For the first time, a large-scale British study suggests that a diet based on vegetable proteins would have more benefits for canine health than a meat diet. Results that obviously require confirmation before rushing on veggie croquettes.
This is likely to ruffle the hair of more than one meat-lover. Information: dogs, put on a vegan diet (that is to say without animal products), would be in much better health than their co-religionists fed on cooked barbaque (among other croquettes and pâtés of pleasure ). Militant rantings? No: scientific (and serious) track from the first large-scale study on the subject. Researchers from the universities of Winchester (UK) and Griffith (Australia), noting the explosion in the number of dogs in the world (470 million) to be fed as well as the strong growth of the market for vegan food products for animals – 8 7 billion dollars in 2020 – in the very lucrative (and imaginative) “pet food” sector, have indeed wanted to assess the benefits or risks of this type of diet for canines. And contrary to what certain reservations in veterinary circles suggest, in particular the fear that such a defleshed menu imposed by humans will have harmful consequences for canine well-being, the conclusions of their research, published mid- April in Plos one – a peer-reviewed journal – suggest that a vegan diet would have real benefits for dogs.
Ultra-processed meat diets
Before reaching these results, Andrew Knight’s team asked more than 2,500 British owners to record for a year the eating habits of their furry companions, but also the number of visits to the vet, their minor problems health or the use of medication. On arrival, after analyzing the data collected throughout the year 2020, it turned out that the doggies fed “conventional meat” (54% of the panel) had more health problems than those stuffed with “meat raw” (33%) – they were also a year younger – or with vegetable proteins (13%). How to explain it? This is what scientists are unable to substantiate. A hypothesis, however: meat diets, from ultra-processed and caloric foods, lead to more overweight or obesity in the animals under scrutiny. But this is only a hypothesis that the study is not able to verify.
What change the diet of our best friend – an omnivorous species that has adapted to human food over millennia of domestication unlike the feline genus – overnight? Let’s not go to work so quickly, warn veterinarians. “There is a lot of work on this topic and this study provides new evidence of the benefits of a vegan diet for dogs, reacted, for example, Justine Shotton, the president of the British Veterinary Association, requested by the Guardian. However, the data are not robust enough to demonstrate the long-term consequences of such a diet on the health of a very large number of dogs. So more research is needed before this type of diet is required.” In any case, for owners who would consider storing their Australian Shepherd’s chicken nuggets, it is recommended to speak to a professional. And to always ensure sufficient intake of proteins and other nutrients necessary for the proper functioning of canine physiology. Their well-being is at stake.