Happy world vegan day!
This is my Shiva. She is named after Vandana Shiva, the ecofeminist. Shiva is a rescue and was homeless before the shelter picked her up. Being homeless led her to eat everything. I am serious when I say everything. At one point, I thought I should start playing the lottery because she would poop out paper with numbers on it! Shiva is 16 pounds of loyal cuddling. She is wary of strangers, I think also due to being homeless, but a huge love bug once she decides she loves you. Shiva loves me best despite the reason we got her was because hubby wanted a dog. As a rescue, we are unsure of her breed and would rather spend the money it would take to find out on treats and toys. We think Shiva is part Shiba Inu and part Fox Terrier.
We knew we wanted our dog to be vegan before Shiva picked us at the shelter. We had read enough information about happy and healthy vegan dogs. Shortly after bringing her home we noticed that she would eat anything, cigarette butts, rabbit poop, rotting anything. Bleck. It continues to be frustrating. Due to this terrible habit, no matter our diligence, Shiva developed pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas. We didn’t even know what this was or that it could be very deadly. Twice she has been hospitalized for pancreatitis and other times we have been able to catch it early enough to treat at home. One time I even induced vomiting to make sure she didn’t get sick again.
After the first time, and as we were transitioning her to a vegan diet, our veterinarian recommended she have a very low fat diet to help prevent reoccurrence. Great! A vegan diet is very low in fat. However, every veterinarian has questioned this decision. Really? It’s so frustrating. Shiva is now approximately 14 years old, a senior dog by any standards. She is still happy to go on a long walk every day and gets antsy if the weather prevents a long walk outside for too many days in a row. She shows no signs of arthritis, but has glassy eyes and is losing her hearing. Other than this and continued flair-ups of pancreatitis, she is in great health. Once a dog has pancreatitis, the dog retains a high likelihood of continued problems with the condition. Especially a dog like Shiva that eats everything.
The bonus of her eating everything is that treats are as simple as raw carrots or peanut butter. She runs around our home with excitement when we pull a Kong filled with peanut butter out of the freezer. Apparently she isn’t the only small dog that gets excited for Kong toys.
Shiva eats V-dog and adores it. I didn’t want to worry about making sure she was getting all the right proportions of nutrients and decided a formulated diet would be easiest. For skeptic veterinarians, this has been a smart choice as I can easily share the nutrition facts and when there have been additional questions, V-dog staff have been great about supplying additional information.
Choosing what to feed everyone in your family is very personal. Some dogs seem to absolutely refuse vegan options. Veterinarians that support vegan dogs feel that a very slow transition is possible for all dogs. For Shiva, she eats everything. A mixed blessing. I hope your fur babies are healthy and bring you lots of joy. I consider my vegan dog another form of activism through everyday choices and she doesn’t mind.