Vegan dog food: is it really healthy and safe, as this new English study says?

Is Vegan Diet Suitable for Dogs? It has been discussed on several occasions but now a new peer-reviewed analysis involving 2,500 pets claims that it is not only adequate, but also healthy, if it is nutritionally correct (hence it is forbidden to do it yourself).

A new study, published Plos oneSuggests that Vegetarian food is healthy and safe For dogs compared to the traditional meat-based one. Pets that follow her visit her veterinarian less often and require less medication.

To confirm this, the study, conducted by a team from the University of Winchester in the United Kingdom, looked at food and health. More than 2500 dogs Within one year (through questionnaires completed by their owners). Of these, more than half followed a conventional meat-based diet, one-third were fed raw meat and 13% were fed vegetarian food.

It is not uncommon for some owners to give their dog a vegetarian diet. A recent survey conducted in the UK suggested that 1 in 4 owners who had a dog (including cats in the survey) bought vegan dog food at least once, and 45% of people who have a dog say they are interested in vegetarian food for your pet. Unless it is healthy and affordable.

But going back to the new study, animal welfare was assessed using 7 general health-related parameters, including the number of visits to the veterinarian and the presence of 22 common diseases. The purpose was to find out what their relationship was with the dog’s eating habits.

The results

The results of this study, which are small but the largest ever conducted on this subject, show A vegetarian diet is good as long as it is nutritiousAnd so not improvised (we add).

To give a few examples, researchers have found that about half of all dogs need medication to feed conventional food (albeit not regularly), but only one-third of “vegan” dogs do.

In addition, about 17 percent of dogs visit four or more veterinarians a year following a conventional diet, compared to 9 percent on vegetarian and 8 percent on raw meat foods.

Of the dogs that suffered from health problems during the year, 49% followed a conventional diet, 43% for a raw meat diet and 36% for a vegetarian diet.

However, studies have shown that some dogs that were fed raw meat were actually healthier than those who followed a vegetarian diet, but the authors argue that this may be because they are younger animals.

The study’s author, Professor Andrew Knight, said:

The raw meat diet has shown some good health results. But these dogs were significantly younger, which gives them health benefits. A significant portion of previous research has also shown that raw meat foods are much more contaminated by pathogenic bacteria and parasites.

So all dogs have to be vegan?

This study is undoubtedly interesting, But limited to a small sample of domestic dogs And it certainly cannot be complete in all specific situations of individual animals.

There is also an important issue to underline. Professor Knight himself suggested, Weight problems Often one of the main causes that leads to the development of dog disease (and not only):

One of the most common health problems for dogs is being overweight or obese and it is unfortunately common that when we examine meat based foods there are more calories.

Diet is of course essential but if we want to keep our dog healthy it is definitely not the only important thing to consider (walking for example is very important).

A proper lifestyle that prevents obesity in dogs is just as important Food. The latter It should always be evaluated with the help of an expertSo, rely on your trusted veterinarian too and above all if you want to change your dog’s diet. In this case, it may involve serious risks.

The study, as the author himself noted, has limitations and therefore requires further research to confirm the results. The biggest limitation is that pets and non-dogs fed a different and specific way were taken as a sample to evaluate the health effects of different foods.

Justin Sutton, president of the British Veterinary Association, said:

There is a lot of research going on into the vegetarian dog diet and this paper adds to the body of evidence supporting its benefits. However, there is currently a lack of hard data to map the health consequences of feeding a large number of dogs vegetarian food over many years, so we cannot wait to see further research into whether it can meet long-term dietary needs. Sound dog Although we do not recommend it, it is theoretically possible to feed a dog vegetarian food, but owners should consult an experienced veterinarian to avoid food shortages and related diseases.

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Source: Plus One / The Guardian

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