For your health, don’t eat too much fat, too sweet, too salty… and too much meat. In recent years, the theory that vegetarian food is healthier has gained popularity. It has also been supported by several recent scientific studies that all come to the same conclusion. But if the question applies to humans, it can also arise for the most loyal of pets: the dog. English scientists at the University of Winchester have investigated whether vegan dogs may also be healthier than their predatory counterparts. And their findings are quite surprising.
To answer this question, the authors of the study published in Plos One surveyed the owners of 2,536 dogs. The volunteers were asked to complete questionnaires to provide information about the diet and health of their hairballs.
The researchers analyzed this information over a one-year period, notably taking into account the number of vet visits and any drug treatments administered to Médor. Of the dogs represented in the study, just over half ate meat, a third raw meat, and 13% ate only plant-based products.
Less meat, fewer visits to the vet
Overall, the study shows that dogs on a meatless diet are four times less likely than others to visit the vet compared to dogs on a more conventional diet.
By the same logic, the percentage of dogs that experienced health problems during the year rises to 49% for dogs on a classic diet, compared to 36% for “vegan” canines. Dogs that are more used to eating raw meat also seem healthier, although this is probably because the animals in question are on average a year younger.
“Significant evidence indicates that raw meat-based diets are often associated with nutritional risks, including nutrient deficiencies and imbalances, as well as pathogens”say the study authors.
“The pooled data to date indicates that the healthiest and least dangerous food choices for dogs are vegan diets”, the researchers conclude. Good news for vegan owners who apply the same diet to their hairballs, although this process still requires a vet’s supervision. We tell you more here.
(ETX Daily Up)