Holistic Natural Health Experts

What are my Dog’s Nutritional Needs?

(Part 2 of 2 on healthy vegan diets for dogs. Part 1)

A dog’s nutrition is not the same as human nutrition, however, it is not so far apart.

We understand by nutritional needs the specific dietary requirements that an individual’s body requires to function optimally and maintain good health. 

These needs encompass a variety of essential nutrients, including:

  • Proteins
  • Fats
  • Sugars
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals

These essential nutrients are necessary for growth, development, energy production, and overall health. 


The dog must have enough protein: about 3 gr / per kg, this quantity increases for puppies, pregnant and nursing bitches, and sporting dogs. Protein intake will be mainly provided by legumes and algae. 

A regular intake of legumes (approx. 20% protein) and spirulina (approx. 60% protein) is more than sufficient to cover the dog’s protein requirements.

Spirulina is very rich in proteins (60-70% of its dry weight) of high biological value. It contains all the essential amino acids for both adults and children. The membrane of spirulina dissolves easily under the effect of gastric acidity, which guarantees the good assimilation of these 20 amino acids.

We particularly like spirulina, which is very rich in nutrients. It contains all essential amino acids and promotes the growth of healthy intestinal flora. Marketed all over the world, it is easy to use, digestible, and basifying, and dogs love it.

Spirulina - vegan dogs - Holistic Natural Health Experts - doctors Barone nutrition optimal wellness

The production of spirulina is done in water basins where the quality is perfectly controlled as well as the nutrients used for its cultivation. Its environmental footprint is totally negligible, in short, it is worth its weight in gold, provided you buy a real organic spirulina.

It is not negligible to specify here that proteins of animal origin are acidic (positive PRAL index which measures the acidifying-alkalizing potential of food) and therefore harmful to the body in the long term. 

Feeding your dog proteins of vegetable origin is, therefore, a plus for his health, against all odds! Taurine and carnitine are not amino acids that must be added to the dog’s diet, the dog synthesizes them, but often in insufficient quantities. 

The objective is to optimize its food, we will add them in the form of supplements.


Cooked fats are a health catastrophe, so they must be strongly limited for dogs. Vegetable fats naturally contained in cereals, legumes and oil-seeds are sufficient in quantity and variety to cover the dog’s basic needs.

In order to provide an additional source of energy as well as polyunsaturated fatty acids (including Omega 3) to the dog, we will add fats in the form of crushed nuts and vegetable oils (e.g. flax, olive, rapeseed, coconut, etc…). Coconut fat is particularly interesting because of its richness in saturated fatty acids (about 30%), it is an important source of energy for the dog.

We advise you to buy the coconuts picked without exploitation of the monkeys (used as slaves to ride the coconut trees), such as the brands with the “one voice” label.

nuts - vegan dogs - Holistic Natural Health Experts - doctors Barone nutrition optimal wellness

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It goes without saying that you should not give your dog any refined or isolated sugar. No white flour, pasta or white rice. Cereals, legumes, vegetables, and fruit contain enough natural sugars to cover your dog’s sugar requirements.

Naturally, dogs are not fed sugars other than the natural sources contained in food. Let’s not get them used to eating sugars, even whole sugars. 

Sugar makes poor-quality or tasteless foods palatable, and is found in just about every industrial dog food, from teeth-cleaning bones to cookies and other treats, and of course in cans and kibbles.


For some vitamins, such as vitamin A, they cannot be found in their fully synthesized form in a plant-based diet. Therefore, it is important to provide it through supplements added daily to your dog’s food.


Dogs need a sufficient and balanced supply of calcium and phosphorus. By complementing a plant-based diet with a mineral supplement for dogs, and by following age-and weight-related recommendations, you can be sure that your dog won’t lack anything.

If you want to know more about those recommendations, you can find them all by subscribing now and reading our ebook: “My Vegan Dog”. 

Our ebook covers all aspects of a healthy plant-based diet for dogs so that you can make the best choices and, above all, avoid missing out on any crucial supplements. 

Foods To Avoid

Here is a list of food you should avoid giving to your dog:

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Chili
  • Chocolate
  • Onion
  • Avocado (although only the skin is toxic)
  • Garlic

Xylitol sugar, which can be found as a sweetener in human food, should also be avoided for dogs, because depending on the quantity ingested, it can cause a massive release of insulin, which can lead to hypoglycemia with coma.

Apart from these examples, we’d say that if you don’t eat a healthy diet, don’t give your dog your leftovers.

Refined foods with hydrogenated oils, flavor enhancers, colorings, additives, fried foods and bakery products are no better for your dog than they are for you.

Also, don’t give your dog food that’s just come out of the fridge or freezer. 

Finally, out-of-date foods are often added to the dog’s bowl, on the pretext that dogs eat everything, but this is not healthy for them.

Adapting the diet

Every dog is different, so the rations we recommend according to size and weight are only guidelines. Depending on your dog’s age or metabolism, they may need to be increased or decreased.

You’ll know if your dog is eating enough by his behavior and overall health.

A good diet should be sufficient in both quantity and quality, and the dog should be satisfied and not try to eat as if he were short of food. Nor should he pounce on his bowl as if he were starving. His behavior towards his food will tell you a lot about his satisfaction.

His weight should be sufficient (ribs should not be visible), but his muscles should be well-developed (obviously, the dog has to work hard to develop them). He must have good resistance to effort, insofar as his breed allows. His coat should be full, beautiful, and glossy. His eyes should be lively and, in general, he should be alert and happy.

Adapting food portions and their composition is, therefore, the key to a successful vegan diet.

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