Whenever people find out little Olive is a vegetarian, without fail, we get sideways glances followed immediately by a million questions. Can dogs be vegetarian? What do you feed her? Is that good for her? Don’t all dogs need meat? Isn’t she hungry?
After doing endless research and of course speaking with her vet it turns out that Oli is not only fine but thriving on a vegetarian diet. Even more so, Dalmatians are one of the only dog breeds that have a genetic defect that makes it difficult for them to break down high density proteins. Often times, this defect can cause a uric acid related stone disease. Like I said, not only is she fine but she is thriving.
Even after explaining all of this, people are still convinced that we are depriving our dog of food and that she’s hungry all of the time. So why have we decided not to feed our dog meat? Outside of health reasons, both Dani and I had trouble justifying giving our dog food that we wouldn’t put into our own bodies. If we wouldn’t eat it why would our puppy eat it? When it comes to dog food it’s very difficult to figure out where meat is sourced, if it is sustainably raised, how the animals are treated, etc. All things that are important to us when buying our own food, it only made sense that we apply the same thought process to our dog.
None of this is to say that raising a dog as a vegetarian is the only or best way, but it’s how we’ve decided to raise our puppy. She is rarely sick, is always full of energy and has an epically soft coat, not to mention she is the love of our lives and we want to keep her around for as long as possible. All of that to say, below is a list of Olive’s favorite doggie products, all vegetarian of course. (Note: please speak with your dog’s veterinarian before giving your dog these products).
Dry dog kibble that Olive drools over and actually smells appetizing. It is 100% plant based with 24% protein derived from peas and chickpeas. It is corn, soy, wheat and gluten free, basically all the good things you look for when picking dog food. As she is still a growing puppy, Olive get a hardboiled egg as added protein every night with dinner, but once she turns 1 we will stop adding egg.
Just like Dani and I take vitamins every morning, Olive gets vitamins with her breakfast. From day one she has been given this Teramax fish oil. We add one pump to her dry food in the morning, along with pumps of two other supplements I will list below. Fish oil is great for dogs eyes, brains and immune health, all of the same benefits people get from fish oil.
The two newest supplements we’ve added to Olive’s morning routine are a probiotic and multivitamin. The probiotic helps with puppy tummy aches or digestive problems, and the multivitamin gives her additional vitamins and minerals not found in the fish oil. We give her two pumps of each every morning.
The last supplement we give Olive is Rescue Remedy for Dogs. We only give this to her when we are traveling to help calm her stress and anxiety. I first discovered Rescue Remedy when I was looking for something to help manage my own stress and anxiety. I had no idea they made it for dogs, but it does the same exact thing for Olive. It doesn’t knock her out, but it calms her and mellows out any anxieties she may have while traveling.
The best non-meat training treats we’ve found thus far. They smell strong enough to hold her interest, they are small so we can feed her as many as we want and she loves them.
Last but not least, her favorite chew is a root chew. Soft enough for her to feel like she’s accomplishing something while she chews, but hard enough not to splinter or break. As I sit here writing this, she is taking a nap holding her root chew in between her paws.
Yes, I realize Olive is a spoiled little pup, but giving her the best life we can is part of the fun of having a pet right?