Herbie Business: V-Dog + Giveaway

**The giveaway is now closed. Thanks for entering. Winners will be contacted by email.

Quaid and Lily Bean have been plant-based for several years now and are thriving. Switching them over to a vegan diet has made all the difference in their health and well-being. 

You can read more about my vegan dogs here and here. If you're thinking about switching your dog to a vegan diet, read this post, "how to change your dog to a vegan diet," by a pet nutritionist. 

My pugs *LOVE* V-dog. We've tried all the vegan kibbles on the market and this is their absolute favorite. Although I like to feed them fresh food, it's not always realistic, such as when we're traveling in the car for long hours or when our friends are babysitting them when I'm away. 

Anyway, over a year ago, I was at a conference speaking and Dave, one of the owners of V-dog, happened to be there promoting his kibble. I stopped at his table to tell him how much my dogs loved V-dog, and within minutes of talking it was clear how passionate Dave was about animals and his product. It made me love V-dog even more.

In February, Dave's lovely wife Linda came to one of my book signings and graciously gifted me with one of their V-dog shirts — Dave had remembered me from the conference more than a year ago and knew how much I loved V-dog. I was so touched!

Then in November I ran into Linda again at HTLA — this time she had a surprise for my pugs, a sample of their new V-Dog BreathBones. (The pugs LOVE them!)

While chatting with Linda, I mentioned to her that Scott had tried the V-dog kibble (before you go thinking my husband is weird and has lost his marbles, his position is you should not feed your dog something you would not eat yourself). Linda joked and said if a major natural disaster was ever to hit Sacramento, she would eat V-dog — no question!

Given my love for this company — and the owners — I asked them if I could interview them as part of my Herbie Business series, and they graciously agreed. They're also giving away kibble and treats to two lucky dog owners! (Limited to U.S. residents) — deets below!

I sat down with Dave and Linda's son, Darren, who has his hand in the "family business."

HH: When did you start V-Dog and why?

We started V-dog in 2005 because we met some guys in England who had a veggie dog food formula called HappiDog, and after learning that they had several generations of happy dog-owning customers who were thriving on their veggie dog food formula, we became excited about the idea of creating a 100% vegan dog food company in the USA. We did the research, consulted with several veterinarians, and learned that dogs can thrive on a well-balanced vegan formula. Then we started working on our formula!

HH: Is this a full-time gig or something that's more like a hobby?

Full-time gig for my Dad and myself! But I also run another full-time vegan fitness training business in SF called PlantFit!

HH: Speaking of fitness, I hear your parents are super fit and active, which they attribute to their plant-based (vegan) diet. Give us the scoop! 

My parents have been vegan for 20 years and are both very active and healthy. My dad is a avid cyclist and tennis player, and my mom is a personal trainer and head of the Vegan Society in Sacramento!  My dad is almost 75 and my mom approaching 70, and they are both full of life and in great health, inside and out. I have been vegetarian for over 15 years and vegan for the past 10.

HH: You mentioned V-Dog was a full-time job for your father. Is V-Dog a family business and if so, do you have any advice for those looking to start a business with their family or are in business with their family? What's the secret for making it work?

Yes, V-Dog is a family business. Our secret to success is that we are truly committed to a bigger purpose — to the mission of ending animal abuse and reversing global depletion, a mission that connects us and drives us to stay focused on the greater good. My mom and dad are true pioneers of veganism and animal rights, and we do not waiver from this core focus. We also find tremendous inspiration from the life-work of Dr. Richard Oppenlander, author of a brilliant book called Comfortably Unaware

We also have several Animal Rights affiliates that we support in one way or another. We are 100%  committed to the cause and very happy to offer cruelty-free dog food products. 

We promote a three-pronged approach to veganism: animal welfare, environmental depletion, and our health. The net result is a shift in spirituality that is hard to explain and, quite frankly, something that one must be curious enough about discovering to cause a shift in actions. I could expand on this, but maybe on a separate interview :)

HH: Tell us about the products V-Dog offers consumers. 

We currently offer our V-Dog Vegan dog food kibble and our V-Dog BreathBones, a hard chew bone.

HH: My dogs thrive on a vegan diet and LOVE V-Dog, but is it suitable for all dogs? Should pet owners talk to their vets before switching?

V-Dog is formulated for all adult dogs 5 months and older. We have three vets that we consult with if anyone would like an "alternative opinion." Any vet who has any current nutritional education will confirm that dogs are omnivorous and can thrive on a well-balanced plant-based formula.

HH: If someone buys V-Dog, what's the best way to introduce it to their pet?

Slowly mixing in with current formula over 1 to 2 weeks.

HH: What is the most rewarding part of your business/work? 

Meeting amazing plant-based people and helping animals!

HH: What is the most challenging aspect?

Dog food is a very challenging industry. We are up against the big guys, the big meat-based companies with massive marketing dollars and inside connections. We will not waiver from our focus on helping bring awareness to the plight of animals.

HH: Anything else you'd like to add or share?

We would like to thank you for your mission of promoting a happy, cruelty-free, herbivorous lifestyle and helping us get the word out that dogs can be totally healthy and, more importantly, happy on a well-balanced plant-based diet. Our beautiful pooches don't need ground-up pig, cow, chicken, fish by-product or eggs or dairy to be healthy.

Darren of V-Dog:)

**The giveaway is now closed. Thanks for entering. Winners will be contacted by email.