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Vegan Pet Food: What Is It & What Are the Top Brands to Consider?

As more of us adopt a vegan lifestyle, we may be wondering if our pets can do the same. In this article we look at the concept of vegan pet foods, consider the needs of our cats & dogs, and suggest vegan pet food brands to check out. (updated March 2023)
Vegan Pet Food: What Is It & What Are the Top Brands to Consider?

by Jamie Riddell

As more of us are choosing to lead a vegan lifestyle, it’s natural to wonder if our pets can do the same. If we are to encourage the use of bamboo pet bowls, vegan beds and more should we not think about the vegan diet?

What is Vegan Pet Food?

Veganism is a lifestyle that excludes the use of animal products for food, clothing, or any other purpose. Vegan pet food refers to formulas that exclude animal products and are formulated to meet the nutritional needs of dogs and cats.

Dogs and cats are the most popular pets in the world, and they have different dietary requirements. Dogs are omnivores, which means that they can derive nutrients from both animal and plant-based sources. Cats, on the other hand, are ‘obligate carnivores’ meaning they need to consume meat in order to survive and thrive so they require a diet that contains animal protein to meet their nutritional needs.

Additional, cats like our friend Solly the Bengal Cat, require certain nutrients that are only found in animal products, such as taurine, arachidonic acid, and vitamin B12. Taurine is an amino acid that cats cannot synthesise on their own and is necessary for maintaining normal vision, heart function, and reproductive health. Arachidonic acid is an essential fatty acid that is necessary for the maintenance of healthy skin, coat, and immune function. Vitamin B12 is necessary for the formation of red blood cells and proper nerve function. All of these nutrients are found in animal-based sources such as meat, fish, and dairy products.

While dogs can thrive on a plant-based diet with proper supplementation, cats will struggle without the essential nutrients found in meat products, so it will always be wise to check with your vets before changing your furry friend's diets to vegan pet food.

Vegan Pet Food in the UK

There is a growing market for Vegan Pet Food here in the UK. Omni, 'Just be Kind', Yarrah & My Grub Club are just three brands leading the way for vegan dog food. The vegan ingredients that go into these foods includes Soya, vegetables, fruit and minerals.

For the cat food you can try AMI Vegan cat food enriched with vitamins and minerals, omega 3 and 6 oils and the all essential Taurine.

Lab Grown Meat Based Pet Foods

Other brands are swapping real meat for lab grown meat. Based on the process, lab grown meat may not qualify as Vegan so we’ll leave a passing mention for Bond Pets who are ‘brewing’ meat alternatives to go into future pet foods. Good Dog Food are creating ethical meat from cells to go into their dog food which supports a big reduction in the use of meat & fish in global pet foods.

Neither have their own branded pet foods but they could be names to watch in the future.

Look for the Vegan Label

Just like any vegan product, it is important to check the labels so you know what your are buying. The Vegan Trademark is one to look out for on any packaging You can also check the Vegan Society website that carries links to all the approved products.

It’s important to note that the pet food industry is heavily regulated, and pet food manufacturers are required to meet specific nutritional guidelines. Vegan pet food formulas are no exception to this regulation. These formulas are required to meet the same nutritional requirements as traditional pet food formulas. Therefore, pet owners can trust that vegan pet food formulas are nutritionally complete and safe for their pets when they are properly formulated and manufactured.

Can your Pet handle Vegan Food?

It is important to exercise caution when feeding pets a vegan diet, and it’s essential to consult with your vet to ensure that all nutritional needs are being met. While vegan pet food options can provide an alternative for pet owners who are committed to a vegan lifestyle, they should only be used under the guidance of a veterinary professional.