Yes, we truly believe that your dog could live a longer and better quality of life on a balanced plant based diet rather than a meat based diet. We know the value that we place on our pets in our home and our lives, and as vets and animal lovers, we want to help you have your pets with you for as long as possible.
Humans on a balanced vegan diet suffer with far less life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease, strokes, cancer and diabetes than those on a normal animal product based diet and thus live longer, healthier lives. Exactly the same is true for your pets as shown in the remarkable story below:
What a wonderful review we received today from devoted Sue the owner of 12 year old Golden Retriever Bea. Sue always wanted to try a plant-based diet on her dogs but was torn as she listened to people telling her how cruel she was being. Sue found the strength to trust her instincts and feed Bea a 100% plant-based homemade diet.
She bought our supplement and diligently made both our Umami recipe and Umameo treats feeding them exclusively to Bea. When we read this review this morning, we did confess to shedding a few happy tears, as the difference in Bea after only a month on a plant-based diet is remarkable –
I never thought I would be so pleased that Bea could get on the settee, she hadn’t done it for at least 12 months!She is now fully vegan but the only challenge I have now is portion sizes with food and treats as she loves both 😁Sue – Preston Lancashire
Why does a plant-based diet benefit elderly dogs?
1. Elderly dogs need high quality proteins that contain all 10 essential amino acids and the proteins must be readily available and not in excess as this can hasten ageing by being detrimental to their kidneys. A balanced plant-based diet made of lentils, peas, sweet potato and added Vegdog provide all the essential amino acids that dogs will selectively choose as they can smell the amino acids in the food. These proteins are gentler and kinder than meat protein.
2. Plant-based diets contain a number of anti-oxidants that protect the cells in the body. Marine phytoplankton is a particularly strong source of anti-oxidants and we add them to our Umameo treat recipe for this reason. Beta-carotene is also a natural anti-oxidant found in bright orange sweet potato and carrots.
3. Vitamin B12 is a water soluble vitamin and an essential nutrient that helps to keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy. This is particularly important in our elderly pets who may begin to show signs of cognitive dysfunction (mild dementia) or slight dragging of their hindlimbs with nerve dysfunction. We often advise Vitamin B12 supplementation but this vital vitamin is found naturally in nutritional yeast as well as in beans, sweet potatoes and cauliflower.
4. Lentils and peas contain not only proteins, but natural vitamins A , K and B and iron, potassium, magnesium and they are high in fibre. These are all essential natural nutrients that will benefit and enhance the quality of life of our elderly pets.
5. A healthy gut is key to your dog’s health, with 70% of the immune system found in the intestines. Plant-based diets made with natural prebiotics provide all the elements to feed your elderly dog’s immune system and produce a healthy and balanced gut microbiome. Added Vitamin D in the Vegdog supplement (made from plant-based lichen to satisfy the Vit D3 cholecalciferol requirement in pets) is also a vital immune-stimulant. Our elderly pets need this addition as they may not get out for long walks as much as they used to and be exposed to as much natural sunlight as usual.
6. We always advise that a homemade plant-based diet is fully mashed or blended so that any peas, beans or seeds are completely softened and broken down to allow for maximum absorption. Dogs do not chew their food as we do – they gulp their food, sometimes without even chewing (as you may notice with a highly palatable plant-based homemade diet), and if you do not mash the food, the nutrients will be unavailable to your dog and result in visible chickpeas, beans or seeds in their poo – unavailable to their body!
7. As a plant-based diet results in a more alkaline environment in the intestine of our dogs, and your older dogs also produce a more alkaline environment that could inhibit the adequate absorption of all the essential nutrients such as Zinc, Iron and Vitamins from the intestines; we recommend adding apple cider vinegar to the homemade food to acidify it slightly. We add wild organic bright red cranberry powder for this reason to our protein packs that make up our highly nutritious Umameo treats. Asparagus, peas, brown rice and lentils also help to naturally acidify the urine and microbiome environment.
8. With a plant-based diet, you can select kind and natural anti-inflammatories such as ginger (as added to our Umameo ginger treat recipe) or fresh herbs such a basil and origanum. The kindest anti-inflammatory is Algae oil Omega 3 capsules. These are the purest form of Omega 3 with none of the heavy metals as sometimes found in cod liver oil. These are so beneficial for ailing joints and nerves.
9. A plant-based diet contains no saturated fat that we find in high meat diets that are detrimental in humans to heart health and the same effect can be seen in our elderly dogs with underlying genetic heart conditions. Plant-based diets offer the best diets for heart health, especially if they are properly balanced with added taurine and L-carnitine for heart muscle function.
10. Cataracts or a dull cloudiness that forms over our elderly pets’ eyes is very common and affects their sight and quality of life (especially if their hearing begins failing too as is so commonly observed). Feeding a folate-rich diet such as bright green cooked kale can reverse the onset of cataracts quite dramatically.
11. Carrying extra weight as many of our very loved elderly dogs do, puts extra strain on their already painful joints as well as affecting their breathing, heart and energy levels and making them more predisposed to cancer. Plant-based diets and our Umameo treats for example are low in fats and high in fibre and you can visibly see the excess weight just drop off after just a few weeks on a healthier diet.
12. The kindest reason for choosing a plant-based balanced homemade diet for elderly pets as Sue chose for Bea, is that plant-based means no animal products at all that may contain added hormones, growth promoters or bacteria (as known to be found on raw meat). These ‘toxins’ would all need to be processed and removed in your dog’s liver and kidneys and so with nothing artificial but goodness from a plant-based diet, the results are remarkable as seen in Bea and her ability after only 1 month on her new healthy and delicious diet to climb onto her favourite comfortable spot.
One further inspiring example of a vegan dog is that of Bramble, a 25-year-old border collie whose plant-based diet of organic brown rice, red split lentils, vegetables, and some additional ingredients like yeast extract and herbs earned her a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest living dog in 2002.
Bramble’s owner is Anne Heritage – a devoted vegan and animal lover growing up in the North West of England in the 50’s. In her words she not only had Bramble, but “I’ve had seven dogs – three of them lived to 19-years-old, one lived to 20-years-old, and then Bramble lived to 25-years-old.”
As a vet, this is remarkable and can definitely be attributed to a life dedicated to feeding a healthy plant-based vegan diet as well as the freedom of exercise and kindness. We should all aim for this……and it IS achievable
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If you calculate the amount you currently spend on dog food and treats for your pet, we can assure you that you can afford it