Veterinarian Publishes Study on Vegan Dogs

Concerns about animal welfare, degenerative health conditions or environmental degradation lead lots of pup parents to search for alternatives to a traditional meat-based diet for their dog. With so many conflicting opinions on the internet about the nutritional requirements for companion animals, it can definitely be a challenge to choose the optimal diet for your pooch.

Vegan veterinarian Dr. Andrew Knight recently published a paper in Animals that reviews four studies that investigated the nutritional adequacy of vegetarian diets for cats and dogs. This paper, "Vegetarian versus Meat-Based Diets for Companion Animals," also delves into the health status of vegetarian, carnivorous, and omnivorous diets based on survey results from 12 pet food companies detailed in the most recent study.

"A significant and growing body of population studies and cases have indicated that cats and dogs maintained on vegetarian diets may be healthy—including those exercising at the highest levels—and indeed may experience a range of health benefits. Vegetarian animals also experience a range of health problems, but these problems are also prevalent in companion animals maintained on meat-based diets. Finally, pet owners should be aware that a significant body of additional studies have demonstrated health problems in domesticated animals maintained on various meat-based diets."

Dr. Knight concludes that both cats and dogs can thrive on vegetarian diets, given that these diets are nutritionally complete and reasonable balanced. This finding is in line with a growing body of evidence that meatless diets can be not only adequate, but beneficial for companion animals when compared to traditional meat-based foods.

Read the full study here.

Dr. Knight is Professor of Animal Welfare and Ethics, and Director of the Centre for Animal Welfare, at the University of Winchester. He has over 65 academic publications and a series of youtube videos on animal issues. Read more about Dr. Knight on our Veterinarians page here.

 

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