New Research Increases Confidence in the Benefits of Vegan Diets for Dogs

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND / ACCESSWIRE / May 15, 2024 / A new study has increased confidence in the apparent benefits of vegan diets for dogs. The study reanalysed data within a key 2022 study of 2,536 dogs – the largest published study within this field. That study concluded that the healthiest and least hazardous dog foods were nutritionally-sound vegan diets. However, owner opinions of health were included, which may not always be reliable. For example, owners committed to feeding vegan or meat-based diets might sometimes fail to recognise or report subsequent health problems.

The new study used additional statistical methods, including machine learning, to analyse owner opinions of health. It found these were minimally affected when vegan diets were fed. Stated Prof. Andrew Knight – lead author of the original study, “I was relieved to see confirmation that feeding vegan diets had minimal impact on owner opinions about health. This increases my confidence in the reliability of the owner opinions we used.”

The new study focused specifically on subjective owner opinions of health, in contrast to the original study which examined seven general indicators of illness, including more objective data such as the frequency of medication use, therapeutic diet use, and veterinary visits. The original study also analysed the reported assessments of veterinarians concerning dog health, as well the prevalence of 22 of the most common health disorders in dogs. Stated Knight, “The large number of health parameters we studied, and the very large number of dogs included, provide a high degree of confidence in the results.”

By May 2024 there were 10 studies in dogs, and three in cats, demonstrating equivalent or superior health outcomes when vegan diets are fed, as well as one systematic review covering both species. In April 2024, the longest, most comprehensive peer-reviewed study demonstrated that dogs fed nutritionally-sound vegan diets maintained health outcomes as well as those fed meat. The study comprehensively analysed blood cells and biochemistry, blood nutrient levels, urine, veterinary clinical parameters, and monthly pet owner questionnaires. It studied 15 dogs fed solely vegan diets for an entire year – just under one tenth of an average dog lifespan, or around seven human years. Another 2022 study demonstrated that 1,052 dogs fed vegan diets lived 1.5 years longer, on average, than dogs fed meat. Stated Prof. Knight, “This equates to around an extra decade of life for a human. Additionally, dogs fed vegan diets appear less impacted by certain health problems that impair quality of life. However, it is essential that any diets fed be nutritionally-sound.”

Prof. Knight also analysed the environmental benefits of vegan pet diets in a major recent study. This demonstrated that if all the world’s pet dogs went vegan, more greenhouse gases than those emitted by the UK would be saved. Knight stated that “Climate change is becoming a major threat to life on Earth. With the livestock sector a leading cause, substantial dietary change is now essential, and that includes pet diets.”

Contact Information

Andrew Knight
Veterinary Professor of Animal Welfare
andrew.knight@winchester.ac.uk

SOURCE: Prof. Andrew Knight

View the original press release on newswire.com.