Researcher Pia-Gloria Semp examined the health of vegan dogs and cats over a period of two years to determine the nutritional suitability of plant-based diets. 220 pet owners and their companion animals participated in the study. The animals were assessed through blood tests and various physical examinations.
Semp took an in-depth look at the nutrients provided by each diet and compared these values to the blood test results in the participating dogs and cats. Diets included both home-cooked and commercial pet foods.
Given the literature to-date as well as her own results, Semp addressed various concerns such as protein adequacy and urine pH. "During clinical examination of participating cats and dogs, no abnormalities were detected that were obviously relatable to a vegan diet," she reports.
"Results of blood assessment showed no significant differences in all tested parameters in dogs compared to dogs that were fed a conventional diet."
Although significantly lower iron and B12 values were expected in the animals participating in the study, results showed no deviations from a conventional meat-based diet. The self-prepared diet used in the study was insufficient in some nutrients, but these issues can be easily corrected by altering the recipe.
"Rather than leaving pet owners to themselves and risking inadequate supply of nutrients, veterinarians can and should provide information on implementation of this diet, nutrient requirement and supplementation," Semp concludes. As pet parents increasingly question the moral implications of meat-based foods, vegan diets for companion animals are becoming increasingly popular. If nutritionally complete, these foods provide a balanced diet and assure a healthy lifestyle.
Read the full study here.
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Source: The Plant-Based Diet for Dogs