Has a study found that a vegan diet might be healthier for dogs than meat-based diets?

According to a study published in April 2022, well-balanced vegan diets may be less dangerous and healthier for dogs than conventional meat or raw meat diets.

Pets are a multi-billion dollar industry. According to estimates published in 2018, there are 471 million pet dogs and 373 million pet cats worldwide, which puts the international value of pet food sales at almost 132 billion euros. . Such demand has a significant impact on the environment, particularly on the supply of animal and agricultural products that make up pet food. Pet food is also a lucrative market. In 2020, the vegan pet food market alone was worth $8.7 billion in the United States and was expected reach more than $15 billion over the next six years

Because pets and their nutrition are such an important part of the economy and its supply chain, researchers at the University of Winchester in the UK set out to find out which diets are best for animal health. of company. To determine the links between diet and health, the team announced an online survey via social media between May and December 2020 to determine the links between diet and health, and analyzed data from over 2.50 dogs that were included in the pet sitters’ survey responses.

Each dog had lived with its guardian for at least a year. About half were fed conventional meat-based diets, about a third raw meat, and 13% were fed a vegan diet. The survey included questions about the dog’s health, such as vet visits, medications and general health conditions, and consulted with the sitter and a veterinarian about his condition.

“We believe that our study of 2,536 dogs is by far the largest published study to date exploring the health outcomes of dogs fed vegan and meat-based diets,” the researchers wrote in a statement. Press release.

“He analyzed a range of objective data, as well as owner opinions and reported veterinary health assessments. He revealed that the healthiest and least dangerous food choices for dogs are nutritionally sound vegan diets.

The figures show the top three diets served to the 2,536 dogs included in the survey. PLOS A

Publish their work in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS A, the team found that, overall, dogs on a conventional meat diet were less healthy than those on a raw meat or vegan diet. Previously, it was thought that diets based on raw meat were linked to an increased risk of exposure to pathogens, while vegan diets could lead to nutritional deficiencies. But when the necessary hygienic and nutritional supplements were taken into consideration, both diets were found to be, on the whole, healthier and less dangerous for the canine consumer.

“In summary, when we consider health outcomes and dietary risks together, our results and those of other studies indicate that the healthiest and least dangerous food choices for dogs are nutritionally sound vegan diets. “, concluded the researchers.

Study limitations

However, several limitations to the study should be considered. On the one hand, it could be that dogs given a raw meat diet were not necessarily healthier than those given a conventional diet, but rather that their keepers were less likely to take their pets away. company to a veterinarian. Since frequency of vet visits was considered an indication of health, this internal bias may have skewed the results. Additionally, dogs fed raw meat tended to be younger than those fed other diets, which could further explain why they were rated healthier.

The study authors also did not take into account each dog’s sex or breed, a limitation that may have influenced the results given that some breeds are more prone to disease than others.

Let’s also look at the structure of the study itself. Participating sitters were asked to “consider the main ingredients of your pet’s normal diet”, which means that a pet may not have been fed exclusively the identified diet, and that treats or other dietary supplements were not excluded. It was also an opinion study in which respondents gave their opinion on a dog’s health in a non-standardized way. Also, because the survey was conducted online, it required respondents to have internet access and time to complete the survey, which may have excluded low-income pet sitters.

Finally, there is an unconscious bias inherent in the design of the study, which means that a given tutor might have expected a better health outcome based on the preferred diet, and that expectation might have influenced how which he answered to the survey question.

Although there is now scientific evidence to suggest that raw meat and vegan diets are better than conventional diets alone, the study authors said further research is needed to determine which of the two is associated with better health outcomes for dogs. Dog sitters should ensure that all aspects of their dog’s nutrition are met, regardless of primary food preference. Check pet food labels and consult with manufacturers to ensure healthy practices are in place to provide “nutritional health.”


Sources:

https://www.theinsightpartners.com, The Insight Partners. “The vegan pet food market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.7% to reach US$15,651.22 million from 2020 to 2028.” The Insight Partners, https://www.theinsightpartners.com/reports/vegan-pet-food-market. Accessed April 13, 2022.

“The vegan pet food market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.7% to reach US$15,651.22 million from 2020 to 2028.” The Insight Partners, https://www.theinsightpartners.com/reports/vegan-pet-food-market. Accessed April 13, 2022.

Knight, Andrew, et al. “Vegan vs Meat-Based Dog Foods: Caretakers Reported Health Indicators.” PLOS ONE, vol. 17, no. 4, April 2022, p. e0265662. PLoS Journals, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0265662.

“Vegan diets for dogs may be linked to better health and may be less dangerous than meat-based diets.” EurekAlert!, https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/948887. Accessed April 13, 2022.