WINCHESTER, UK — Forget giving the dog a bone, pet dogs would be much healthier to stick to one vegan diet, according to a new study.
Results of a survey of more than 2,500 dog owners examining the links between dog diets and their well-being suggest that ‘nutritionally sound’ vegan diets may be healthier and less dangerous than diets. conventional or made with raw meat.
Researchers say many factors can influence dog owners to choose unconventional diets for their pets, including concerns about the environment, the treatment of animals used as food, and the health of their pets. However, studies on the health effects of conventional versus unconventional pet diets have been limited so far.
To help clarify the potential health effects of different dog diets, Professor Andrew Knight and colleagues analyzed survey data from caretakers of 2,536 dogs fed conventional meat, raw meat or a vegan diet. The survey included questions about dog health, including number of vet visits, medication use, and dog-specific health conditions.
Professor Knight says the results suggest that, overall, dogs on a conventional diet are less healthy than raw meat or vegan diets. However, dogs that ate a raw meat diet seemed to be even healthier than those that ate a vegan diet.
Is it the owner’s diet or habits?
Despite these findings, the researchers noted several factors that prevent concluding that raw meat diets are definitely healthier. For example, the dogs in the study on the raw meat diets were significantly younger than the dogs on the vegan diets, which could help explain why they appeared to be healthier overall.
Dogs on a raw meat diet were also less likely to go to the vet. The team adds that while this could be a sign of better health, previous research indicates that dog owners who follow a raw meat diet are less likely to seek veterinary advice. Professor Knight, veterinary professor of animal welfare at the University of Winchester, says more research is needed to confirm whether a raw meat or vegan diet leads to better health in dogs.
The research team suggests that large-scale studies in dogs, kept on different diets, that use data such as veterinary clinical exam results and veterinary medical histories, may yield results with greater reliability. .
Previous studies have found links between raw meat diets for dogs and increased risk of pathogens and nutritional deficiencies. In light of new and previous findings, researchers suggest that a nutritionally sound vegan diet may in fact be the healthiest and least dangerous choice for dogs.
“We believe that our study involving 2,536 dogs is by far the largest published study to date exploring the health outcomes of dogs fed vegan and meat-based diets. He analyzed a range of objective data, as well as owner opinions and reported veterinary health ratings. It found that the healthiest and least dangerous food choices for dogs are nutritionally sound vegan diets,” the study authors conclude in a statement. Press release.
The results appear in the journal PLOS A.
Stephen Beech, editor of the South West News Service, contributed to this report.