What makes a vegan-friendly dog food?
Let’s define vegan-friendly (I am presuming that if you’re reading this you fully understand what dog food is 😊so I won’t go there!)
I am also going to presume we know the difference between friendly and unfriendly 😊 or 😠
Firstly, what is vegan? Vegan (and vegetarian) diets both exclude meat and seafood (as well as insects!). Vegan diets go a step further, though, by including every other food of animal origin. So, in addition to avoiding meat, vegans steer clear of dairy products, eggs, and honey. Additionally, vegan foods never contain any by-products of animal agriculture, such as lard, whey, or gelatine.
If something is marketed as vegan-friendly, it must not contain any animal ingredients or animal-derived ingredients at all. It should also mean that no animals or animal products were used in any part of the product in questions manufacture.
However without formal certification as vegan by a vegan licensing body such as Vegan Friendly, The Vegan Society, European Vegetarian Union, Vegan Action or The Vegetarian Society, it can be difficult to verify whether any product, including dog food, is vegan-friendly or not.
Some products which use animal testing may call themselves vegan-friendly because all of the ingredients used to manufacture their products are vegan.
For some, using any ingredients or processes which contain any animal product immediately prevents a product from being truly vegan. In this case vegan-friendly would also include freedom from animal testing, in addition to being free from animal-based ingredients.
A vegan-friendly dog food is therefore first and foremost a food for dogs that is made without any animal-based ingredients, in other words made using plant-based ingredients only.
To be wholly, and strictly vegan-friendly food for dogs should not be tested on dogs who live captive lives for the sole purpose of testing food products.
There are certain ingredients, essential to your dog’s diet, that are not easy to source and often far more expensive than their animal-based alternatives.
The most significant of these is Vitamin D, which your dog must get from their diet because, unlike us, their bodies cannot manufacture this essential vitamin.
Although Vitamin D2 can be derived from plant-based sources, including mushrooms, it is no longer permitted for use in any dog foods as the primary source of Vitamin D for dogs. The EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) prohibited Vitamin D2 from being the sole source of Vit D in dog foods from 2019.
As a result the majority of dog foods use a Vitamin D3 which is derived from lanolin found in sheep’s wool. Vegan-friendly Vitamin D3 is derived from algae (seaweed). It is exactly the same chemical structure as that derived from lanolin. It is however significantly more expensive.
By definition a vegan-friendly dog food is also a vegetarian-friendly dog food.
Bonza is a vegan-friendly dog food that we are delighted has been certified as 100% vegan by Vegan-Friendly.