Vegan versus meat-based dog food: Guardian-reported indicators of health



Knight, Andrew, Huang, Eason, Rai, Nicholas and Brown, Hazel ORCID: 0000-0002-3327-3510
(2022) Vegan versus meat-based dog food: Guardian-reported indicators of health. PLOS ONE, 17 (4). e0265662 - e0265662.

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Abstract

<jats:p>Alternative pet foods may offer benefits concerning environmental sustainability and the welfare of animals processed into pet foods. However, some worry these may compromise the welfare of pets. We asked 2,639 dog guardians about one dog living with them, for at least one year. Among 2,596 involved in pet diet decision-making, pet health was a key factor when choosing diets. 2,536 provided information relating to a single dog, fed a conventional meat (1,370 = 54%), raw meat (830 = 33%) or vegan (336 = 13%) diet for at least one year. We examined seven general indicators of ill health: unusual numbers of veterinary visits, medication use, progression onto a therapeutic diet after initial maintenance on a vegan or meat-based diet, guardian opinion and predicted veterinary opinion of health status, percentage of unwell dogs and number of health disorders per unwell dog. Dogs fed conventional diets appeared to fare worse than those fed either of the other two diets. Dogs fed raw meat appeared to fare marginally better than those fed vegan diets. However, there were statistically significant differences in average ages. Dogs fed raw meat were younger, which has been demonstrated to be associated with improved health outcomes. Additionally, non-health related factors may have improved apparent outcomes for dogs fed raw meat, for three of seven general health indicators. We also considered the prevalence of 22 specific health disorders, based on predicted veterinary assessments. Percentages of dogs in each dietary group considered to have suffered from health disorders were 49% (conventional meat), 43% (raw meat) and 36% (vegan). Significant evidence indicates that raw meat diets are often associated with dietary hazards, including nutritional deficiencies and imbalances, and pathogens. Accordingly, the pooled evidence to date indicates that the healthiest and least hazardous dietary choices for dogs, are nutritionally sound vegan diets.</jats:p>

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Histories, Languages and Cultures
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2022 10:17
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2022 01:11
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0265662
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3153199