Why a Vegan Great Dane?

In 1987, I brought home a beautiful female Harlequin Great Dane whom I named Dagmar. (In Danish, it means "joy of the Danes".) My Dalmation, Sasha, immediately took over the job of potty training and other canine maternal tasks. When I took Dagmar to the vet, who also happened to be a homeopathic vet, I asked the vet if it was possible for a dog to be vegetarian. I was a bit timid about even asking the question, not wanting to impose a nutritional regimen that might not be suited to a canine digestive system, or worse, might be detrimental to the health of the dog. I was surprised when she answered, "Not only will that make your dog healthier, it will extend her life expectancy." I found two "higher quality" brands of dog food at the pet store and, with some of my own dinner menu mixed in, raised my Great Dane as a vegetarian, and switched my Dalmation over to a vegetarian diet. My Dalmation lived to 16 years, and my Great Dane, who was supposed to live 7 to 9 years, lived beyond her 11th birthday. When Dagmar died, I expected to get another Great Dane, followed by a second one, when I was ready, but life got busy and complicated and I lived 14 dogless years before I got another one. On September 23rd, 2012, after I had searched the internet for over a year for exactly the right puppy, my husband and I went to the breeder to pick up a beautiful female Harlequin Great Dane. She was a couple days shy of being seven weeks old. I named her Valentina, which means "brave protector". (It was the name I had come up with 14 years previously, in anticipation of getting another Dane puppy after Dagmar died.) I'm sure every parent thinks they have the most beautiful baby in the Universe, just as every puppy owner thinks they have the most beautiful puppy, but I must insist, this dog is beautiful and very smart. She learned her name by the second day with us, and within the week, she had learned "come", "no", how to ring the peepee bell on the door, "kisses," "sit" and "no bite", (even though teething and tempted to bite everything in sight!). After two weeks with us, Valentina understood questions like,"Do you want to go outside/inside?" (She goes to the door.) "Do you want to go upstairs?" (She runs to the foot of the stairs.) and "Go eat your food." (She would go over to her food dish, look in it, and then look up at me as a signal that I needed to put more food in the bowl.) as well as the command "shake hands." After having read so much about the atrocities contained in commercial dog food, I vowed to make her food from fresh, organic, vegan ingredients, so she could have a good shot at exceeding the current life expectancy for Great Danes. I went to my nearby PetsMart, to get a bag of "transitional vegan kibbles," and found that they no longer carried any. We were happy to find that a local specialty pet store had vegan kibbles and I began transitioning Valentina toward the vegan kibbles, and transitioning myself towards making all her food. So much has changed with the internet. I have found a wealth of knowledge, and connected with people that I never would have found in a library. I have ordered books, researched blogs and websites, and amassed a compendium of vegan canine recipes, all via the internet. And, yet, I feel I have just scratched the surface of what I need to know.

So, Vegan Great Dane will be a record of what my husband and I experience and learn about providing a nourishing diet for Valentina with more-than-minimal nutrients plus everything else involved in raising a healthy Great Dane. (And, of course, I won't be able to resist including some pictures of her.) Much has changed about the approach to puppy training -- I have been surprised to learn that I did a lot of things right in training my other dogs in the past.

One more detail: Valentina will be a bi-national dog. We split our time between Austin, Texas and Lake Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico. Like Kafka, the Dalmation that I had before Sasha, Valentina will be trained in two languages, so she will understand commands both in English and Spanish. There are requirements for taking a dog into Mexico and for taking a dog into the US, so, I'll also be sharing those experiences with you. I welcome your comments, support and any information you might offer. If you are offended by veganism/ vegetarianism, please take your criticism elsewhere. I raised two dogs as vegans, and they were extremely healthy their entire lives. I'd love to hear from you, your experiences, information, your stories, and your support. Thank you.

Companies That Sell Vegan Dog and Cat Food

Evolution Dog Food -A 100% Complete For All Life Stages Dry Dog Kibble. Human Grade Pure Vegan Ingredients. (Also sold on amazon.com)
F & O Alternative Pet Products Vegan dog and cat kibble and canned food1-877-376-9056
Harbingers ofa New Age Vegecat™, Vegekit™, Vegedog™, and digestive enzymes406-295-4944
Natural Balance Canned and Kibble Vegan dog food 1-800-829-4493
Natural Life Pet Products Canned and kibble dog food 1-800 367-2391
Nature's Recipe Canned and kibble dog food 1-800-237-3856
Newman's Own Organic vegan dog treats
Pet Guard Canned dog food and biscuits
V-Dog Vegandog foodv888-280-8364
Wow-Bow DistributorsCanned and kibble dog food and biscuits1-800-326-0230
Wysong CorporationDog and cat kibble 989-631-0009

Quotes about Dogs

ð        There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face. ~Ben William
ð        The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too. ~Samuel Butler, Notebooks, 1912
From the dog's point of view, his master is an elongated and abnormally cunning dog. ~Mabel Louise Robinson
ð        Dogs are miracles with paws. ~Attributed to Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy
ð        Man is a dog's idea of what God should be. ~Holbrook Jackson
ð        The dog is the only animal that has seen his god. ~Author Unknown
ð        Dogs' lives are too short. Their only fault, really. ~Agnes Sligh Turnbull
ð        My little dog - a heartbeat at my feet. ~Edith Wharton
We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults. Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment. ~George Eliot
ð        I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive. ~Gilda Radner
ð        I think we are drawn to dogs because they are the uninhibited creatures we might be if we weren't certain we knew better. They fight for honor at the first challenge, make love with no moral restraint, and they do not for all their marvelous instincts appear to know about death. Being such wonderfully uncomplicated beings, they need us to do their worrying. ~George Bird Evans, Troubles with Bird Dogs
ð        Our dogs will love and admire the meanest of us, and feed our colossal vanity with their uncritical homage. ~Agnes Repplier
ð        One reason a dog can be such a comfort when you're feeling blue is that he doesn't try to find out why. ~Author Unknown
ð        Scratch a dog and you'll find a permanent job. ~Franklin P. Jones
ð        I talk to him when I'm lonesome like; and I'm sure he understands. When he looks at me so attentively, and gently licks my hands; then he rubs his nose on my tailored clothes, but I never say naught thereat. For the good Lord knows I can buy more clothes, but never a friend like that. ~W. Dayton Wedgefarth
ð        When a dog barks at the moon, then it is religion; but when he barks at strangers, it is patriotism! ~David Starr Jordan
ð        Properly trained, a man can be dog's best friend. ~Corey Ford
ð        If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then giving Fido only two of them. ~Phil Pastoret
ð        With the exception of women, there is nothing on earth so agreeable or necessary to the comfort of man as the dog. ~Edward Jesse, Anecdote of Dogs
ð        The dog is a yes-animal, very popular with people who can't afford to keep a yes-man. ~Robertson Davies
ð        Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails. ~Max Eastman, Enjoyment of Laughter
ð        My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown
ð        If dogs could talk, it would take a lot of the fun out of owning one. ~Andy Rooney
ð        A dog is not "almost human" and I know of no greater insult to the canine race than to describe it as such. ~John Holmes
ð        If you get to thinking you're a person of some influence, try ordering somebody else's dog around. ~Will Rogers

ð        An old dog, even more than an old spouse, always feels like doing what you feel like doing. ~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com
ð        The more I see of man, the more I like dogs. ~Mme. de Staël
ð        Did you ever notice when you blow in a dog's face he gets mad at you? But when you take him in a car he sticks his head out the window. ~Steve Bluestone
ð        To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs. ~Aldous Huxley
ð        They never talk about themselves but listen to you while you talk about yourself, and keep up an appearance of being interested in the conversation. ~Jerome K. Jerome
ð        Did you ever walk into a room and forget why you walked in? I think that is how dogs spend their lives. ~Sue Murphy
ð        Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. ~Roger Caras
ð        The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's. ~Mark Twain, letter to W.D. Howells, 2 April 1899
ð        The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog. ~Ambrose Bierce
ð        A dog is one of the remaining reasons why some people can be persuaded to go for a walk. ~O.A. Battista
ð        In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semi human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog. ~Edward Hoagland
ð        If dogs could talk, perhaps we would find it as hard to get along with them as we do with people. ~Karel Čapek
ð        An old dog, even more than an old spouse, always feels like doing what you feel like doing. ~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com
ð        Near this spot are deposited the remains of one who possessed Beauty without Vanity, Strength without Insolence, Courage without Ferocity, and all the Virtues of Man, without his Vices. This Praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery if inscribed over human ashes, is but a just tribute to the Memory of Boatswain, a Dog. ~George Gordon, Lord Byron, "Inscription on the Monument of a Newfoundland Dog"
ð        The dog was created specially for children. He is the god of frolic. ~Henry Ward Beecher
ð        The greatest love is a mother's; then a dog's; then a sweetheart's. ~Polish Proverb
ð        A man may smile and bid you hail
Yet wish you to the devil;
But when a good dog wags his tail,
You know he's on the level.
~Author Unknown
ð        Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made. ~Roger Caras
ð        No philosophers so thoroughly comprehend us as dogs and horses. ~Herman Melville, Redburn. His First Voyage, 1849
ð        Anybody who doesn't know what soap tastes like never washed a dog. ~Franklin P. Jones
ð        Any member introducing a dog into the Society's premises shall be liable to a fine of one pound. Any animal leading a blind person shall be deemed to be a cat. ~Oxford Union Society, London, Rule 46
ð        A cat, after being scolded, goes about its business. A dog slinks off into a corner and pretends to be doing a serious self-reappraisal. ~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com
ð        In the world which we know, among the different and primitive geniuses that preside over the evolution of the several species, there exists not one, excepting that of the dog, that ever gave a thought to the presence of man. ~Maurice Maeterlinck
ð        Happiness is a warm puppy. ~Charles M. Schulz
ð        No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does. ~Christopher Morley
ð        If you are a dog and your owner suggests that you wear a sweater... suggest that he wear a tail. ~Fran Lebowitz
ð        Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear. ~Dave Barry
ð        A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of. ~Ogden Nash
ð        Amount of time it takes for a dog to "do its business" is directly proportional to outside temperature + suitability of owner's outerwear. ~Betsy Cañas Garmon, www.wildthymecreative.com
ð        The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue. ~Author Unknown
ð        Whoever said you can't buy happiness forgot little puppies. ~Gene Hill
ð        I loathe people who keep dogs. They are cowards who haven't got the guts to bite people themselves. ~Author Unknown
ð        Ever wonder where you'd end up if you took your dog for a walk and never once pulled back on the leash? ~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com
ð        The average dog is a nicer person than the average person. ~Andy Rooney
ð        My dog is worried about the economy because Alpo is up to 99 cents a can. That's almost $7.00 in dog money. ~Joe Weinstein
ð        I always like a dog so long as he isn't spelled backward. ~G.K. Chesterton
ð        If your dog is fat, you're not getting enough exercise. ~Author Unknown
ð        The dog wags his tail, not for you, but for your bread. ~Portuguese Proverb
ð        A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down. ~Robert Benchley
ð        The best way to get a puppy is to beg for a baby brother - and they'll settle for a puppy every time. ~Winston Pendelton
ð        I am not your dog, but if every time you saw me, you gave me a backrub, I would run to greet you, too. ~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com
ð        Life is like a dog sled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes. ~Lewis Grizzard
ð        You ask of my companions. Hills, sir, and the sundown, and a dog as large as myself that my father bought me. They are better than human beings, because they know but do not tell. ~Emily Dickinson
ð        There is no faith which has never yet been broken, except that of a truly faithful dog. ~Konrad Lorenz
ð        If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience. ~Woodrow Wilson
ð        Dogs, the foremost snobs in creation, are quick to notice the difference between a well-clad and a disreputable stranger. ~Albert Payson Terhune
ð        You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us. ~Robert Louis Stevenson
ð        To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring - it was peace. ~Milan Kundera
ð        When a man's best friend is his dog, that dog has a problem. ~Edward Abbey
ð        A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself. ~Josh Billings
ð        I wonder what goes through his mind when he sees us peeing in his water bowl. ~Penny Ward Moser
ð        A dog can express more with his tail in seconds than his owner can express with his tongue in hours. ~Author Unknown
ð        Ever wonder where you'd end up if you took your dog for a walk and never once pulled back on the leash? ~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com
ð        I love a dog. He does nothing for political reasons. ~Will Rogers
ð        Children are for people who can't have dogs. ~Author Unknown
ð        I named my dog Stay so I can say, "Come here, Stay. Come here, Stay." ~Steven Wright
ð        When a shepherd goes to kill a wolf, and takes his dog along to see the sport, he should take care to avoid mistakes. The dog has certain relationships to the wolf the shepherd may have forgotten. ~Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
ð        If you can look at a dog and not feel vicarious excitement and affection, you must be a cat. ~Author Unknown
ð        The more one gets to know of men, the more one values dogs. ~Alphonse Toussenel
ð        When a dog wants to hang out the "Do Not Disturb" sign, as all of us do now and then, he is regarded as a traitor to his species. ~Ramona C. Albert
ð        Both humans and dogs love to play well into adulthood, and individuals from both species occasionally display evidence of having a conscience. ~Jon Winokur
ð        The pug is living proof that God has a sense of humor. ~Margo Kaufman
ð        Dachshunds are ideal dogs for small children, as they are already stretched and pulled to such a length that the child cannot do much harm one way or the other. ~Robert Benchley
ð        I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult. ~Rita Rudner
ð        Fox-terriers are born with about four times as much original sin in them as other dogs. ~Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat
ð        Labradors [are] lousy watchdogs. They usually bark when there is a stranger about, but it is an expression of unmitigated joy at the chance to meet somebody new, not a warning. ~Norman Strung
ð        Newfoundland dogs are good to save children from drowning, but you must have a pond of water handy and a child, or else there will be no profit in boarding a Newfoundland. ~Josh Billings
ð        Bulldogs are adorable, with faces like toads that have been sat on. ~Colette
ð        The nose of the bulldog has been slanted backwards so that he can breathe without letting go. ~Winston Churchill
ð        I like a bit of mongrel myself, whether it's a man or a dog; they're the best for everyday. ~George Bernard Shaw

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