Vegetarian or vegan diets vs meat diets for dogs NEW STUDY
Is a vegan diet better than a conventional pet food for dogs?
By far the largest study of its kind published to date shows vegan diets for dogs may be linked with better health, and could be less hazardous, than meat-based diets. The study was published in peer-reviewed open access scientific journal PLOS ONE on 13th April. Professor Andrew Knight BVMS BSc PhD DipECAWBM SFHEA MANZCVS DipACAW PFHEA FRCVS and colleagues analysed survey data from guardians of 2,536 dogs fed either a conventional meat, raw meat, or vegan diet.
How can this possibly be?
Contrary to popular belief, a nutritionally balanced vegan diet can provide all the nutritional requirements for dogs set out by FEDIAF, the trade body of the European Pet Food Industry.
Is this finding unexpected?
In 2016, a scientific review showed there was a significant and growing body of population studies and case reports indicating that cats and dogs maintained on nutritionally complete vegetarian diets may be healthy — including those exercising at the highest levels — and, indeed, may experience a range of health benefits.
In 2021 a survey of pet food manufacturers producing 19 meat-based and 10 vegan, almost vegan or vegetarian pet foods was conducted. The study showed that most manufacturers had acceptable or superior standards at nearly all stages examined, throughout the design, manufacturing, transportation and storage phases, with plant-based diets slightly superior to meat-based diets overall.
When you consider how much processing happens to the majority of the meat (known as animal-by-products, or ABPs) that enters conventional pet food, it is very reasonable to ask the question ‘Can I be sure this is good for my dog?’
How can a dog possibly survive without meat?
Author of this new study Professor Andrew Knight is a strong advocate of the fundamental nutritional belief, shared by most experts that…
It is the nutrient that is important, not the source.
A dog’s body has a checklist of vital nutrients that it needs to take in through food in order to survive and thrive. As long as these nutrients are provided in the diet from high quality ingredients (i.e. these ingredients are digestible and the nutrients can be unlocked from them and absorbed into the body), it doesn’t matter if they came from meat or plant sources. For example: The amino acid arginine is still arginine whether it comes from turkey… or a soybean.
Dogs cannot survive and thrive eating only chicken and rice, nor can they survive and thrive eating only chickpeas and rice – neither provides all the nutrients set out by FEDIAF to comprise a nutritionally complete diet.
We formulate Noochy Poochy to comply with all FEDIAF nutritional guidelines, including the supplementation of 3 key amino acids – methionine, L-carnitine and taurine. With select organic ingredients, an Omega 6:3 ratio of 4:1 and a delicious all natural cheese and herb flavour from superfood ‘nooch’ with basil, marjoram and thyme, our vet-approved vegan dog food is the winner dinner for your dog.
Whatever our personal preferences or beliefs may be as owners, we all know that we have to find more sustainable ways to source protein for us and our increasing number of companion animals for the future of the planet. But this study stands as clear evidence that while feeding complete vegan diets to dogs helps safeguard the planet, it also appears to safeguard their health in comparison with conventional meat-based diets.