Dogs are successors of wolves. Does this fact mean that these animals are carnivores? As per a recent study, meat may not have to be part of a dog’s diet. This means dogs may have vegan meat without any major health issues.
Vegan diets are becoming popular among people. With pet owners turning to completely plant-based foods, they are also feeding their dogs with these products. In a recent PLoS ONE survey, 27% of vegans have already placed their dogs on this diet while 35% of parents are keen on doing it in the future.
The causes for this interest are likely to be identical to the factors that attract individuals to vegan diets. Still, many survey participants who feed meat to their pet dogs are concerned about their welfare. A different PLoS ONE study discovered that feeding meat to dogs and cats is responsible for 25% to 30% of the impact that meat consumption has on the environment.
All of the above-mentioned facts make people consider the following things.
- Whether feeding dogs vegan food will reduce meat consumption’s environmental impact, and;
- Whether dogs can survive just with completely plant-based products.
As per experts, dogs can continue to function by having these food items. Keep reading to know more about this matter.
Dissecting The ‘Dogs Are Carnivorous Animals’ Argument
Just ask almost every veterinarian whether it is possible to feed dogs only plant foods, and they will say no. They base this answer on the notion that dogs are carnivorous pets. This means that even if they have plant foods, dogs are always likely to hunt for a rodent. That dogs are carnivorous animals appears to be a sound argument, but the recent research demonstrates that it is not right.
You may term dogs carnivores, but there is an issue with this notion. Take pandas for instance. They can also go after a rodent for food, but they have plant foods most of the time. Thus, pandas are herbivorous. Dogs lack the carnivorous traits that cats have, so they are omnivorous animals. Therefore, they should belong to the category of omnivores, just like most human beings in the world.
Dogs can break down carotene into retinol, transform linoleic acid into arachidonic acid, and digest starch. The takeaway from all of these is that dogs need not have more meat than people for enough protein. Dogs can be regarded as omnivorous pets, so they could survive with meat or without it if they have vital nutrients in proper quantities.
How A Diet Based On Plants Is Potentially Beneficial To Dogs?
There is not enough research on dogs and the advantages of plant foods. Anyhow, drawing certain conclusions for these animals from human research about plant foods is logical as both are similar species.
Take canine cancer for instance. Millions of dogs develop cancer each year, and it is the main reason for the demise of these animals. Research has associated animal consumption of individuals with greater occurrences of cancer. This is likely to apply to the animals as people put several dogs on diets high in meat.
Are your dogs placed higher on the so-called ‘food chain’? If yes, they are likely to have more toxic substances from food items. These toxins can build up in their body, which is a phenomenon known as ‘bioaccumulation’. Several veterinarians regard it as the main thing that contributes to chronic canine health issues, including cancer.
There is no longevity study about dogs that consume plant foods. On the other hand, experts regard people’s plant-based eating patterns as the main contributor to them being healthy and long-living. This would make sense if you consider the fact that people living in the 5 Blue Zones in the world are healthier and they live longer than others. It would make sense to have an identical correlation in the animals, given that these are developing more and more unprecedented lifestyle diseases.
In another recent study, many parents said that their dogs that consume plant foods have greater longevity. However, further studies are required for conclusions to be drawn. The great Formula One driver, Lewis Hamilton recently put his dog, Rocco, on an entire plant diet for its health. This move reduced Rocco’s inflammation, thereby making it more capable of playing and being with its sibling dog.
Is the Lewis Hamilton example a sign that herbivorous dogs can not just survive but also thrive? The response to this question will depend on: in what way you define the word ‘thriving’. Do you define the word as leading a healthy life, without any nutritional disorder for the period identical to dog eating foods that include animal products? If yes, a dog could thrive in this form of diet. Anyhow, think about speaking to a veterinarian when planning on feeding your pet dog a vegan meal every time.