Vet Reveals Why Feeding Your Dog A Plant-Based Diet Could Transform Their Health
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: Pexels
At the start of Veganuary this year, some dog owners were left deliberating whether it would be healthy for their pet pooches to join in.
The topic of dogs eating vegan or plant-based diets like their owners has been an area one contention for many years, especially since vegan diets have grown in popularity in recent years.
As people who have survived Veganuary are now considering whether to continue with their new diets next month, vet Dr. Guy Sandelowsky (MRCVS), registered Vet and Co-Founder of Omni.Pet, has revealed whether dogs can also eat plant-based food instead of meat.
It's "perfectly legal" to feed a dog a plant-based diet as long as it meets the regulations set by the UK's Animal Welfare Act which states owners must give their pets a "suitable diet".
Dr Sandelowsky said: "It is perfectly legal to feed dogs a plant-based diet, so long as it's formulated correctly to ensure it delivers the proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals that dogs require.
"Current UK laws state that pets must be given a 'suitable diet', so as a plant-based diet can still provide dogs with the necessary nutrients, it is in no way illegal."
Dr. Sandelowsky says that a plant-based diet for dogs can have lots of health benefits. “It’s well known in humans to watch the amount of processed meat we eat as it can negatively affect our health with problems like obesity and cancer, but for our four-legged friends we often don’t do the same.
"Lots of dog parents who have switched their dogs to a plant-based diet tell me that they see huge improvements in their dogs' health and wellbeing. They remark on increased energy levels, shinier coats and better stools."
Owners could consider switching their dog to a plant-based diet if their dog is suffering from persistent health issues that may be related to the animal proteins in their diet. “We see lots of dogs in the clinic with itchy skin or loose stools related to allergies and sensitivities. For any such change though, have a chat with your vet who will have access to your dog’s full clinical history.”
And Dr. Sandelowsky urges any dog parent to seek specialist advice before switching their dog’s to a plant-based diet. “A plant-based diet doesn’t mean living off lettuce and tomatoes,” he warns.
“Dog parents should look into replacing their old dog food with a well balanced plant-based diet, that meets FEDIAF guidelines for a nutritionally complete food and is cooked in a way that it is digestible for dogs.
“With any change in diet, meat or plant based, it's really important to introduce the new food gradually over the course of at least one to two weeks.
“Dogs' tummies need time to get used to the new grub you are offering them and it's perfectly normal to see some transient changes in their toileting patterns whilst they adapt.
“These should settle once they are fully transitioned onto their new diet.”
“Even if you don't feel ready to go fully plant-based yet, maybe try going flexitarian and switching out a meat-based meal a day for a plant-based one, every little bit helps.”