Veg*n Dog Health
This study of 300 vegetarian companion dogs found that in general, vegetarian and vegan dogs are healthier than their non-vegetarian counterparts, though the vegetarian diet can lead to other health problems, which could likely be alleviated with the addition of digestive enzymes.
Controversy concerning the ability of dogs to subsist on a vegetarian or vegan diet has been discussed at length in the media, though studies addressing the issue are rare. This study of 300 companion dogs on a vegetarian diet was undertaken to determine the health effects of a vegetarian diet. (It should be noted, however, that this study did not include a control group of dogs on a traditional meat-based diet.) Responses to the survey came from 33 states and Canada. Of the 300 dogs involved, 158 (53%) were female and 142 (47%) male. Most dogs were spayed or neutered (266, or 89%), and, of those who were not, 22 were male and 12 female. Dogs ranged in age from young puppies to 19 years old, Based on the statistics and patterns of this study, the evidence suggests that [excerpted from study]:
- The longer a dog remains on a vegetarian or vegan diet, the greater the likelihood of overall good to excellent health.
- The longer a dog remains on a vegetarian or vegan diet, the less likely he or she is to get infections, cancer, and hypothyroidism.
- A vegetarian diet may increase the alkalinity of a dog’s urine, promoting susceptibility to urinary tract infections, which can be prevented using cranberry capsules.
- The longer a dog remains on a vegetarian or vegan diet without supplementation of L-carnitine or taurine, the greater the likelihood is that he or she could come down with dilated cardiomyopathy.
- Veganism is more beneficial than vegetarianism
- Dogs without soy foods in their diet appear to be in better health than those who eat soy.
- Nutritional yeast and garlic appear to be beneficial to overall health and to coat condition.