Feeding dogs a plant-based diet isn’t a new idea. After all, if major dog food brands a la Natural Balance are offering vegan formulas, clearly there’s something to be said for canines skipping out on meat, eggs, and dairy. Research, however, hasn’t caught up to what many dog owners already know … until now.
Dogg Canine Nutrition Company, based in British Columbia, just completed the world’s first-ever fresh, whole, plant-based, at-home canine feeding trial. As part of the program, 20 randomly selected dogs ate a vegan diet for 12 weeks. The awesome news: all of the pooches who completed the trial transitioned to their new diet without any issues, and many improved medically while on it.
While the company isn’t making any broad claims about the trial — since it’s just the first of many — the results point to a bright future for vegan canines.
“At this early stage and since this is only our first trial, we feel it would not be in integrity for Dogg to make any claims or statements to the general public regarding the efficacy of a 100% plant-based diet for dogs,” Dogg founder Laura Simonson tells Latest Vegan News. “However, we are very confident in our first formulation (which was developed with a Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionist) due to the results of the first trial, and from observing the dogs who have continued to thrive on the foods the past two to three months.”
More trials are in the works, after which they’ll publish the results.
“There’s no question; the next evolution of plant-based living is ‘positively’ going to the dogs,” adds Simonson. “You don’t have to be a futurist to see the massive trend toward sustainable agriculture and plant-based diets for humans. Therefore, in my opinion, it’s only natural for all the right reasons that we will extend our dietary habits to our dogs, since they’re considered non-obligate carnivores.
For anyone interested in the details, there are some case studies of the canine participants posted online.
“The most exciting improvements we saw were in those pets with food hypersensitivities problems demonstrated as either skin or gastrointestinal ailments,” said supervising veterinarian Dr. Gavin Myers, in a statement. “In small animal veterinary medicine this subset of patients account for a large majority of the cases we see everyday, therefore having an extra tool at our disposal to manage these animals is greatly welcomed.”
Considering how many dogs also suffer from chronic ailments common to humans — many of which can be prevented or reversed with a plant-based diet — there are lots of reasons for optimism about the health of our canine companions.
So far, Dogg’s foods are available only through its partner veterinarians and clinics in Vancouver. But there are other veg-friendly formulas out there for dog owners — and there’s always the option of making your own food. Simonson recommends the website BalanceIt.com for recipes and supplement info. In the future, Dogg will also publish its proven formulation, providing all of the ingredients, supplements and amounts for those who want to prepare the food themselves.