PLANT BASED DOGS
Can dogs be plant-based?
Yes they can! Dogs are biologically omnivores. Having evolved from their carnivorous wolf ancestors over the past 30,000 thanks to their companionship with humans, today’s domestic dogs now possess up to 30 copies of the AMY2B gene, needed for digesting plant foods. They have also evolved a superior ability to metabolize carbohydrates.
Isn’t plant-based pet food going against nature?
Commercial meat-based pet foods, which have only been around the last 100 years, comprise assorted meat products from cows, pigs, sheep, and fish - some of these are animals that cats and dogs would never naturally eat. Of these, beef and lamb are the most common allergens for dogs. The base of most pet products are slaughterhouse waste and byproducts of questionable quality. Additionally, there is the risk of toxins, added hormones, antibiotics and chemicals in this food.
As dogs have evolved alongside humans, their diet has always contained many plant-based products as a result of being fed human scraps. Grass has always been a common dog food too - you will often see your dog nibbling on blades of grass in order to get more fibre in their diet.
Furthermore, when wolves had a successful hunt, they would gorge and not eat again for days. In stark contrast, our furry friends are routinely fed twice a day, often with extra treats, and sometimes with kibble available all day.
So, even though plant-based dog food may sound unnatural, the reality is that most dog food on the market is even more so.
Will they still be healthy?
Cats, dogs and other species, have requirements for specific dietary nutrients, not ingredients. There is no scientific reason why a diet comprising plant, mineral and nature-identical ingredients cannot be formulated to meet all of the palatability, nutritional and bioavailability needs of the species for which they are intended. In fact, a growing number of plant-based commercial products are now available, and studies demonstrate that animals maintained on commercially formulated, nutritionally sound plant-based diets can be perfectly healthy, happy and active.
Do I have to feed them plant-based all the time?
No. While Ralph kibble has been designed to be nutritionally complete for dogs that are exclusively fed a plant-based diet or are allergic to meat, if you’re not prepared for your dog to go fully vegan, then just like humans, your dog can be a flexi-dog! Ralph kibble can supplement your dog’s usual meat-based diet to provide taste and fibre variety (good for the gut) as well as reduce your family’s overall environmental footprint.
How will I get them to change?
Changes are best made gradually, e.g., by feeding a 90%/10% old/new dietary mixture for a few days, then 80%/20%, and so on. This allows an appropriate transition of digestive enzymes and intestinal microorganisms, minimising adverse reactions.
Alternatively, you can introduce Ralph kibble as a product to feed your dog in combination with their regular food, on a regular basis.
Are there any benefits in plant-based diets for dogs?
Yes. Benefits of feeding your dog a plant-based diet can include elimination of allergy symptoms, better oral hygiene, improved skin/coat, and better weight management. Ralph provides all of the nutrition your dog needs without any of the junk they don't.
Is it vegan?
Yes. Ralph Kibble is plant-based and vegan. There are no animal products in our pet food. Even our vitamin D3 is sourced from plant sources. We are currently undergoing vegan certification.
What are the main ingredients?
We use NZ grown oats and yellow pea flour mixed with pea protein, nutritional yeast, spirulina, flaxseeds, chickpea, buckwheat, brown rice flour, pumpkin, spinach, parsley and turmeric. Added probiotics, vitamins and healthy fats complete the nutritional requirements for a thriving and happy dog.
But where does the protein come from?
Our kibble is high in protein, sitting at 28% (AAFCO standard minimum is 18% for adult dogs). While all plants contain some level of protein, we rely on pea protein, nutritional yeast and spirulina to really boost the protein levels. Pea protein alone is 80% protein!
Is Ralph dog kibble a nutritionally complete diet for my dog?
Yes. Ralph kibble is veterinarian-developed and meets or exceeds all AAFCO requirements for adult dog nutrition.
Can my puppy eat Ralph kibble?
Ralph is technically an "adult formula," since it is expertly formulated to meet AAFCO standards for dogs 1 year and up. Consult your veterinarian to see if Ralph could be fed in combination with other pet foods to meet your puppy’s requirements.
Is Ralph suitable for senior dogs?
Yes! Ralph is an excellent fit for seniors and can even help reduce joint pain, inflammation and improve mobility.
Is Ralph suitable for dogs with allergies?
Yes! Ralph is a 100% plant-based dog food with no meat, dairy, corn, soy or wheat. It is easily digestible and considered a low allergy dog food.
Who are we?
We are a family owned business based in Queenstown, New Zealand. We are supported by Callaghan Innovation and the Food Innovation Network as well as contract animal nutritionists and food scientists to develop our recipes.
Where is Ralph made?
Ralph is made in New Zealand from minimum 60% NZ grown ingredients.
Where is Ralph available?
Once we launch in 2022, Ralph will be available online in New Zealand through our website shop, and in-store at selected retailers.
Please get in touch if you would like to stock Ralph in New Zealand, or distribute Ralph overseas - we are looking to export in the future!
Do you use sustainable packaging?
Sustainable packaging is our goal, and we're doing everything we can to be more sustainable in this area while maintaining long shelf life. We are proud to be a member of the Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme, which aims to reduce landfill and encourage recycling. Packaging can be dropped at collection points throughout NZ, or saved and sent in bulk to be turned into fence posts. We are using a sustainability packaging advisor to guide us in the best decisions in this area.
What is your returns policy?
If your pet doesn't enjoy our food, simply let us know and we will give you a full refund, within 30 days of your purchase.
You won’t need to ship anything back to us – simply pass along our food to another dog to try. If your pet isn't happy, neither are we.
What if my dog is fussy?
When trying new foods it is not uncommon for pets to be a bit fussy (unless they’re a Labrador!). Dogs can be helped to transition firstly by combining the new food with their regular food, or secondly, you could try pouring some peanut butter mixed with water on top as a gravy, or serving alongside wet food.
Will you be making cat food?
One day! We’re starting with dog foods, but cat food products will also be in the works further down the track.
Will you be making wet dog food and treats?
Yes! We are working with our experts to create a full range of dog foods.
Will you be making cultivated meat products?
While we’re a pro-vegan company, we’re not anti-cultivated meat. Many pet parents will continue to demand meat products, and we believe that cultivated meat has the potential to one day replace factory farming, so it is something we have our eye on and would love to do one day in the future.
What is cultivated meat?
Cultivated meat involves taking cells from a live animal and brewing them to produce a product that is 100% meat, yet is cruelty free and the original animal is free to live. It may sound like science fiction, but this is the future and how we can help feed both pets and people in a way that is kinder on the planet, and kinder to all animals.
Can I DIY my own plant-based pet food?
While making your own dog food is possible, we wouldn’t recommend it for the majority of your dog’s diet, and we recommend talking to an animal nutritionist first. A commercially formulated diet is well-balanced and has all the nutritional requirements ticked off, so you can feel confident your dog is getting all the nutrition they need.