Domestic dogs are currently classified as omnivores. This means they survive by eating meat and plant material. There has been a lot of debate on this classification in recent years, with some schools suggesting they are essentially 99% carnivore and others siding with an omnivore. Many texts consider the dog to have a predominantly carnivore GI tract which is slightly omnivorous. Many arguments have been put forward on both sides. Some of the carnivore arguments put forward by Prof.Dr.Ir. WH (Wouter) Hendriks from the Netherlands includes…
Dogs’ teeth are adapted to a carnivorous diet (for tearing muscle and crunching bone to extract marrow).
Many of their innate behaviours are carnivorous in nature. Consider digging, for example. Like wolves, dogs dig to hide parts of meals for future ingestion.
Dogs, like many large mammalian carnivores, are metabolically able to survive for long periods of time between meals.
Dogs have a lot of flexibility in metabolic pathways to help make up for a feast-or-famine lifestyle and a wide range of possible prey.
The British Veterinary Association a year ago today urged caution on feeding dogs solely on vegan diets.
Then in April last year, a study of 2600 dogs over 12 months was published, which concluded that….
Dogs fed conventional diets appeared to fare worse than those fed either of the other two diets [raw meat or vegan].
Dogs fed raw meat appeared to fare marginally better than those fed vegan diets [although raw meat-fed dogs were, on average younger].
Percentages of dogs in each dietary group considered to have suffered from health disorders were 49% (conventional meat), 43% (raw meat) and 36% (vegan).
Significant evidence indicates that raw meat diets are often associated with dietary hazards, including nutritional deficiencies and imbalances, and pathogens.
Accordingly, the pooled evidence to date indicates that the healthiest and least hazardous dietary choices for dogs, are nutritionally sound vegan diets.
There are some concerns for me with this conclusion. It was only a 12-month period. The failure to have age-matched groups is also a concern. The sample size was different for conventional (most), raw meat and vegan groups (least). The study was supported by ProVeg International….as the name suggests, they are pro-veg and not pro-meat. Picky I know, but they also only appear to have used univariate and not multivariate analysis.
And whilst vegan diets are presented as fully balanced, by definition, they cannot contain some feed ingredients such as creatine. Creatine only occurs in meat, not in plants. So unless synthetic (manufactured) creatine is added, a vegan diet won’t provide any creatine.
Do you feed a vegan diet to your dog?
Would you feed a vegan diet to your dog?