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It is usual for domesticated dogs to be fed conventional meat-based diets. However, a new study in the open-access journal PLOS ONE suggests that a vegan diet is associated with better health for your pet.
The study, which was participated in by more than 2,500 dog owners, aimed to explore the health outcomes of feeding different diets to dogs. Three main diets were given to the dogs during the research: half ate conventional meat, a third were fed raw meat, and 13 percent had a vegan diet.
“Our study is by far the largest study published to date,” said Prof. Andrew Knight, at the University of Winchester, UK, who led the study. “It revealed that the healthiest and least hazardous dietary choices for dogs are nutritionally sound vegan diets.”
The survey results revealed that dogs on traditional diets were less healthy in general than dogs on raw meat or vegan diets. The analysis of the study was based on the questions including the dogs’ health and medications, how often they visited the vet, and other specific health issues. Additionally, dog owners were asked to share their opinions on their dog’s health as well as what they thought of their veterinarian’s assessment.
Overall, half of the dogs who ate conventional meat diets needed more non-routine medication than those on vegan diets. Some of the dogs that were fed raw meat diets were marginally healthier than those on vegan diets. However, this may have been because they were on average a year younger.
Furthermore, Knight pointed out that obesity is one important factor to look at. Commercial meat-based diets have more calories and contribute to one of the most common health problems in dogs, which is being overweight.
It is important to consider your dog’s needs before going vegan, as it may not be suitable for them. Consult with your veterinarian first before applying this type of diet.