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Prof Andrew Knight and colleagues (Huang E, Rai N, Brown H) published a groundbreaking research paper on the 13th April 2022 that stated from the findings of 2639 dogs, that “the pooled evidence to date indicates that the healthiest and least hazardous dietary choices for dogs, are nutritionally sound vegan diets.”

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Their intense and dedicated study involved collecting data on 2536 dogs fed a conventional meat (1370 – 54%), raw meat (830 – 33%) or vegan (336 – 13%) diet for at least one year. They 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
  • predicted veterinary assessment of health status
  • percentage of unwell dogs
  • 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.

Accordingly, the pooled evidence to date indicates that the healthiest and least hazardous dietary choices for dogs, are nutritionally sound vegan diets.

(Quoted from The Guardian April 22)  “Our study is by far the largest study published to date,” said Prof Andrew Knight, at the University of Winchester, UK. “It revealed that the healthiest and least hazardous dietary choices for dogs are nutritionally sound vegan diets.”

“The raw meat diet appeared to have marginally better health outcomes,” he said. “But those dogs were significantly younger, which gives them a health advantage. A substantial body of prior studies have also shown that raw meat diets are much more contaminated with pathogenic bacteria and parasites.”

The study, published in the journal Plos One, analysed surveys completed by 2,536 dog owners about a single animal. Just over half ate conventional meat-based diets, a third were fed raw meat and 13% had vegan diets.

Among the findings were that 17% of dogs on conventional diets had four or more visits to the vet over the course of a year, compared with 9% for those on vegan diets and 8% for those on raw meat diets. The percentage of dogs reported to have suffered from health disorders was 49% for the conventional diet, 43% for the raw meat diet and 36% for the vegan diet.

Survey-based studies cannot reveal the reasons for their results but Knight suggested weight problems might be an important factor: “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.”

“We also know the health hazards associated with overconsumption of meat and dairy for people and it’s often the same ingredients,” he said, although in some countries pet food can contain meat deemed not fit for human consumption.

Further research is needed to confirm the findings. “The key limitation of our study is that we didn’t have a population of animals locked up in a research facility and fed one specific diet without any alteration,” Knight said. “We studied what real dogs in normal homes ate and their health outcomes. It gives us a good indication as to what the outcomes are for dogs in the real world.” (see our study done on our own dogs in the safety of their homes!)

He added: “When considering health outcomes in conjunction with dietary hazards, the pooled evidence to date from our study, and others in this field, indicates that the healthiest and least hazardous dietary choices for dogs, among conventional, raw meat and vegan diets, are nutritionally sound vegan diets.

“Regardless of ingredients used, diets should always be formulated to be nutritionally complete and balanced, without which adverse health effects may eventually be expected to occur.”

 

heartSee our published proof of UK based case studies and listen to the words of so many pet guardians who have transitioned their dogs to a vegan diet and the lifechanging results they have noticed –

Telegraph article April 22 vegan dog food benefits Prof Andrew Knight
just be kind vegan dogs
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