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The (Re)Veganizing of the Greyhounds

I have fed Charles Hobson Booger, III and Violet Rays every type of diet from raw (as in, turkey necks and chicken backs) to pre-made raw (comes in patties with greens and bones and supplements in it), to homemade vegan to Evolution to pre-made vegan ingredients to a combo. And most recently, Organix (free-range chicken plus some organic ingredients).

Despite Violet's diabetes, she was never the problem. The problem child was Charles and his irritable bowels, which would make a meal of any kind into liquid in no time.

I'm not sure what happened, but for some reason I went back to Natural Balance's veg formula, supplemented with treats of bananas, strawberries, blueberries and pumpkin, and both hounds are thriving and Charles' poop is remarkably close to normal.

I would never say that vegans have an obligation to veganize their dogs or cats. If they don't thrive on a diet without animals, then they should eat some animal products. And Charles seemed to be a non-thriver each other time I transitioned to a diet with protein that comes from grains. But that has changed, for some reason. I'm choosing to believe I willed it to happen because I just couldn't take buying all of those animal products. But I'm pretty sure that's a bit delusional of me.

One thing that has always been true is that they love the taste of Natural Balance. I've tried other vegan foods and they sort of pick at it and eat it because they know they're not getting anything else. But they gobble up their Natural Balance, and of course any fruit I give them during the day.

I feel like my house is cleaner without the animal food in it, but that's probably another delusion (and I do plan to blog about that). And I certainly feel much better. One of the first things people ask me when they find out I'm vegan and I have dogs is "What do they eat?" Usually the people are trying to "catch" me being hypocritical, and now they can make no such claim (not that it was particularly valid).

And more important, Charles and Violet love their food again!

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. that's funny–our greyhound, maia, won't eat natural balance. she thinks it's really boring and just picks around it until we almost go insane. mind you, she loved it at first! after awhile she just grew tired of it, i guess. she's finicky. she was the same way with ami–loved it for a few weeks, then suddenly got bored. so far, she seems to be doing well longer-term with evolution kibble, so i guess we're going to keep her on that as long as she'll eat it (and as long as it comes out the other end okay, har har). we haven't done a lot of supplementing with fruit, though… i would have thought it might aggravate charles's problem, but that's great if it's actually helping. maybe we'll give that a try, too!

    April 25, 2009
  2. Dan #

    As an empirical matter, there isn't anything in animal products that dogs need for complete nutrition that isn't in plant food. Also, it is difficult to believe that animal products have anything unique that plant foods don't have to 'prevent' irritable bowel syndrom. Therefore, I see it as equally necessary from a moral standpoint to feed domesticated dogs a vegan diet as to consume a vegan diet oneself.

    April 26, 2009
  3. Dan #

    Also, if I were going to buy chicken, I'd save a few bucks and buy Tyson since free range is not worth the difference in price. If animals are commodities, then animals are commodities.

    April 26, 2009
  4. Dustin #


    I know what you are saying should be true, but I have experienced the same thing as Mary with one of my dogs. At first, she was fine on Natural Balance, and after many months her health started falling apart; her Cushing's Disease medication stopped working at controlling the cortisol in her blood and her tests would come back with erratic results, and so did her incontinence; she started wetting herself in her sleep, even though she was on medication. I started feeding her some animal products out of desperation, and lo and behold, everything went back to normal—almost immediately. My other dog was fine eating a vegan diet. I intermittently try vegan diets, and each and every time the same thing happens—but only to one of my dogs. I give up. She isn't ever going to be vegan again.

    Like I said, I want to agree with everything you say, but vegans need to steer clear of making every little thing black and white. I started to feel like I was participating in animal experimentation with the obsession I had with feeling like they HAD to be vegan, when that clearly wasn't the solution, and maybe it was part of the problem.

    My vet offered all kinds of theories about alkalinity versus acidity and how that interacted with her diseased body state, but at the end of the day all we had were guesses. But on the other hand, we also had some proof: that a diet that contains some animal products actually helps her out in the short run. I don't feel great about that, but that's the way it is.

    April 27, 2009
  5. Dan #

    I wonder what it is in "animal products" that's not possibly obtainable in any non-animal products that makes the difference. Not that you know, but the question would certainly drive my wife and I to endless research and experimentation (by endless I mean we probably wouldn't stop until the dog was cured or died of old age). It's highly probably that there is a vegan solution (even if produced in a lab); it just needs to be discovered.

    April 27, 2009
  6. Dan #

    BTW, I should add that our dogs have NOT had a lot of success over the past 13 years with any store-bought, processed food (a lot of diarrhea, etc), and that was true before we went vegan about 6 years ago.

    For the past 2 or 3 years, however, they’ve eaten what we eat and all three of them have done great on it (one of them died last year at 17 years old – a rescued 110 lbs lab mix – the vets were amazed at how long he lived). I realize that this might be inconvenient for some people, but I wanted to throw it out there.

    April 27, 2009
  7. Dan #

    Sorry about the third consecutive comment, but this topic of feeding companion animals has me waxing philosophical about the difference between chickens, cows, cats, and dogs. Since I cannot see any moral difference whatever in any of these beings, I am forced to conclude that I could no more criticize a person for giving a lethal injection to a companion animal than for feeding the companion animal other animals.

    My point is not to conclude either way, but to say that, if a certain dog or cat could not possibly live off of plant food and supplements or medication alone, it is a dilemma on which I would not comment anymore regardless of the decision of the guardian to kill his or her dog or cat, or feed the dog or cat other animals.

    April 27, 2009
  8. Hella #

    Mary, I think we do have an obligation and a duty to feed our cats/dogs vegan food.If you have a few animals & feed them meat every day, you are responsible for the killing of more animals than a meat-eater who doesn't have any companion animals.In other words, you cause more suffering than the single meat-eater.
    Sometimes people don't try hard enough to wean animals on to a meat-free diet. Maybe it's a mix of (sub)conscious guilt or the "not natural" factor.(mind you, what's "natural" about feeding dead cow,beef,tuna,rendered domestic animals, a cat/dog beats me!)
    I am not disputing that there may be rare cases when the vegan diet isn't suitable but in the main, dogs easily thrive on a plant-based diet(if proprietary dog-food doesn't do the trick,give them home-cooked food)and so do cats.All my cats are vegan.
    In case you haven't read the art. by the vet Andrew Knight(published in the Lifescape mag. UK)–here is the link:

    April 29, 2009

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