Following the news this week that scientists claim to have found a vegan diet for dogs that’s “adequately nutritious”, lead nutritional advisor at ProDog Raw Alison Frost said:
“A three-week study, using only one breed of dog, and with no mention of raw feeding or any of the protein requirements and complete amino acids needed in a carnivore's diet, is not enough to measure the long-term effects a vegan diet has on dogs.
“Dogs are facultative carnivores, and while they can ‘ survive’ as vegan, they cannot thrive on a diet without meat. The long-term health effects of a solely-based vegan diet are not yet available, as this is a relatively new way of feeding.
"The physiology of a dog is designed to process meat and bone, not carbohydrates. Dogs do not need carbohydrates in their diet; they obtain their energy from protein and fat, found naturally and easily digested from quality meat. They have a short digestive tract, acidic stomach acid to effectively digest raw meat and bone, and deal with bacteria. Their jaws and teeth are designed to catch prey and tear off large chunks of meat, and they do not have the enzyme amylase in their saliva to break down plant matter like a herbivore.
"There's no issue with pet owners choosing to feed themselves a vegetarian or vegan diet, but not to their dogs. Our CEO, Heidi Maskelyene, is herself a vegetarian but set up ProDog Raw after losing her dogs young to health issues that could be linked to their high carbohydrate processed diet, and would never feed a vegetarian or vegan diet to her dogs.
"Longer term studies, like this one that proved a high raw meat-based diet showed lower levels of inflammation markers in the dog's bodies and compared the gut microbiota, gene expression in the skin, metabolomics from blood and urine and nutrient profile from blood and genes, are needed.
"The benefits of feeding a species-appropriate raw diet to our carnivorous pets has been consistently proven to improve the health and lifespan of pets. Dog owners want to know they're making the right choices regarding their best friend's health, and misleading 'studies' like this only make those choices more confusing."