According to a new research study, getting your pup to go off meats wouldn’t be such a bad thing. We explore the benefits.
What does the study suggest about the health of vegan dogs?
A study published in the PLOS ONE journey involved 2,609 dog guardians in the United Kingdom tracking their pup’s diet and health for the span of a year. Half of the sample size were dogs that ate conventional meat-based diets, while a third ate raw meats and 13% were vegans. The aspects assessed were frequency of visits to the vet, how often the pup felt ill, etc.
The results of the study were as follows:
- A third of the vegan dogs needed non-routine medication
- Almost half of the dogs on conventional diets needed medication outside of the usual doses for the prevention of pests and parasites
- Dogs on vegan diets needed less frequent trips to the vet
- 14% of the dogs who fed on conventional diets had more than four trips to the vet in a year
- 36% of vegan dogs had health disorders
- 49% of dogs who ate conventional diets had these disorders
- 43% of dogs on raw diets had health disorders
Why is a vegan dog healthier?
A possible reason could be that meats that are given to the canines often have bacteria and parasites, especially in the case of dogs that feed on raw meats. This would lead to the canine facing health issues, and thus having to frequent the vet. Andrew Knight, lead author of the study concluded saying “We have sufficient confidence scientifically, that dogs can be healthy (and indeed, thrive), on nutritionally sound vegan diets.”
However, the research does have some constraints which are causing speculation as to what diet is the perfect one. One of the limitations is that it was a survey and not a study. This essentially means that the dogs were not in a controlled laboratory setting. Thus, apart from the usual diets that they were fed, there was bound to be some snacking and this could impact results. This could also be seen as a boon though. Since the survey was conducted in normal dogs who were not in controlled conditions, should more pet owners wish to try and test the theory out, the results have a very high chance of mimicking those that were seen.
“Our results show the outcomes that can be expected, when normal pet guardians feed vegan or meat-based diets to dogs, in normal homes,” Knight says and also adds that the “broad range of objective data” makes it reliable.
This being said, you may want to start looking out for vegan alternatives for your pup. How do you do this? It isn’t as simple as feeding it the same things that you’d eat if you were on a vegan diet.
How to get your dog to go vegan?
There are companies that are into the production of vegan food for dogs. The meals are nutritious, ensure that they meet the pup’s requirements, and are also designed keeping the canine’s requirements in mind. The reason home vegan food wouldn't be a great alternative is that the calorific values of the food wouldn’t match that which your pet needs. So the next thing you do is to get your hands on vegan food curated especially for dogs.
However, Knight believes that it all depends upon pet owners and their preferences. While some are inclining toward vegan diets in an attempt to save the planet, there are those that believe that their pets need essential nutrients that can only be gotten from meat. Chyrle Bonk, a veterinarian said in an article to Inverse “The main concern for any dog diet is that it is complete and balanced. This goes for commercial dog foods, homemade diets, raw diets, and vegetarian or vegan diets. Any homemade, raw, or vegan diet is going to take considerable supplementation with vitamins, minerals, etc, so being sure that these are high quality and digestible is a must.”
What to keep in mind if you are getting your pup to go vegan?
While canines could benefit from a diet filled with veggies, and greens, there are some cases in which this wouldn’t be recommended. Pups who are still in their growing years, pregnant dogs, etc. have nutritional needs that cannot be met with a vegan diet and for them, meats are required. Also, these might not be able to digest the tough fibre content that plant-based diets have.
Before you switch your dog over to the vegan side it would be a great idea to run this past the vet and understand how it would benefit your pet, and if there would be any concerns.