Virchew signalling – can dogs go vegan?

But first…

Photo: d. king

Let me preface this by asking – did you know that one of the oldest living dogs was a border collie named Bramble who was vegan and lived to be 25?

There’s a book “Bramble; The dog who wanted to live forever” that documents the care regime, diet and the people who looked after her. The book also demonstrates how to circumvent the pet food industry which in many cases contributes to greenhouse gasses and animal abuse via intensive farming.

I know I’ve been appalled at some of the ingredients I’ve noticed on many pet food packages, many of which are on the shelves for sale at your veterinarian. Kudos to anyone trying to improve the industry…but that’s not to say that I would jump in and rapidly change my dog’s diet, which I believe is pretty healthy as is.  As with almost everything else, you must do the research yourself.

Photo: d. king

Here’s what I found: Dogs can thrive without meat, but only if they are fed a properly balanced vegetarian diet. As is true with people who prefer vegetarian diets, protein or vitamin deficiency can occur in dogs who eat strictly vegetarian diets if they are not properly supplemented.

I also found: dogs are omnivores, which means that they eat both meat and plant products. While it is theoretically possible, the British Veterinary Association does not recommend giving a dog a vegetarian or a vegan diet as it is much easier to get the balance of essential nutrients wrong than to get it right. Feb 1, 2022

Vegan diets are healthier and safer for dogs than conventional meat-based diets, according to the largest study to date, as long as they are nutritionally complete. The diet and health of more than 2,500 dogs were followed over a year using surveys completed by their owners. Apr 13, 2022

KEY WORDS: NUTRITIANALLY COMPLETE

Photo: d. king

Meet Laura Simonson. She’s a local entrepreneur and the founder of “Virchew,” a complete plant-based nutritionally balanced food (along with treats) for dogs.  Based in Vancouver, BC, Virchew is powered by trail-blazing veterinary nutrition programs – with a dogged focus on skin, digestive and preventative solutions. 

FAR FROM YOUR TYPICAL DOG FOOD.

Unlike most dog foods, Virchew is not a kibble.  Meals are a convenient dry blend that is jam-packed with clean, green proteins, essential fats (omegas and DHA), complex carbs, healthful fiber, essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and nutrients. You simply dish it up to your dog’s bowl, stir it up with warm water and serve it up! Complete ingredients are on the website.  They also deliver and ship to your door.

I walked by her shop a few weeks ago and got hooked by the colourful posters and ambience so went inside to check it out and ask a few questions. I left with some love bowl samples.  I like the idea behind the name and believe she’s concocted a healthy plant based formula, however I’m continuing to feed Layla a combo of meat + veggies as this is a new concept for us. We’ll continue with her regular routine. I always add several drops of a cellular formula called “rejeneril” (see link below) to her kibble in the morning. In the evening I mix either cooked ground turkey, chicken or wild salmon with mixed veggies (carrots, peas, green beans, a little squash or sweet potato) and rice. I add a tsp of coconut or ultra fish oil to the mix.  She never gets bored.  I also give her a bit of plain yogurt, but not everyday.

Let’s consider Laura’s story…taken from her website profile page:

Photo: d. king
Photo: d. king

One day in 1989, Laura went to a natural health bookstore in Saskatoon, SK. It was a highly unusual store for its time and so was a book she happened upon. The self-published book title eluded to “vegetarian dogs.” (The word ‘vegan’ was not yet mainstream).  Since she was a bona fide natural health foodie, competitive bodybuilder, athlete, passionate animal lover, and considering vegetarianism herself, Laura was intrigued and the idea stuck.”

Fast forward to 2001, now a vegetarian and after several years as a top-selling realtor and sales manager, Laura pursued one of her first entrepreneurial business ideas: to open the first health & fitness studio of its kind, supported by personal growth programs, and vegetarian catering. Laura created the programs and personally provided the catering each week. It was during that same year she found her dream dog, Shanti, a border collie.

“She had already planned Shanti’s vegetarian diet, and after consulting a veterinarian friend, she decided on a home-cooked diet combined with a veterinary, vegetarian formula. Shanti quickly became the studio’s living mascot as she delighted clients and friends alike with her boundless energy.”

Photo: d. king

“In 2008, through a fortuitous event, Laura met Gord Espeseth, an entrepreneur, innovator, and businessman who was also a vegetarian. With a background as a farmer, bush pilot, social worker, international food broker, owner of a food production company, and inventor of TRAK Kayaks (National Geographic dubbed TRAK the world’s ultimate kayak), Gord was the perfect match to play a support role for Laura’s next BIG idea: a vegetarian food company with a social venture foundation.” 

One day in December 2009, while assisting a friend with a food demo at a West Vancouver Whole Foods store, Laura took a break to walk down the dog food aisle. As she scanned the shelves and saw the absence of a vegetarian or vegan option, it was at that moment that the inspiration lightbulb went off! She knew what needed to be done and quickly linked this new idea all the way back to that moment in the book store in Saskatchewan and that glimpse of the vegetarian dog book.”

From that day forward, the idea was complete and Virchew was born.

https://www.virchew.com/aboutvirchew

So…food for thought – would you consider feeding your dog a completely plant based formula?

Veggie Dogs anyone?

Food for Thought – the Best Dog Food!

Below is a link to a very helpful article on what is best to feed your dog….aside from the usual kibble.

Photo: Tamara Gauthier

Photo: d. king

I’ve been meaning to publish this for months but put it on the back burner.  I strongly believe that dogs deserve to eat real food the same as humans for health purposes mostly.

All living creatures deserve real food. 

It is narrow-minded to think that dogs should eat only kibble.  Perhaps the thought of eating kibbles for the rest of your own life helps make the point that pets forced to do so are being shortchanged.

I’ve been making simple real food meals for my dogs for dinner since day one (day one being the day they came into my care).  Unless we’re travelling they get homemade.  Not in the morning, just in the evenings.  Sometimes in the morning they get oatmeal or eggs  but mostly good quality kibble. Aside from health benefits, the enjoyment of watching them polish off  a bowl of freshly prepared food, knowing how much they love to eat it, is enough for me to want to make it.

My male sheltie is almost sixteen.  I met him when he was eight, and he became mine furever when he was ten.  He was used to eating only kibble once a day. But on several occasions he went into a hypoglycemia shock where he could hardly function.  Twice I didn’t think he’d even recover.  So I decided to change his diet by feeding him twice a day with the second meal consisting of ‘real’ meat & veggies.  No filler. Since doing so, he has not gone into shock syndrome once.

Cost wise, buying real food is not as much as you think.  You can buy stir-fry beef or chicken on sale, mix it with plain rice, add steamed veggies like yam, sweet potato, zucchini and carrots. Then mix in frozen or canned peas. Ground turkey & fish such as salmon are also good choices.  Just like us, they like variety.   You can buy canned pure pumpkin and give them a bit of that too.  Make enough for several days and refrigerate in portions.  Your dog will love you even more for it.

Photo: d. king

Selfie in the Park

When it comes to buying kibble for your dog please carefully read the label.  Animal protein should be at the top of the ingredient list with whole vegetables, fruits and grains next.  Don’t forget to check the best before date.

Let’s keep our furry family happy and healthy for as long as we can.  It’s the least we can do for them.  They enhance our lives, we should do the same for them.

ARTICLE:

https://www.yourpurebredpuppy.com/health/articles/feeding-homemade-dog-food.html