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Last updated: 23 Oct 2019

The Best Vegan Dog Treats (Review) in 2019

Virbac C.E.T. VeggieDent Dental Chews

C.E.T. VeggieDent Vegan Dog Treats

Calming Soft Chew Treats for Dogs

Calming Soft Chew Treats for Dogs

Shameless Pets All Natural Dog Treats

Shameless Pets All Natural Dog Treats

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Dr Tracy Douglas
Published 10:46 am

More and more people are adopting a vegan lifestyle. It is estimated that around 1 in every 200 people in the USA are now vegan but that number is increasing every year. Concern about animal welfare, coupled with a desire to protect the environment, drive many people’s transition to veganism. Inevitably, this will impact the four-legged friends in their lives.

Some dog owners investigate whether they could change their dog over to an entirely vegan diet. If they do, vegan dog treats would be a part of that but it is important to consult a vet first. On the other hand, some owners are reluctant to cut out meat altogether from their dog’s diet and are looking for a compromise. Vegan dog treats can be a part of that lifestyle choice. They are healthy, nutritious and excellent for dogs with allergies. Here’s our guide to the best vegan dog chews.

The Best Vegan Dog Treats

1

This product is a lot more than simple vegan dog chews. They are designed to help control dental disease in dogs by scraping off plaque which reduces tartar and freshens the breath. Their unique ‘Z’ shape reaches all areas of the mouth and is highly effective in preventing gum disease. They can be used before and after professional cleaning sessions.

The treats contain cornstarch and glycerin. The protein content is provided by soybeans and there is added rice flour. The chews contain a minimum of 17 percent protein.  There is no wheat gluten and no animal protein so they are suitable for dogs with wheat and raw-hide allergies. They come in a pack of 30 chews but smaller packs are available.

‘Z’ shape to scrape off plaque

Protein provided by soy beans

Can be used after professional dental cleaning

Minimum of 17 percent protein

Specification:
  • Brand: Virbac
  • Model: 90033
  • Weight: 2.35 pounds

2

These super-healthy treats are made from nothing but natural ingredients and contain no flavors, colors or preservatives. They have no meat, gluten, wheat, grains or GMOs and so they are suitable for most dogs with allergies and are highly digestible. They deliver a nutritious treat to your pooch which includes potato starch, glycerin, powdered cellulose, lecithin, malt extract, and yeast. They contain a minimum of one percent crude protein so they are not a high-protein snack.

Related Post: High Protein Dog Food 

Your dog’s dental health will also benefit from these treats. They are a quirky alligator shape which has a combination of hollows, grooves, and knobbly bits. This shape is highly effective at scraping off plaque from teeth and preventing the build-up of tartar. The grooves are also useful for increasing the blood supply to your dog’s gums which helps to prevent bad breath. They come as a pack of 24 treats but other sizes are available.

Highly digestible

All-natural ingredients

Not a high protein snack

Promotes dental health

Specification:
  • Brand: Whimzees
  • Model: WZ306
  • Weight: 12.8 ounces

3

A totally vegan treat for your pooch that is packed with plant-based and healthy ingredients. These are also suitable for pooches with allergies because they have none of the ingredients that often trigger hotspots and skin irritation in dogs such as corn, soy, wheat, and artificial fillers. They are shaped like a bone and as your pooch chews on them, they help to remove plaque and freshen breath.

The ingredients have been specially chosen to promote excellent canine health. There’s broccoli to provide antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin k; chia seeds to provide Omega 3 and promote strong bones and teeth and sweet potato to provide vitamin A and help with digestion – to name just a few. This snack contains a minimum of six percent protein and comes in bags of six bones although packs of other sixes are available.

Totally natural ingredients

Suitable for dogs with allergies

Packed with essential nutrients

Minimum six per cent protein

Specification:
  • Brand: V-dog
  • Model: 094922343475
  • Weight: 8 ounces

4

There is nothing but sweet potato is this healthy treat so you can be assured that your pooch is getting a 100 percent natural snack. They are made from a thick chunk of dehydrated sweet potato and so have a hard surface which is great for scraping off plaque and keeping gums healthy. They are also highly chewable and will keep smaller breeds occupied for around 15 minutes although larger dogs will polish them off more quickly. Because they are a little softer than many other types of treats, they will suit senior dogs who have sensitive gums.

These treats are suitable for dogs with allergies as they contain no wheat or gluten or any of the other common canine allergens. Sweet potato is naturally high in fiber (to aid digestive function) and antioxidants and many other nutrients that promote excellent health. These include Vitamin A and Vitamin B6 and minerals (calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin). They contain a minimum of four percent protein and come in 14-ounce packs although other packs are available.

Dehydrated sweet potato chunks

Soft, healthy chews for senior dogs

Full of nutrients

100 per cent natural

Specification:
  • Brand: Sam’s Yams
  • Model: FPP-103-16
  • Weight: 0.16 ounces

5

Carefully designed to tackle doggy bad breath, you can’t go wrong with these all-natural treats. Each treat is shaped like a bone and has a chewy but firm texture so they gently remove plaque from the teeth and gums leaving a healthy mouth. The alfalfa and fennel freshen the breath. They are highly digestible and completely free of common allergens such as corn, wheat, soy or gluten.

The snacks are manufactured to the highest standards from plant-based ingredients including ground potatoes and peas, vegetable glycerin, apples, and spinach. They are fortified with added vitamin E and flavored naturally with rosemary and fennel. With a minimum of 9.5 percent protein, they are a high-protein snack without any of the health and ethical issues associated with meat-based treats. They come in a pack of eight bones but other there are other sizes available.

Freshen breath naturally with alfalfa and fennel

No corn, wheat or soy

Contain a minimum of 9.5 per cent protein

Specification:
  • Brand: Zuke’s
  • Model: 82425
  • Weight: 12 ounces

6

Upcycling is a way of using food that was intended for human consumption but never actually made it to the shelves. Instead of wasting the food, it is turned into tasty treats for your pooch. Therefore, when you buy this snack, you are doing your bit to help farmers, to save resources and to help the environment.

At the same time, your pooch is getting a totally delicious and healthy treat that will help them to maintain a healthy coat, teeth, skin, and digestion. As they contain no artificial ingredients or GMOs and are completely free from grains, soy and corn, they are suitable for most dogs with allergies. The totally natural ingredients list includes flaxseed meal, fried blueberry fiber, cassava root flour, glycerin and ground beets. Despite the absence of meat and meat-products, this is a high-protein snack and contains no less than 15 percent of this essential nutrient. The heart-shaped snacks come in 5 oz bags.

Made from upcycled food

Contain no grains, soy or corn

Healthy, natural ingredients

High protein – minimum 15 percent

Specification:
  • Brand: SHAMELESS PETS
  • Weight: 5 ounces

7

If you are keen to give your pooch the highest quality snacks that are made with human grade ingredients then you will love this product. The treat is made from sweet potato that is not genetically modified and which is entirely natural. There is added Vitamin E to promote general overall health.

This is a slightly different snack because the chunks of dehydrated sweet potato are threaded onto a chemical-free hemp rope. It will keep your pooch occupied for a while as they work their way through it. As a totally natural product, it is easy on the digestion and suitable for many dogs with allergies.

Completely natural snack

Presented as dehydrated chunks on a hemp rope

Suitable for dogs with allergies

8

Anxiety and stress can be a worrying issue in some dogs. It can cause a range of physical and emotional problems. Sometimes the stress is triggered by a particular event such as a storm or house-move whereas at other times it is more generalized. The Shed Dog calming chews are a way of giving your pooch a healthy treat and helping them with their anxiety symptoms at the same time.

The treats contain hemp seed meal, Canadian hemp oil extract, valerian extract, chamomile extract, and passion flower. These supplements are known for their soothing and calming properties. There are plenty of other nutritious ingredients to help with your dog’s overall health including cucumbers, apples, and beets. The chews are flavored with peanut butter to make them delicious for dogs. There are 103 bites in each bottle and it may take a few weeks for you to notice the effect on your dog’s anxiety levels.

Related Post: Best Calming Supplements For Dogs

Calming ingredients to tackle stress in dogs

Packed with healthy ingredients

Peanut butter flavor

Specification:
  • Brand: Shed Dog Inc.
  • Weight: 10.1 ounces

Best Vegan Dog Treats Buying Guide & FAQ

Things to Consider When Buying a Vegan Dog Treats

There is plenty of vegan dog treats to choose from! Here are a few things for you to consider when you are choosing which would be best for you.

  • What are they made of? This is the most important consideration. Take a careful look at the ingredients list. Do they contain anything that your dog is allergic to? Most vegan treats try to avoid common allergens such as corn.
  • How much protein do they contain? The protein composition of these snacks is highly variable. Obviously, they contain no animal protein but some can reach quite high levels of plant-based proteins. If you are relying on these snacks to deliver some of the protein in your dog’s diet this is an important consideration.
  • Will they help dental health? Gum disease is a common problem in dogs. Treats and chews are a great way of helping your pooch to maintain a healthy mouth. Some are shaped in a certain way so that they scrape off plaque and this is a desirable feature for a chew. Others have natural ingredients to promote fresh breath which is always a good idea!
  • Are the ingredients natural? It is best to look for products that have all natural ingredients and which avoid artificial colors and preservatives. This is the healthiest option for your pooch.
  • How big are they? Some treats last longer than others! Some are quite large and chewy and are designed to keep a smaller dog occupied for up to 15 minutes. Some have several treats threaded onto a rope so your pooch has the challenge of getting them off!

Dog treats on a white bowl

Why You Should Use Vegan Dog Treats

A decade ago, dog vegan treats were unheard of. However, these days they are becoming more and more popular. Here are a few reasons why so many dog owners are choosing to give their dogs vegan treats.

  • You are a vegan. If you have decided to become a vegan, you may want to make your four-legged friend part of that decision. Even if you do not feel that a totally vegan diet is appropriate for your dog, you may decide that choosing vegan snacks is a compromise that you can live with.
  • Ethical reasons. Vegans have moral and ethical reasons for not wishing to eat meat. You may find it distressing to handle dog snacks that contain animal products. Vegan snacks will be more acceptable to you. Also, some vegan dog treats are made from upcycled human foods which cut down on waste and protects the environment.
  • Environmental concerns. Meat production damages the natural world far more than plant production. Therefore, by cutting down some of the meat in your dog’s diet, you are helping to reduce meat production and do your bit for environmental protection.
  • As part of a healthy diet. Vegan snacks are packed with highly nutritious ingredients. There are very little fillers and they deliver nutrients that help to keep your pooch healthy. You’ll find high-quality ingredients such as blueberries and sweet potato.
  • To combat allergies. Even if you are not a vegan, you may have been advised to avoid certain ingredients because your dog has an allergy. It is always important to get your dog properly assessed by a vet before you assume that they are allergic to something. Vegan dog snacks rarely have the common dog allergens (such as wheat) in them.
  • To avoid artificial ingredients. Artificial colors and preservatives may not be good for your pooch. Vegan treats are often the most natural dog treat that you can buy and contain only natural ingredients.
  • Therapeutic reasons. Some veggie dents for dogs promote dental health because they are shaped to scrape plaque off teeth as they are being chewed. Others can be used to help relieve conditions such as anxiety because they contain natural soothing ingredients such as chamomile.

Ingredients to Avoid

Vegan dog chews can contain some ingredients that some dogs are allergic to or which can harm them. In general terms, the more natural the product the better. However, even though the ingredients are natural, they can still trigger an allergic reaction in some dogs. Always read the label carefully. Here are a few examples of ingredients that you may want to avoid.

  • Chemicals and preservatives

Some pet treats have been known to contain Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA), Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT), and Ethoxyquin. All three are powerful chemicals that are used as preservatives in pet foods and treats. Unfortunately, they are also listed on the Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (California) as known carcinogens and reproductive toxicants. This means that they could potentially cause cancer and interfere with your pooch having pups. BHT has also caused kidney and liver damage in experiments on laboratory rats. Ethoxyquin is so dangerous that it is actually banned in human foods in the US.

Propylene Glycol (which may be written a PG) is used as a moistening agent in some dog treats. It is manufactured from the same ingredients as antifreeze which indicates how toxic it could be.

Looking for human-grade ingredients in the snack can be a good way of avoiding some of these problems.

  • Food Dyes

Artificial coloring is completely unnecessary in animal feed as dogs don’t care what color their treats are! Always choose a product that has no coloring added. Some food dyes such as Blue 2, Red 40, and Yellow 5 and 6 have been linked to hypersensitivity reactions and cancer in humans so they are likely to affect animals too. Caramel color contains 4-methylimidazole (4-MIE) which has been linked to cancer in animals.

  • Potential allergens

Some ingredients can be totally natural but are still capable of making your pooch ill through an allergic reaction. Allergies in dogs can cause digestive, behavioral and skin problems. Here are some common dog allergens that you may want to avoid. However, it should be noted that if your dog has no allergies, there is no need to avoid them.

  • A listing for ‘cereals’ in the ingredients list is very unhelpful because it does not tell you which cereals are in the treat and they could vary from one batch to another. If your dog does have an allergic reaction, you will not know what triggered it.
  • Corn. Corn is often used as a ‘filler’ in treats because it bulks them out and is cheap. However, some dogs find it hard to digest and it causes them intestinal problems.
  • Soy. Obviously, there will be no meat protein in a vegan snack and so this is sometimes replaced by soy protein. However, some dogs have been known to have allergic reactions to soy.
  • Wheat is a good source of carbohydrates in dog treats but can cause intolerance in some dogs. It may be a good ingredient to avoid.

Related Post: Best Dog Treats

DIY Vegan Dog Treats

Making your own vegetable dog chews for your pooch is a lot of fun and there are loads of ideas online. You can mold them into attractive little shapes such as bones and hearts and store them in an airtight container for a week or so. Most need to be baked for a while in the oven.  You will know exactly what is in each of the treats and this places you in total control of your dog’s diet.

They make an ideal Christmas or birthday gift for the other doggies in your life and look lovely when gift-wrapped or secured with some colored twine. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • Carrot and custard tarts. Made from carrot juice, applesauce, and soy milk.
  • Spinach, Carrot and Courgette Treats. Made from shredded carrot, shredded courgette, baby spinach, peanut butter, and pumpkin.
  • Three ingredient hearts. Made from canned pumpkin, bananas, and unbaked oats.
  • Banana Flax Vegan Dog Biscuits. Made from ground flax seeds, rolled oats, cinnamon, coconut oil, and banana.

Many vegetables make simple, healthy and low-calorie vegetable dog chews for your pooch. You just have to make sure that they don’t present a choking hazard. Most dogs will happily munch away on sweet potatoes, carrots, and broccoli.

However, some human foods can make dogs very ill and this list includes avocado skin, grapes, and unripe tomatoes although there are many more.

Best Vegan Dog Treats FAQ:

Q:  Aren’t dogs carnivores? I thought that dogs are supposed to eat diets that are meat-based.

A:  There is no consensus on whether dogs are best fed a diet with or without meat. As with many debates, there are strong opinions on both sides. Some people insist that dogs are carnivores which means that they must have a diet that is predominantly meat. Others argue that they are omnivores which means that they are able to eat both plants and meat.

Dogs have several anatomical features which suggest that they could do well on a diet that does not contain meat. For example, they have large teeth (called molars) with flat surfaces which are good at grinding up fibrous plants. Also, their guts are able to break down carbohydrates found in plant material. Their small intestine makes up almost a quarter of their total gut capacity and this is typical of omnivores. It is very different to the guts of true carnivores like the cat family. Your dog’s body is able to manufacture vitamin A from beta-carotene found in plants and that is a typical characteristic of animals that eat plants.

So, the science indicates that whilst dogs may prefer meat and may do better on a diet that contains some meat, they are able to derive nourishment from plants too. Therefore, vegetable dog treats can be a vital part of a balanced, healthy diet for your dog.

Q:  How long do vegan treats last?

A:  Many vegetable dog treats do not contain any artificial preservatives and so they may have a shelf-life that is shorter than other snacks. However, most of them have limited moisture content and so spoilage will not be too rapid.

The best advice is to store them in a sealed, air-tight container and to buy them in small packs. Always follow the manufacturer’s advice about storage and usage of veggie treats for dogs.

Related Post: Dog Food Containers

Q:  Can vegan dog treats be frozen?

A:  You can batch-bake DIY veggie treats for dogs and store them in your freezer. They can last here for several months but the longer you store them the more likely they are to lose texture. The flavor may also be affected and freezer burn can make them unpalatable if they have been in the freezer for too long.

dog eating treat

Our Top Pick

An excellent choice of vegan dog chews. These treats will help to control gum disease in dogs because their ‘Z’ shape scrapes off plaque and freshens the breath.

The key ingredients are cornstarch and glycerin with protein provided by soybeans. They contain no wheat gluten and are suitable for dogs with wheat and raw-hide allergies.

Sources:

  1. Should Your Pet Go on a Vegetarian Diet?- Pets WebMD
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Dr Tracy Douglas
Dr Tracy Douglas
General Practice Veterinarian, currently working at the Glenwood Veterinary Clinic, Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Dr. Douglas began her veterinary career as a Veterinary Nurse in Highton Veterinary Clinic, Highton Victoria, and then as an Emergency Veterinarian in Uintah Pet Emergency, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Tracy is particularly interested in surgery, neurology and internal medicine, which gives her a well-rounded knowledge on animal health and well-being. She received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Melbourne, while her undergraduate bachelor of science is from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.
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