Dogs Thrive on Vegan Diets, Demonstrates the Most Comprehensive Study So Far

WINCHESTER, UK / ACCESSWIRE / April 23, 2024 / The longest, most comprehensive peer-reviewed study so far has demonstrated that dogs fed nutritionally-sound vegan diets maintain health outcomes as well as dogs fed meat. The study, published in leading scientific journal PLOS ONE, comprehensively assessed the health of 15 dogs by analysing blood cells and biochemistry, blood nutrient levels, urine, veterinary clinical parameters, and monthly pet owner questionnaires. The dogs were fed solely vegan diets based on pea protein for an entire year – just under one tenth of an average dog lifespan, or around seven human years.

Dr. Linde with 'Rylee'
Dr. Linde with ‘Rylee’

Overweight or obese dogs lost weight, whilst the remainder maintained normal weight. No clinically significant changes occurred within blood and urine. Blood levels of amino acids and vitamins were all generally maintained.

In a few cases, previous deficiencies following a meat-based diet either improved or disappeared, including L-taurine and L-carnitine (important for cardiac health), vitamin D (indispensable for immunity and bone health), and folate (required to produce red blood cells).

The study was particularly interesting, given recent suggestions that peas might contribute to heart disease in dogs in the US. Although no credible evidence has been found, such concerns have persisted in some quarters. In the current study, dogs were fed pea-based vegan pet food, for one year. Blood markers of cardiac health were assessed, with no signs of heart disease found. Indeed, in some cases indicators of cardiac health improved.

Stated lead researcher, veterinarian Dr. Annika Linde from the Western University of Health Sciences near Los Angeles says, “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.”

Study co-author Dr. Melgarejo highlighted the potential environmental benefits of such diets, “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 published several of the key studies in this field, including very large-scale studies showing that both dogs and cats normally achieve equivalent or superior health outcomes, when fed nutritionally-sound vegan diets. He also analysed the environmental benefits of vegan pet diets in a major recent study. He stated that “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.”

Contact Information:

Andrew Knight
Veterinary Professor of Animal Welfare

SOURCE: Representing Animals Foundation

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