Can dogs be vegan? What vegan foods can dogs eat? These are just two of many questions dog owners are increasingly asking about their pets' diets.
Veganism has been on the rise over the past few years, with the demand for meat-free food increasing by 987% in 2017. It's something many people have tried, but would you put your pet on a plant-based diet?
In a new survey led by the veterinary college at the University of Guelph in Canada, they asked more than 3,670 dog and cat owners about their pets' eating habits and discovered that 35% would consider putting their animals on a vegan diet.
It also showed that 27% of vegan pet owners (who made up 6% of respondents) already have their pets on a plant-based diet.
Dr. Sarah Dodd, who headed up the study, says that she was surprised by how many people already had their dogs on a vegan diet.
"People have been hearing about how vegan diets are linked to lowered risks of cancer and other health benefits in humans. There is also growing concern about the environmental impact of animal agriculture," explained Sarah in the study.
"So, while only a small proportion of pet-owners are currently feeding plant-based diets to their pets, it is safe to say that interest in the diet is likely to grow."
The study also shows...
- 55% of pet owners explained that they would check with their local vet before changing their pets' diet
- Motivation to feed a plant-based diet was measured in terms of cost compared to what the pet owner currently paid for pet food
- Exclusive feeding of vegan food was reported by vegan owners and just one vegetarian
What vegan food can you feed your pet?
PETA have revealed that making vegan food for dogs is incredibly easy, as they are omnivorous and hearty eaters.
To help dogs with the adjustment of switching your pet to a vegan diet, start by gradually introducing vegetarian options first. Change the food you give them so that eventually there won't be any meat in their bowl at all.
For cats, PETA have suggested nutritional yeast and pieces of melon, while mashed chickpeas and veggie burgers are also popular choice. It might take a while for your pet to adapt to the changes if they are used to supermarket-bought foods, but slowly changing what you feed them will help them to adjust.
When it comes to feeding, ensure any vegetables are mashed up or put through a grater to ensure it's soft on their teeth and easy to eat.
Good foods to try include:
- Dark, leafy greens such as spinach and kale
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