3 Reasons Your Dog Might Not Do Well on Vegan Dog Food


There are a few good reasons to give your dog(s) vegan dog food.

Many dogs do great on a plant-based diet, but some don’t.

If you’ve noticed some issues after making the switch, there are 3 main ways that the vegan food could be causing them.

Regardless if one of them is the culprit, you should always go to the vet to rule out any other serious causes, as the timing may just be coincidental. Please don’t “wait and see” before the problem develops more and can’t be stopped.

With that said, let’s go over the 3 reasons.

1. You Switched Too Fast

dogs eating picture

If you recently switched your dog to a vegan food, it’s possible that you just did it too fast.

A new food should always be introduced slowly, mixing in small amounts with your dog’s regular food.

The more different the new food is, the slower this process should be, often taking up to 2 weeks to fully switch over.

In this case, vegan dog food is very different than most foods that contain animal products, so you really have to take it slowly.

If you did switch too fast, your dog will likely have stomach issues resulting in diarrhea or sometimes vomiting.

2. Your Dog Has Food Sensitivities To Certain Plants

BMC Veterinary Research compiled a research-based list of the top dog food allergens. Here they are below.

Dog Food Allergen Percentage of Dogs With Reported Reaction
Beef 34%
Dairy Products 17%
Chicken 15%
Wheat 13%
Soy 6%
Lamb 5%
Corn 4%
Egg 4%
Pork 2%
Fish 2%
Rice 2%

The most common ones are animal products, which is why many dogs get healthier on vegan diets.

However, some dogs have issues with common ingredients in vegan dog foods like wheat, soy, corn, and rice.

These can cause stomach issues, and skin issues like rashes and itching.

If you suspect this is the problem, I’d suggest returning to your dog’s “normal” food, and then try a different vegan dog food with different ingredients. Of course, you should focus on the ones above.

It’s not too hard to find grain-free, soy-free, or corn-free vegan dog foods if you’re specifically looking for one.

3. The Vegan Dog Food is Lacking in An Essential Nutrient

I’ve researched vegan dog food for several hours reading studies and stories.

If your dog is not doing well, go to a vet NOW.

I read too many heartbreaking stories of a dog not getting enough of a certain nutrient and developing serious health problems that lead to death.

Do not mess around, do not Google another article, just go to the vet. It may not even be related to the food, but regardless, go to the vet.

Your vet may conclude that it is the food, and you’ll probably need to go back to your dog’s “normal” food at that point.

If you try to switch again in the future, make sure you’re getting a top vegan dog food that is made by a reputable manufacturer. Getting a cheap food is risky, as many of them lack important essential nutrients (whether an amino acid, or a vitamin like B12).


I’ll reiterate one last time, go see a vet regardless of what you suspect the issue is.

Secondly, while the vast majority of dogs can thrive on a plant-based diet (the jury is still out on if cats can be vegan), not all can due to sensitivities. It’s not common, but it does exist.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.

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