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Can dogs be vegan? It’s a question many a plant-based pet-lover has asked at one time or another. And you may have heard that a vegan diet won’t provide your four-legged friend all the nutrition it needs for a long and healthy life. But, according to new scientific analysis published in the journal Plos One, that old assumption appears to be false.
“Our study is by far the largest study published to date,” Prof Andrew Knight, of the University of Winchester, UK, who led the study, told The Guardian. “It revealed that the healthiest and least hazardous dietary choices for dogs are nutritionally sound vegan diets.”
The study included 2,536 dogs, divided into groups eating vegan, raw meat, and conventional dog food diets. Over the course of the year-long experiment, the vegan dogs experienced health disorders 36 percent less frequently and required 47 percent fewer vet visits compared to those eating conventional, omnivorous dog food.
“One of the most common health problems for dogs is being overweight or obese and it is unfortunately common that when we do tests on the commercial meat-based diets, there are more calories.” Knight told The Guardian. “We also know the health hazards associated with overconsumption of meat and dairy for people and it’s often the same ingredients.”
In 2020, the global market for vegan pet food was approximately $9 billion and experts expect that will continue to grow.