LONDON, April 20 — Are vegan dogs healthier than their carnivorous counterparts? To find out, British researchers studied the health of 2,536 dogs for one year. 

According to a study conducted in the UK, dogs fed a vegan diet could be less likely to get sick than their meat-fed counterparts. This is good news for vegan owners who share a diet with their dogs.

The theory that eating vegetarian is better for your health is starting to gain ground, supported by a number of recent scientific studies that largely come to the same conclusion. So if that’s true for humans, could the same apply to their four-legged friends, dogs?

That’s what scientists from the University of Winchester have been trying to find out. To find out if vegan dogs were healthier than their carnivorous counterparts, the authors of the study, published in Plos One, surveyed the owners of 2,536 dogs. Volunteers were asked to fill out questionnaires to provide information about their dogs’ diet and health status.

Over a one-year period, the researchers analysed this information, including the number of visits to the veterinarian and the use of medication, for example. Of the dogs included in the study, slightly more than half ate a conventional meat diet, a third followed a raw meat diet and 13 per cent ate only plant-based products.

Overall, the study found that dogs on a meat-free diet were four times less likely to visit the veterinarian than those on a more conventional diet.

Similarly, the percentage of dogs that experienced health problems during the year was 49 per cent for dogs on a conventional diet, compared to 36 per cent for ‘vegan’ canines. Dogs that were more accustomed to eating raw meat also appeared to be healthier, although this may be due to the fact that the animals in question were on average one year younger. 

“Significant evidence indicates that raw meat diets are often associated with dietary hazards, including nutritional deficiencies and imbalances, and pathogens,” the study authors write. 

“Accordingly, the pooled evidence to date indicates that the healthiest and least hazardous dietary choices for dogs are nutritionally sound vegan diets,” the researchers conclude. — ETX Studio