Vegan diet for dogs linked to better health, new study finds

A well-balanced vegan diet may be healthier and less dangerous for dogs than conventional or raw-meat diets, according to a new study published in a scientific journal PLOS A. The study found that dogs fed a vegan diet showed fewer signs of poor health, such as common illnesses, requiring fewer visits to the vet.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Winchester in the UK to help clarify the potential health effects of different dog diets, as research in this area is currently limited. For the study, researchers analyzed survey data from caretakers of 2,536 dogs fed either 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.

Are vegan dogs healthier?

Statistical analysis of study The results suggest that, overall, dogs on a conventional diet are less healthy than dogs on a raw meat or vegan diet. In the study, nearly half of the dogs fed a conventional omnivorous diet — based on meat, grains and some vegetables — needed medications considered non-common, while only a third of vegan dogs needed them. need.

In the end, vegan dogs came out on top in terms of health, with only 36% reported problems, while 49% of dogs on a conventional diet and 43% of those on a raw meat diet had problems. health disorders.

Only 9% of dogs on a vegan diet and 8% of dogs eating raw meat required four or more doctor visits, compared to 17% of dogs on a conventional diet. The researchers noted that the canines that ate the raw meat diet came in just ahead of the vegan group in some respects, but were also younger on average, which may explain why they appeared healthier. The researchers further pointed out that previous studies have shown that raw meat diets have an increased risk of harmful pathogens and nutritional deficiencies.

The researchers suggest that large-scale, cross-sectional and longitudinal studies in dogs, maintained on different diets, may yield results of greater reliability. However, in light of new and previous findings, researchers suggest that a nutritionally sound vegan diet may actually 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,” the researchers said in a statement. . “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.


Conventional pet foods are often comprised of substandard meat that poses health threats due to bacterial contaminants, the presence of antibiotics, and the potential to spread zoonotic diseases. Last year, Bravo Packing, Inc., a pet food manufacturer based in New Jersey, NY, recalled its Performance Dog frozen raw pet food products and Ground Beef, as they were found to be contaminated with salmonella and listeria monocytogenes. This decision came after subsequent investigations by the United States Food and Drug Administration. Additionally, its exotic animal horse meat product was contaminated with the drugs pentobarbital and phenytoin in 2016.

Replace meat in pet food

In recent years, new dog food brands have emerged offering high quality vegan food options for pets. Last year, Californian startup Wild Earth secured a $23 million investment led by shark tankof Mark Cuban, vegan actor Paul Welsey and a handful of investment firms. Wild Earth is on a mission to create better pet foods that don’t include slaughtered animals, are healthier for pets, and leave a lighter environmental footprint.

In 2019, Wild Earth launched a unique dog treat made with cultured koji, a type of mushroom it grows in the lab using a proprietary process that contains more protein than steak. The company is also developing cell-based pet foods and aims to bring them to market this year. In addition to better health outcomes, replacing meat in pet foods with cell- and plant-based alternatives will result in environmental savings, dramatically reducing the 64 million tons of carbon pollution produced by the pet food industry every year.


Luckily, Wild Earth isn’t the only startup creating vegan alternatives for pets. Another startup, Because Animals, has unveiled its first cell-based product: a mouse meat biscuit treat for cats. The startup has been working to perfect the cell-based product since 2016 and was able to eliminate fetal bovine serum (harvested from pregnant cows) as the growth medium for its mouse meat to create an appropriate source of protein for cats. , which are obligate carnivores. , without hurting other animals.

To learn more about vegan dogs, read:
Clif Bar just created Meatless Jerky. But it’s for your dog.
China now classifies dogs as ‘companions’, not ‘livestock’
This luxury clothing store is 100% vegan. And 100% for dogs

Get FREE vegan recipes delivered to your inbox by joining our award-winning VegNews recipe club.