Meatless Dog Food: What Is It and Why You Should Let Your Dogs Try It

Meatless dog food brands are exploring innovative alternatives to meat ingredients in pet food and they’re doing it with some cool biotechnology! The most urgent reason is to make a dent in the pet food industry’s carbon pawprint.

From sustainable insect-farming to harvesting protein-rich fungi and algae, these brands are tapping into advanced solutions to create highly-nutritious, eco-friendly pet food. Some of these alternative proteins are even engineered to be better absorbed by your pup’s digestive system. We’re truly living in the future!

Read on to learn more about meatless dog food, and discover high-quality options from two of these brands, Nature’s Hug and Percuro!

Disclaimer: The content in this article provides general information about meatless dog food available today and doesn’t reflect the views of Pet Lovers Centre. When deciding on whether the diet is suitable for your dogs, please conduct adequate research. Please consult your vet should your dog have any nutritional and medical issues such as liver, kidney or pancreatic insufficiencies.

What is Meatless Dog Food?

Meatless dog food refers to specially formulated meals that provide pups with non-animal based proteins and nutrients their bodies require.

Dogs are omnivores, just like us – this means that they typically thrive on plant and animal based diets. But, like humans, many of them can live on meatless diets as well! That’s because what they truly need is protein

The typical recommended protein intake for dogs is:

  • 22% – 32% for puppies
  • 18% – 30% for adults
  • 18% – 23% for seniors

Meatless options replace animal-based proteins with alternative proteins from sources like plants, algae and even insects!

Types of Alternative Proteins in Meatless Dog Food

Brands that produce meatless meals tend to mix and match between different alternative proteins. Here are the most common ones – you might’ve heard of some of them!

  Mycoproteins

Made from a type of fungus called Fusarium venenatum, mycoproteins are known to be rich in fibre and essential amino acids (the building blocks of proteins).

  Insect-based

Rising in popularity due to its low carbon footprint, edible insects are highly nutritious for dogs as they are rich in quality proteins, healthy fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Common insect options include black soldier fly (BSF) larvae, crickets and mealworms.

These alternative proteins are making great strides in the human and pet food industry today. Learn more about why we should eat insects through this informative video by Channel News Asia (CNA)!

  Plant-based

A common protein alternative for vegetarian dog food, plants like beans, legumes, nuts and whole grains contain high levels of natural proteins. Some examples include soy, chickpeas, corn and oats.

  Algae-based

Algae are plant-like organisms commonly found in aquatic environments. Many edible algae, like kelp and spirulina, are a great source of essential proteins, fatty acids, vitamins and omega 3 and 6.

Benefits of Meatless Dog Food

Assortment of meatless protein sources safe for dogs

Meatless options are a great choice for eco-conscious pet parents, or those looking for high protein, hypoallergenic meals for their dogs!

  More Environmentally Friendly

According to this article by CNA, alternative proteins may help mitigate the issue of unsustainable farming practices in the production of meat-based food. The emergence of meatless dog food may thus help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption in pet food production.

  Hypoallergenic

Going meatless may be beneficial for dogs that keep sneezing or having digestive disturbances due to food allergies. In fact, it’s a common reason for many pet parents to turn to vegan and vegetarian diets for their furkids. Common allergies in dogs include intolerance to:

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Corn
  • Wheat gluten

For more hypoallergenic options, check out these other best dog food for allergies!

  Optimised Protein Formulations

Meatless brands largely optimise their protein formulations for greater, more efficient absorption into the body. As compared to fully plant-based diets, meatless ones are typically better able to replicate the essential amino acid profiles present in animal meat.

Nature’s Hug Alternative Proteins Dog Food

meatless dog food product - Nature’s Hug Alternative Proteins Dog Food product banner

Nature’s Hug offers high quality meatless food for dogs (and cats too). Their line is particularly noteworthy as it’s chock full of innovative plant-based and food-technology alternative proteins, called proteinNH+. Their recipe blends proteins from multiple sources like:

  • Legumes and nuts
  • Mushrooms and algae
  • Insects

Indulge even your fussiest doggos with delicious meals containing:

  • Holistically formulated proteins to support your pet’s fur, skin, muscle and bone health
  • Pre, pro and post biotics engineered for optimal absorption to boost gut health
  • Naturally-contained vitamin B12, pre, pro and post biotics engineered with OPTI-BIOM technology for optimal absorption to boost gut health
  • Mycoproteins that are easily absorbed by the body for better digestion
  • GMO-free ingredients that produce lower greenhouse gas emissions than regular pet food

For the cat parents, check out their meatless cat food options here!

Nature’s Hug Alternative Proteins Puppy Growth 2.27kg

meatless dog food product - Nature’s Hug Alternative Proteins Puppy Growth 2.27kg
Key features:
Made for toy and small breed puppies
27% sustainable protein
Hypoallergenic, grain-free dog food
Made in Canada with premium-grade, locally sourced ingredients

Looking to start your young pup’s life with a healthy, balanced meatless diet? This product is carefully formulated to give your puppies the best nutrition for growth. Filled with superfoods like kale, kelp and flaxseed, your furkid can get all the nutrients they need to build strong bones and a robust immune system.

Nature’s Hug Alternative Proteins Adult Dogs 2.27kg

meatless dog food product - Nature’s Hug Alternative Proteins Adult Dogs 2.27kg
Key features:
Made for toy and small breed adult dogs
25% sustainable protein
Formulated for boosted oral, fur and skin health
Made in Canada with premium-grade, locally sourced ingredients

Specially made to boost your dog’s energy levels and immune system, this Nature’s Hug product is great for keeping your adult pup happy and healthy. He’ll get all the essential nutrients and amino acids to promote a healthy body weight. With added L-Lysine and turmeric superfoods, he’ll also get extra support for strong bones and a shiny coat!

Nature’s Hug Alternative Proteins Senior Dogs 2.27kg

meatless dog food product - Nature’s Hug Alternative Proteins Senior Dogs 2.27kg
Key features:
Made for medium and large breed senior dogs
24% sustainable protein
Contains OPTI-BIOM blend to promote good gut health
Made in Canada with premium-grade, locally sourced ingredients

This Nature’s Hug senior dog recipe is highly digestible, ensuring your furry friend gets all the nutrients he needs to live actively and age gracefully. It’s filled with pre, pro and post biotics to maintain healthy metabolic balance for your pup’s digestive tract.

Furthermore, its prohair formula contains omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to keep your dog’s skin and fur in tip-top condition.

Other variations available: Toy and small breeds

Percuro Insect Protein Dog Food and Treats

meatless dog food product - Percuro Insect Protein Dog Food and Treats product banner

Percuro creates meatless pet food and treats that are good for both your beloved doggos and the environment. They’ve centred their products around eco-friendly solutions to unsustainable farming practices that dominate the world’s meat production industry. In short, they make high-protein insect-based food to lower the world’s carbon pawprint.

Enjoyed by many humans around the world, BSF larvae are a sustainable protein source for many kinds of meat-eaters, pups included. They are ethically farmed and, compared to livestock farming:

  • require 92% less space and 99% less water,
  • create 99% less greenhouse gas emissions.

Percuro’s meatless dog food products also feature:

  • High-quality proteins that are highly digestible, allowing for better absorption of essential amino acids into the body
  • Plant-based ingredients like oats that are easy on the stomach and high in natural vitamins and minerals
  • Prebiotics to promote a healthy biome in the gut, which can improve calmness and happiness levels
  • High levels of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids sourced from plants to boost immunity system and skin health
  • Recyclable packaging, to further protect the planet

Did you know?
The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) is looking into approving high quality protein insect-based food for human and animal consumption. This is because its high nutrient content and lowered carbon footprint may help to safeguard Singapore’s food security.

Learn more about it in this article by The Straits Times!

Percuro Insect Protein Adult Medium & Large Breed 2kg

meatless dog food product - Percuro Insect Protein Adult Medium & Large Breed 2kg
Key features:
Made for medium and large breed adult dogs
Sustainable, 100% clean insect protein
Hypoallergenic, with no common allergens
Highly digestible, contains prebiotics for healthy gut

Let your adult dog enjoy these specially formulated insect-based kibbles filled with nutritional goodness! It’s rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids from algae oil, to enhance your pup’s skin and coat health. It also contains Percuro’s Nature Calm Complex, a blend of chamomile and hemp seed oil, to calm them from stressors like separation anxiety!

Other variations available: Small breed

​​

Did you know?
Some insect-based pet food has been recommended by vets from the British Veterinary Association! Many of them have expressed excitement about the prospects of this emerging high-protein, eco-friendly alternative.

Percuro Insect Protein Puppy Large Breed 2kg

meatless dog food product - Percuro Insect Protein Puppy Large Breed 2kg
Key features:
Made for large breed puppies
Contains omega 3 and chamomile-based Nature Calm Complex
Sustainable, 100% clean insect protein
Highly digestible, contains prebiotics to develop healthy gut biome

Give your furbabies a strong and eco-friendly start in life with this delectable puppy recipe. Meals contain omega 3 rich algae oils that can support healthy brain development, helping your pups be worry-free and easier to train. They’re also enhanced with added proteins to encourage healthy muscle growth!

Other variations available: Small and medium breed

Percuro Insect Protein Snappies Oven Baked 120g

meatless dog food product - Percuro Insect Protein Snappies Oven Baked 120g
Key features:
Made for dogs of all sizes and ages
Only 10 calories per treat
Easy to break
Sustainable, hypoallergenic 100% clean insect protein

Snappies are great for dogs of all breeds and ages who are sensitive to traditional meat products. They contain no common allergens and livestock products, nor artificial flavourings and preservatives, and are made with a lowered carbon footprint. Pamper your pups with these tasty, eco-friendly low calorie treats!

FAQs About Meatless Dog Food

Yes there is! Some brands that offer dog food without meat include Nature’s Hug and Percuro.

Meatless dog food is an eco-friendly option that relies on alternative proteins (e.g. mycoproteins, insects, algae) to meet your pup’s nutritional needs. It’s typically hypoallergenic and contains highly-digestible proteins.

Meatless dog food may have the following disadvantages:

  • Some options may not be suitable for certain dogs, like pregnant or nursing adult dogs
  • Novel ways of producing alternative proteins may not be as well-researched as traditional methods and may pose unforeseen risks to pets

As with any dietary change, it’s best to check in with your veterinarian to ensure you’re giving your pet what’s best for them!

Yes, dogs are omnivores! They typically get their nutrients from both plants and animals. However, they can also thrive without meat as long as they receive a properly balanced diet with enough proteins from non-meat sources.

Just like humans, dogs can be vegan or vegetarian with the right supplements and alternative protein diets based on dietary requirements. Dogs are usually fed vegetarian dog food and treats if they suffer from certain food allergies, or based on their owners’ ethical beliefs.

Hidaya Alatas
Article by:
Hidaya Alatas
Contributors:
Bernice Quek
An idealist who believes she can change the world through stories, music and the arts. Best friends include (but not limited to) her cats, Netflix and her a cappella group.
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