extract (to maintain freshness)
Protein min:
22%
Fat min:
10%
Fiber max:
4%
Moisture max:
10%
Ash max:
n/a
Caloric density? n/a
Contains animal-derived ingredients? This product is free of animal fats or proteins including eggs and dairy, but the vitamin A supplement may originate from animal sources. The vitamin D3 supplement used (cholecalciferol) always originates from animal sources.
Contains soy or soy products? No
Nutritional Adequacy Statement? Suitable for Adult Maintenance.
Menadione used as a supplement? No
Product Website: Adult Vegetarian Formula
Additional comments:
- The amounts of carrots and peas that are included must be really minuscule, since they appear last in the ingredient list, even after vitamin and mineral supplements.
- This dog food is almost entirely wheat-based and its main source of carbohydrates is a refined grain product. In my opinion it would be better used as an occasional treat rather than for daily feeding.

Wenaewe - Vegetarian
Main Ingredients:
Organic brown rice, organic canola seed, organic flax seed meal, organic sunflower seed, organic buckwheat seed (soba), organic barley, organic millet, organic carrots, organic red beets, organic broccoli, organic high-oleic sunflower oil,
Lesser Ingredients:
Organic canola oil, sea salt, organic oregano, organic garlic, ascorbic acid, propolis, vitamins (vitamins A, B12, D3, C, E, K3, thiamine, riboflavin, pyridoxine, biotin, folic acid, pantothenate, niacin), minerals (chrome, sodium selenite, iron, cooper citrate, zinc sulfate, cobalt)
Protein min:
20%
Fat min:
12%
Fiber max:
9%
Moisture max:
10.5%
Ash max:
n/a
Caloric density? n/a
Contains animal-derived ingredients? This product is free of animal fats or proteins including eggs and dairy, but the vitamin A supplement may originate from animal sources. The vitamin D3 supplement used (cholecalciferol) always originates from animal sources.
Contains soy or soy products? No
Nutritional Adequacy Statement? Suitable for Adult Maintenance.
Menadione used as a supplement? Yes, appears as vitamin K3.
Product Website: Vegetarian Dog Food
Additional comments:
- This dog food contains over 95% certified organic ingredients - package bears the USDA Organic seal.

Wysong - Vegetarian
Main Ingredients:
Ground corn, ground extruded whole soybeans, corn gluten meal, ground wheat, oat groats, ground brown rice, cane molasses, tomatoes, ground flax seeds, sun-cured alfalfa meal, dicalcium phosphate, wheat gluten, rice gluten, barley sprouts, canola oil,
Lesser Ingredients:
Soybean oil, dried yeast, ground sesame seeds, taurine, dl-methionine, salt, dried wheat grass powder, dried barley grass powder, yeast culture, lecithin, natural extractives of cloves, sage, and rosemary, dried kelp, garlic, black pepper, artichoke, dried bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried aspergillus oryzae fermentation product, dried enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried lactobacillus lactis fermentation product, dried aspergillus niger fermentation product, ascorbic acid, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, vitamin A supplement, niacin supplement, manganese proteinate, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, copper proteinate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, vitamin A acetate, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement
Protein min:
22%
Fat min:
9%
Fiber max:
6%
Moisture max:
12%
Ash max:
n/a
Caloric density? n/a
Contains animal-derived ingredients? According to the manufacturer's claim this is a vegan formulation and free of animal fats or proteins including eggs and dairy , but the vitamin D3 supplement used (cholecalciferol) always originates from animal sources.
Contains soy or soy products? Yes, contains soybean meal and soybean oil - if your dog is sensitive to it, please avoid this food.
Nutritional Adequacy Statement? Suitable for Adult Maintenance.
Menadione used as a supplement? No
Product Website: Vegan Dog Food
Additional comments:
- The statement "This product is intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding only" appears on the site because this is a food formulation intended for both dogs and cats but does not meet the dietary requirements for protein in cats when unsupplemented.
- Manufacturer mentions that this "vegan formulation" is designed to be used with meats and not to be fed exclusively.




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