Vegan dog food is on the up and up. Just a few years ago, there were barely any companies offering meat-free nutrition for our pooch companions, but now pet owners are spoilt for choice. From complete kibble to pea-protein fuel in a can, vegan dogs are no longer just surviving, they are thriving. So is the market, thanks to celebrity endorsements, large investment rounds and growing awareness that dogs, as omnivores, don’t need meat to be healthy.
Just as new studies have shown that humans don’t need animal protein, research proves the same for dogs. Taking things a step further, it has been shown that a nutritionally balanced diet with plant protein at its core has discernible benefits for our four-legged friends. As a result, a number of companies are seeking to corner the market in vegan dog food.
As more and more couples across Asia and beyond opt for puppies over babies, the following best brands are making paw prints on the booming commercial dog food sector:
Overview: A veteran of the vegan pet food scene, UK brand Benevo has set the bar high, not just in terms of food. It has won numerous accolades and was founded independently to challenge the likes of Purina. Dry and wet food have been developed, alongside healthy treats and snacks. The name has been derived from ‘benevolent’, meaning to do good, and the brand is a trusted source of nutrition for pets.
Key selling points: According to the website, “Benevo has achieved the highest level possible from the Good Shopping Guide’s Ethical Organisation Award of 100 out of 100. Also, the Ethical Consumer Magazine rated Benevo Dog Organic as the most ethical pet food with a score of 20/20.” It can be found online and in physical locations.
Launched: 2013 as Butch & Bess. Rebranded to Hownd in 2015. The first wet food launch was in February 2021 with dry and more wet flavours following by the summer of that year.
Overview: What started as a UK company determined to support happy hounds with ethical grooming products has diversified into a bigger organisation. Hownd now has a range of complete wet and dry food for dogs. All flavours are nutritionally balanced, vet-backed and plant-based. As you’d expect from a company that knows about skin and coat health, formulations are hypoallergenic.
Key selling points: Hownd has built an all-encompassing knowledge of dog health. The desire to do so stems from being emphatic dog lovers and human-canine companions. The company regularly supports initiatives that have a positive impact on pet welfare and has activism at its core.
Overview: Omni was founded when Dr. Guy Sandelowsky, a small animal veterinarian, observed the lack of nutrition in commercial dog food. Partnering with someone whose family had long raised plant-based dogs, the two developed a complete dry food. Omni is notable for its very understated packaging. The company recently scooped $1.5 million in its first funding round.
Key selling points: One of the founders is a qualified vet who has witnessed, first hand, the effects of bad dog nutrition and wants to put a stop to it.
Overview: California’s Petaluma is more than just a (very) pretty website. After watching a family dog play with farm animals, the line between animals and food sources was altered forever for the founders. What followed was two years of R&D before a complete dry food was launched. Dehydrated chews have been added into the mix as well. Petaluma is only available in the U.S.
Key selling points: The company puts sustainability at the core of its operations, citing a lot of benefits to choosing plant proteins. Educated purchasing is a tool for change with this brand. Oh, and the dry food is peanut butter flavoured, which seems like a huge selling point.
5. The Pack
Overview: A second project for the founders of Vevolution, The Pack has developed three complete wet foods. The recipes use pea protein for a more authentic meaty taste and come in beef, chicken, and fish flavours. Another U.K. company, it offers a totally plant-based alternative to fellow artisan brands such as Lily’s Kitchen and looks similarly stylish on the shelf.
Key selling points: The Pack is backed by key figures from the vegan business world, as well as celebrities. The company can also sniff out a great advertising campaign, keeping brand awareness on the up.
Overview: Celebrating over 40 years of vegan nutrition for furry companions, V-Dog is the undisputed pioneer of the sector. Originally launched in the U.K. as Happidog, it was rebranded in 2005 alongside U.S. distribution. Three dry options are available including flakes, nuggets, and a mixer. The formulation has remained largely unchanged since its inception and is now available in Europe. The U.S. arm was sold off, to retain focus on markets closer to home. V-planet is part of the U.S. operation and has expanded into the Asian market.
Key selling points: 40 years of happy customers and healthy dogs make for a compelling brand advertisement.
7. Wild Earth
Overview: “Cleaner label” vegan dog food is what Wild Earth was founded to develop. A Ryan Bethencourt project, the company is located in California, selling complete dry food, as well as snacks and treats. Alongside the animal-free offerings, Wild Earth has announced it is developing cultivated meat options for both dogs and cats which will be more sustainable than traditional methodologies but not vegan. Launch is anticipated for 2022. The company just secured a $10 million credit facility to accelerate growth, so this deadline is likely to be met.
Key selling points: Branching out into cultivated products offers owners that don’t want to take their pets fully vegan a sustainable alternative to commercial foods. Wild Earth is a disruptor and has the right amount of backing to ensure successful message delivery.
Lead photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels.