In complete dog foods (whether vegan or conventional), vitamins and minerals are usually added to complete the food.
But are these additives vegan?
We already had to ask ourselves this question about vitamin D. Now this question came up again regarding vitamin A. And here, too, the same answer is valid.
It can, but it doesn’t have to.
But I’ll start from the beginning.
We have already had to deal with various disasters in the course of our Vegan4Dogs time, and yet every time it is a shock that results in sleepless nights, considering the lack of solutions. And so it was this time too.
Ramona from Veganpaws approached me asking if the vitamin A in our products was vegan, or if I had ever heard of vitamin A not being vegan. This topic was new to me and it was not easy to find information about it, because usually nobody is interested in it. However, it gave me a stomach ache, as there was the possibility that we were using non-vegan vitamin A.
So first I had to clarify what about vitamin A could not be vegan. To do this, I contacted our production department, which actually told me that vitamin A powder is usually stabilised with gelatine. This means that the powder ‘crumbs’ are coated with gelatine so that the vitamin A does not break down. It is a pity that the vitamin A is contaminated by the coating with gelatine. It is also a pity that our production, although we only want to produce vegan products, did not point this out. But as I already said, this topic is not yet so present when it comes to vegan (especially in the animal food sector), and the fact that gelatine is an animal component and therefore has no place in vegan products is also not yet so clear to some people.
But this is where the odyssey really began. A vegan vitamin A had to be found. This journey turned out to be quite difficult and I was afraid of not finding a solution. Knowingly using a non-vegan vitamin A was not an option for me. But we couldn’t leave it out, because we offer Greta and Pauline as complete foods and they have to contain everything a dog needs, including an adequate amount of vitamin A. V-Complete also contains vitamin A. This made it even more difficult.
I had the idea to use a liquid vitamin A, as these are partly not stabilised with gelatine. But that would not have been an option for V-Complete. For a short time I thought about providing vitamin A separately in a bottle as a second component of V-Complete. But that would have been rather complicated to use. Furthermore, additional costs would then have been caused by further packaging, etc, etc.
Then I thought of beta carotene. Dogs are able to convert this into vitamin A. Yay, that would be a possibility to add beta carotene instead of vitamin A. So I talked to our consultant vet who confirmed this. Finally, a solution.
Unfortunately, she approached me a few days later and told me that the beta carotene was also stabilised with gelatine. And there it had gone, the solution. At least this time we received the information about the gelatine coating in time.
I had no choice but to write directly to countless suppliers of vitamins and ask whether they stock a vegan vitamin A. I received just as many rejections. But at least it put the issue on the agenda of many people. They all know now that vitamin A is not animal-free by default. What a nerve-wracking time. But I have to say that giving up is not one of my weaknesses, but confidence is one of my strengths, even if I have to keep finding it again and again. So I didn’t give up. And I am glad, because I have actually found a supplier who can offer me the vegan vitamin A in powder form.
Unfortunately, as with vegan vitamin D, this comes at an additional cost. For one thing, the product itself is more expensive and then I have to buy a larger quantity, which we can’t currently consume so quickly (there is a best before date). But it’s worth it to me. That’s why I’m a vegan entrepreneur, because it’s important to me that everything is vegan. And that I can educate people about where animal suffering is hidden. That is what I see as my task. And I know what I’m doing it for. Because love of animals doesn’t end with dogs.
So I’m pleased to say that we now have vegan vitamin A in all our products with added vitamin A. If you want to know whether vegan vitamin A is included in products, you should ask the manufacturer directly. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of unawareness (see myself) and you can actively contribute to enlightenment.
Yours Leni Lecker
Animals Say Yeah!