Top Plant-Based Fresh Dog Food

THE BEST VEGAN DOG FOOD (UPDATED 2024 – TOP BRANDS WITH DISCOUNTS)

My dog, Cookie (a.k.a. Cook-a-roo, Cookie Monster, Cookie Bear) has had tummy issues since we adopted her at age 1. So I was determined to find her the most nutritionally-dense, gut-friendly, vegan dog food on the market; and after extensive researching, taste-testing, and gut checking, Cookie’s digestion, energy, and coat are healthier than ever. She’s been on a plant-based diet for two years now and is absolutely thriving, and I’m so excited to share in that journey with you all.

Below is some research on the science of plant-based diets for dogs, and a handful of the best vegan dog food brands we’ve tried as as well as a couple other brands I encountered that receive high marks from dogs, owners, and veterinarians, alike. Read on for everything you need to know about doggie nutrition, the best vegan dog food brands on the market, and major discounts on dog food!

Note that there are affiliate links and sponsored content elements in this article that will enable you to get a discount while I’ll earn compensation or a commission. I only accept content sponsorships from brands I’ve personally tried and vetted, and all affiliate brands are ones I’ve also researched. These collaborations allow me to run this blog and keep my in-depth content free of charge for readers like you who want to learn more about vegan living 🙂

Now – before we get into the best vegan dog food brands, let’s address the question on everyone’s minds:

Is a vegan diet healthy for dogs?

After speaking with both of Cookie’s vets, I was honestly surprised to hear both of them say, ‘yes!’ One vet, in particular, said that it was only a matter of time for the mainstream to catch up in recognizing that plant-based diets are equally as healthy for dogs as they are for humans. In fact, it’s actually very common for dogs to have intolerances and allergies to meat and other animal products, like dairy, eggs, and poultry. Contrary to popular belief, dogs are actually omnivores (not carnivores), which means they can digest nutrients from either plant or animal sources, just like humans can.

So, once I had the green light from Cookie’s vets, I delved into my research.

In 2022, The Guardian published a study coming out of the University of Winchester which found that “vegan diets are healthier and safer for dogs than conventional meat-based diets.” Here’s the TL;DR on what they discovered:

The study followed the health of 2,500 dogs over the course of a year, assessing various indicators such as numbers of vet visits and 22 common dog illnesses. In a nutshell, the researchers determined that almost half of the meat-fed dogs needed ‘non-routine’ medication, while only one-third of vegan dogs needed meds. The study leader, Professor Andrew Knight of University of Winchester, stated that his study clearly “revealed that the healthiest and least hazardous dietary choices for dogs are nutritionally sound vegan diets.”

The sad reality is that most conventional dog food ingredients come from slaughterhouse waste and byproducts of very unhealthy livestock, in addition to various contamination risks and disease that is prevalent in these facilities. The industry has been in major need of a shake-up, because our dogs (and all pets) deserve better. At the end of the day, a dog’s diet is one of the greatest contributing factors to an adult dog’s health, lifespan and quality of life. With that, I’ll share the top-rated vegan dog food brands I’ve found, including those that Cookie girl has tried.

The Best Vegan Dog Food Brands to Try in 2024

FRESH DOG FOOD

  • Best New Formula: PawCo
  • Best Fresh and Unprocessed: Bramble

KIBBLE + CANNED DOG FOOD

Now without further delay, let’s dive into our top picks for the best plant-based dog food brands on the market.

My Top Picks for Vegan Dog Food in 2024:

Best New Formula: PawCo

Credit: PawCo

PawCo is an incredible vegan dog food brand that hit the market in the past year and is founded by one of the former scientists behind Impossible Foods’ plant-based meat, Dr. Mahsa Vazin. The founder took her years of experience at Impossible and applied it to creating a plant-based meat for dog food – now called GreenMeat™ – which is the base of PawCo’s fresh dog food formula derived from high-quality yeast, pea protein, and other plant-based ingredients.

  • Nutritional profile: PawCo’s vegan dog food formula exceeds AAFCO’s requirements. The food is high in protein, low in fat, and contains all of the essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics your pup needs to thrive. PawCo offers a variety of flavors and options for different tastes and budgets: a premium product called LuxBites™, their standard formula called GreenBites (which has four flavors), as well as a budget-friendly option called InstaBites™ (the only fresh, shelf-stable plant-based product on the market). Their formulas feature ingredients such as textured soy protein, yeast, pea protein, grains, vegetables, and fruits. 
  • Taste: Unsurprisingly, Cookie absolutely devoured PawCo. Because it’s the closest thing on the market to “meat,” PawCo is an incredible innovation for dogs – and while pups do not only enjoy meat, it’s so exciting to have a fresh, plant-based meat product on the market for our furry friends; and Cookie agrees!
  • Sustainability: Plant-based foods, by default, are going to be far more planet-friendly than their animal product-derived counterparts because of the significant decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, biodiversity loss, and deforestation associated with animal agriculture. But, it’s an added perk that PawCo’s containers are also made from recycled materials and their shipping/cooling packs are all recyclable, as well!
  • Cost: For my 27-lb. spaniel mix, the monthly subscription cost for PawCo’s standard formula is about $170, while Instabites (the fresh, shelf-stable formula) is $98 per month. 

Use code VEGANANJ or this link for 60% off your first order! 

*Sponsored

Best Fresh and Unprocessed: Bramble

Bramble Fresh Plant-Based Dog Food Reviews (Picture of Food in Bowl)
Credit: Bramble

I love Bramble because they’re a non-processed, human-grade vegan dog food brand with extremely clean ingredients. The recipes are also gently cooked to maximize the nutritional value of the ingredients, all while containing zero preservatives. Since I first wrote this post, Cookie has tried (and loved) all three of Bramble’s flavors. I also had the pleasure of chatting with their founder, Amanda Rolat, who shared more on her extensive journey in developing Bramble alongside board-certified veterinary nutritionists, which gave me even further confidence in the quality of this dog food. Here’s why I consider Bramble to be a leader in the plant-based dog food space: 

  • Nutritional profile: We often talk about the importance of whole foods in human diets, and Bramble extends these health and nutrition principles to dog food. Bramble meets the standard nutritional levels of AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for Adult Maintenance, and features nutrient-dense, highly digestible ingredients like lentils, chickpeas, veggies, fruits, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and more.
  • Taste: Cookie has now eaten all three of Bramble’s recipes – the Cowbell, the Roost, and the Feast (Bramble’s holiday formula) – and suffice it to say, she wolfed them all down; though I think the Cowbell might be her new favorite! Her digestion and energy levels have been great since she’s been eating Bramble, as well.
  • Sustainability: In addition to fueling dogs with the cleanest pet food on the market, the plant-based nature of Bramble’s ingredients make it inherently more planet-friendly than animal product-based dog food. Bramble’s website points out a staggering fact that, “if the U.S. pet food industry was ranked as its own country for meat consumption, it would rank number 5 in the world – behind the U.S., China, Russia, and Brazil.”
  • Cost: $220 for 4 weeks of their mixed plan, with 25% off your first order (discount below). You can also order Bramble’s ‘Toppers’ plan, which offers 6 weeks of their mixed plan for $160.

Use this link for 25% off your first order of Bramble’s fresh vegan dog food!

*Sponsored

My Top Picks for Kibble + Canned Vegan Dog Food in 2024

Best in Sustainable Practices + Organic Ingredients: Petaluma

Best Plant-Based Dog Kibble
Credit: Petaluma

Petaluma is a fantastic California Bay Area based brand that gets high marks across nutrition and sustainability categories. Here’s why this brand should be a top consideration if you’re looking for high-quality vegan dog kibble:

  • Nutritional profile: Petaluma dog food meets AAFCO standards and was developed by veterinarians, and the majority of the grains and vegetables in their recipe are organic – a huge plus. Some of the main ingredients include organic chickpeas, potato protein, organic oats, organic barley, organic peanut butter, and organic sweet potato. The nutrient profile is also high in protein (31% crude protein, to be exact), plus healthy fats and complete amino acid profiles. The food is also packed with essential vitamins and minerals and has ingredients that help support healthy skin and strong muscles.
  • Taste: Petaluma did extensive taste testing with dogs, who “consistently preferred” their dog food over conventional meat brands. Cookie ate this food for over a year and she absolutely loved this kibble. It actually smells incredible, too.
  • Sustainability: Petaluma is a Certified B Corp and they offset 100% of their greenhouse emissions, in addition to participating in 1% For the Planet, so they’re really walking the walk when it comes to sustainability efforts. LeafScore has also named them the ‘Best Eco-Friendly Dog Food.’
  • Cost: $93.95 for a single 18-lb. bag of kibble, or $84 (10% off) with a subscription. You also get 30% off your first order! When I had a subscription, each bag lasted Cookie (a 27-lb. Spaniel) about 6 weeks – so with tax, I end up spending about $60/month, which is only $15/week! They also sell 12-oz. bags of Sweet Potato Jerky for $17.99. And, they offer a free sample of their kibble, which I took full advantage of and hope that you and your pup do, as well! As an added bonus, Petaluma’s Sweet Potato Jerky treats are available on Amazon for fast, easy delivery.

Use this link to receive 25% off your first Petaluma order!

UPDATE: Petaluma kindly sent a sample of their new Senior Dog Formula for Cookie to sample and she wolfed it down! It’s packed with ingredients to help your senior dog thrive, like additional omega-3 and DHA fats, glucosamine, and more.

Best Non-Legume Based Kibble: Wild Earth

Wild Earth Dog Food Reviews
Credit: Wild Earth

Wild Earth was actually the first vegan dog food we tried – and ultimately came back to – because they are an objectively great kibble packed with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and other high-quality, high-protein ingredients that are essential in keeping your pup’s muscles, heart, gut, skin, and coat healthy. Here’s why they made my list of the best vegan dog food:

  • Nutritional profile: Wild Earth’s dog food is developed by vets and food scientists and meets the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles. Their kibble is packed with high-protein, non-legume derived superfood ingredients including heart-healthy grains like barley and oats, as well as sweet potato, flaxseed, blueberries, pumpkin, spinach (great for calcium and other essential nutrients) and each meal provides a complete spectrum of protein (and offers higher crude protein profiles than many traditional ‘meat’ dog foods).
  • Taste: When I fed Cookie Wild Earth kibble, I would often add some sweet potato, tofu, rice, or oatmeal to get her a little more excited about what’s in her bowl. But overall, Cookie gobbled up Wild Earth! During the times in which I’ve fed Cookie Wild Earth (both their original Complete Protein formula and the updated Performance Formula, pictured above, as well as their Superfood Dog Treats with Koji), her digestion, coat, and energy levels were all great. And, they also offer doggy supplements.
  • Sustainability: Wild Earth is a very earth-conscious brand – its claim to fame is that its dog food requires 95% less water and emits 96% less CO2 than meat-based brands. Their ingredients are also sustainably sourced.
  • Cost: Your first 18-lb. bag of Performance Formula dog food will cost $69.30 (30% off), and $99.00 thereafter with a 5% discount on repeat deliveries. Each bag will last a medium-sized dog about 6-8 weeks on average.

*Note that Wild Earth’s Performance Formula was PR gifted, but I personally purchased their original formula prior and Cookie has tried both.

Use this link to get 30% off your first subscription order at Wild Earth!

Top Contenders + Other Vegan Dog Foods We’d Try in 2024:

While we haven’t gotten to try these vegan dog food brands with Cookie (yet), here are the top three contenders we’re keeping an eye on right now.

Best Customer Reviewed: V-Dog

Best Vegan Dog Food (V-Dog Kind Kibble Photo)
Credit: V-Dog

I have to give this brand major props for being the first vegan dog food company in the U.S. I know a couple of people who feed their dogs this kibble and they (and the pups) love it. Their Kind Kibble is extremely well-reviewed, and clearly loved by pet owners and dogs, alike.

  • Nutritional profile: V-dog’s Kind Kibble is AAFCO-certified and packed with healthy, protein-rich ingredients like dried peas, pea protein, brown rice, oatmeal, lentils, and quinoa. It has 24% crude protein and other added vitamins and minerals like B12, vitamins A, E, D2, and more. They also have these great Breath Bones and Wiggle Biscuits that are equally as nutritious.
  • Taste: The reviews for V-Dog’s kibble and treats are all very positive, with many people sharing on their website that the food is ideal for dogs with gut issues or food sensitivities.
  • Sustainability: V-Dog is proud to make “plant-powered [dog] food that’s gentle on our earth’s resources.”
  • Cost: $71.99 for a 30-lb. bag, or $68.39 (5% savings) with a recurring subscription.

Use this link to receive 20% off your first order with V-Dog!

Best in Sustainable Packaging: Open Farm Kind Earth

Open Farm Kind Earth Plant-Based Dog Kibble
Credit: Open Farm

It’s very difficult to find recyclable packaging in the pet food world, but Open Farm somehow figured it out and I have to commend them for that! Their company, in general, is also another one that’s walking the walk in terms of sustainable practices – in fact, they’ve pledged to reduce their carbon footprint 42% by 2030.

  • Nutritional profile: Open Farm prides itself on traceable ingredients, and their Kind Earth plant-based kibble is no exception. It’s derived from non-GMO ingredients like sweet potato, fava beans, and whole grain barley, and meets or exceeds all AAFCO requirements. They literally have a section on their website that allows them to trace your bag of dog food straight to the source – all you need is the lot code on the bag!
  • Taste: We haven’t had the chance to try out the Kind Earth kibble yet, but a reader kindly recommended them and has a pup that seems to approve!
  • Sustainability: On top of Open Farm’s rare recyclable packaging and carbon footprint reduction goals, they’re also working to divert at least 90% of solid waste produced by their manufacturing to recovery and recycling facilities. They also support various forest conservation organizations and renewable energy wind farm facilities.
  • Cost: $72.99 for a 20-lb. bag (includes 5% savings with auto ship).

Best Conventional + Canned: Halo

Halo Dog Food Thrive Market
Credit: Halo Pets

While Halo isn’t a fully plant-based pet food brand, they offer a ‘holistic’ line that includes vegan kibble, wet food, and treats. I always want to commend and support more conventional brands when they’re making strides in offering vegan products, and Halo is one that’s very deserving of that recognition.

  • Nutritional profile: Halo’s vegan kibble uses non-GMO ingredients like ground peas, chickpeas, pearled barley, oats, pea protein, flaxseed (a great source of healthy, high quality omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for dogs), beet pulp, sweet potato, and beyond, with a guaranteed crude protein analysis of 20%. Halo also offers a canned plant-based wet food which Cookie has tried and devoured – highly recommend it as a little add-in!
  • Taste: I’ve purchased Halo’s wet food from Thrive Market several times now – it’s great to have on-hand or for travel, and Cookie also happens to love their wet food; so it’s convenient *and* Cookie approved!
  • Sustainability: As a brand, Halo just isn’t going to be as sustainable as a fully-vegan company is purely because of the high resource-and carbon intensity of animal-based food products. That being said, simply offering a plant-based option is a step in the right direction.
  • Cost: $84.99 for a 21-lb. bag of kibble, $4.79 per 13 oz. can of wet food, and $6.29 for their treats (all available on Thrive – get 30% off your purchase & a $60 FREE gift when you join Thrive Market) or simply purchase on Chewy.

Which of these Best Vegan Dog Food Brands Will You Try?

I know that was *a lot* of information – so if you’re still trying to decide where to start in making the switch to plant-based dog food for your pup (whether you go with one of these top vegan dog food brands or opt to develop your own vegan recipe for kibble at home), please drop me a line and I’d be so happy to help and share more on our journey.

And remember, switching your dog over to vegan pet food doesn’t need to be about perfection if it’s proving to be a challenge – strive to find a natural balance if your pup isn’t adjusting well at first. Fear not, though; your dog doesn’t need animal protein in order to thrive. Plant-based protein sources will be just as enriching to your dog’s diet in the long run (often times, they’re more nutritious), and you can also have fun with adding some tasty vegan toppers to your dog’s bowl.

In the meantime, be sure to check out my recent post on 101+ vegan grocery items, or read up on the best vegan food in Sonoma County!

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17 Comments

  1. Well, this topic is intriguing and has great potential, I was disappointed to see no discussion of the problems with how kibble is created. I think you should share with your readers the danger of ingesting, a product, kibble, that has been cooked at ridiculously high temperatures to turn it into almost rocks. But it’s what happens at the high temperatures it’s really damaging. Dogs are not created to eat little rocks called kibble, so I guess we have to wait for more dog food companies to make a dehydrated form of vegetarian diet like Dr. Harvey’s that normal working class people can afford. I think you need to do more homework to understand the danger of eating kibble on kidneys and liver and other organs. It demands too much work from these organs to digest it. Thank you I appreciate you trying to share information for the welfare of our beloved companion animals.

    1. I have used Evolution Diet for over 30 Years. It was the first Plant Protein – Plant Based Vegan 100% Complete For All Life Stage Cat -Dog Foods made in the U.S. and Canada. According to Evolution Diet Cat Dog Foods, they have never had one toxic recall in their 34 plus year history. My Cats and Dogs (and Ferrets) have and do love the taste. We have had Cats and Dogs live up to over 20 Human Years in good health while eating Evolution Diet Pet Foods, drinking Distilled Water and keeping Cats indoors and keeping Dogs off GMO Lawns at all times. Our Cats, Dogs and Ferrets almost never get sick until the very end of their lives. I think Evolution Diet is the only 100% Complete Food For All Life Stage Vegan Cat-Dog Food made in N. America,but I am not sure.

  2. We tried Petaluma after reading your article and I’m sad to say it was a terrible experience for our dog. We followed directions and slowly transitioned into feeding Petaluma but within days our little guy started getting sick and coughing up food. It got worse over a couple of days until we stopped feeding it, and his vomiting stopped immediately when. We cut out the Petaluma. He just couldn’t handle it at all. Very disappointed.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear your dog that that experience! Have you had him allergy tested? Perhaps it was one particular ingredient that didn’t work for him. Best of luck in finding your dog’s perfect plant-based food!

    1. Hi Chris! I can certainly understand the monetary barrier with a few of these brands. That said, if you break down the cost of our current food, Petaluma, I pay $84 (10% off with subscription) every 6 weeks – so with tax, I end up spending about $60/month, which is only $15/week, which equates to just a little over $1/meal! You also get 30% off your first order.

  3. After researching the MANY vegan options on the market, we decided to feed our pup Natural Balance Vegetarian formula. It’s vegan, highly rated, more affordable than specialty vegan brands ($73 for 24 lbs or even less with a subscription), and our pup loves it so much that we even use it as training treats! It’s also carried in major pet stores, which is convenient. So far she is very healthy and always gets compliments on her shiny coat. Perhaps we will switch to one of these more sustainable brands for our next rescue when we’re older and can hopefully afford to splurge.

  4. For over 34 Years we have fed EVOLUTION DIET CAT – DOG FOODS. EVOLUTION DIET PET FOODS ARE PROVEN TO PROVIDE BEST HEALTH – LONGEST LIFE FOR CATS & DOGS. For over thity years we have been rescuing, treating, caring for homeless, sick, injured and infant Animals. If we can’t find a home, then we care for them for the balance of their lives. We also take infant, injured and sick Wild Aniamls and do the same for them and usually release them once they are in good enough shape to care for themsleves.

  5. I switched to kind earth recently and have really liked it. I’ve tried so many brands and kind earth tells you where every ingredient is from and the sustainability of it all. It’s very cool. They also came out with a larva formula for people who aren’t ready to do a vegan transition but want something more sustainable.

  6. It’s blatantly hypocritical (and brutally cruel) for so-called “animal-loving” dog owners to feed murdered animals to their dogs. Thank you for your much-needed list of vet-approved healthy vegan dog foods. You’re my hero! 💚❤️🐶👊🏾❗️

  7. I have a 7 yr old pug who is allergic to protein, the vet put her on a special food but now she will not eat it can you recommend a vegan wet food for her please. I live in Toronto Canada. Please help!!!

  8. I wanted my dog to love Bramble but after many tries over several months, she clearly communicated NO WAY! I tried V-Dog wanting to spend my dollars at a vegan company. She didn’t like this either! She is happy with Halo kibble and it is so easy to subscribe on Chewy. Thank you for the article as I may try some other brands.

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