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Vegan dogs fed ‘nutritionally-sound diets’ are as healthy as those fed meat, finds new study – Vegan Food and Living

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Vegan dogs who are fed nutritionally-sound diets are as healthy as those who are fed meat, according to the longest, most comprehensive peer-reviewed study on the subject so far.

According to the study,  published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, researchers assessed the health of 15 dogs using a number of metrics.

Among them, were blood cell analysis and biochemistry, blood nutrient levels, urine, and veterinary clinical parameters.

In addition, the dogs’ human companions filled in monthly ‘pet owner questionnaires’.

The dogs involved in the study were fed 100 per cent vegan diets, based on pea protein, for a year.

Researchers found a number of outcomes from the diet. Among them, overweight or obese dogs lost weight, whilst the remainder maintained normal weight.

No clinically significant changes occurred within the blood and urine of the vegan dogs, with levels of vitamins and amino acids generally maintained.

Furthermore, in some cases, dogs with deficiencies following their meat-based diets saw improvements in levels of L-taurine and L-carnitine, vitamin D, and folate.

Vegan dogs

According to lead researcher, veterinarian Dr Annika Linde from the Western University of Health Sciences: “Evolutionary adaptations have resulted in a digestive system that enables dogs to maintain health on nutritionally complete omnivorous diets, including those free of animal ingredients. 

“Our study offers new evidence on outcomes in clinically healthy dogs who thrive without consumption of animal-derived ingredients. Notably, foods produced independent of factory farming are also more sustainable and ethical.”

Meanwhile, study co-author Dr. Melgarejo added that feeding dog a vegan diet could benefit the environment, saying: “If dogs and cats in the U.S. were their own nation, they would rank fifth in global meat consumption, surpassed only by Russia, Brazil, USA, and China, according to the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.”

Veterinary Professor Andrew Knight has long researched and advocated for vegan diets for both cats and dogs, publishing studies that show companion animals can thrive on well-balanced vegan diets.

He has also noted the impact feeding dogs meat has on the planet.

According to the professor: “If all the world’s dogs went vegan, it would save more greenhouse gases than those emitted by the UK, land larger than Mexico, and 450 million additional people could be fed with food energy savings – more than the entire EU population. 

“With 13 studies now demonstrating good health outcomes achieved by nutritionally-sound vegan pet diets, and several others demonstrating major environmental benefits, a compelling case now exists for environmentally-friendly vegan pet diets.”

Still not convinced? Find out more about whether we should feed cats and dogs a vegan diet

Featured photo © malamooshi via Adobe Stock

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