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Vegan dogs and cats? Study finds a number of pet owners are feeding their animals plant-based diet

The study examined more than 3,000 cat and the dog.
(iStock)

Some pet owners who are vegan are feeding their cats and dogs plant-based diets, while other pet owners have expressed interest in doing a recent study found.

Researchers from the University of Guelph in Canada, as well as the Massey University in New Zealand, more than 3,600 pet owners. Ask what kind of animal they owned, information about their pet’s diet and needs with regard to food for pets, among other questions.

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Of the pet owners surveyed, 229 of the 3,673 were vegetarian, while 212 were vegan, which means she eats no meat, dairy or fish products.

At the end of the researchers found that, while only 27 percent of the vegans studied, said they currently fed their pets a vegan diet, 78 percent of the vegan pet owners “complained, she would be the feeding of a plant-based diet to their pet if a were available to the pet owners” required criteria.” At least one vegetarian surveyed also said that they fed their pet on a plant-based diet.

“That percentage, 27 percent, may sound like a small number, but if you think of the actual numbers of pets involved, which is huge and much higher than we had expected,” Sarah Dodds, the study’s lead author, said in a statement.

Overall, 35 percent of the surveyed owners interested in switching their pet from a conventional diet to a plant-based one.

Dogs are considered as an omnivorous diet, meaning they eat both plants and meat. Cats, on the other hand, are carnivorous animals.

Vegan diets for both species of animals are controversial.

“Not much research into the nutritional value of the appropriateness of vegan diets for dogs and cats, nor on the health benefits and risks of vegetable diets in these animals,” said Dodd, no more research is needed.

“While only a small percentage of pet owners currently food plant-based diet to their pets, it is safe to say that the interest in food is likely to grow.”

— Sarah Dodd

Although vegan or vegetarian pet owners can be faced with a “moral dilemma” in the feeding of animal products to their dogs or cats, the researchers wrote in the study, which was published in the scientific journal PLOS One in January, vets have warned pet-owners that opt for plant-based nutrition for their pets, especially dogs, should be wary. Vegan-based diets for pets can lead to a lack of essential nutrients, such as an insufficient amount of protein, or a deficiency of important vitamins and minerals.

Feeding cats a vegan diet, in particular, “would be like me feeding my horses meat. You take an entire species of animal and try to force to eat something that it is not designed to handle,” Lew Olson, D. Ph. and author of “Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs,” said WebMD.

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In the study, 48 of dog owners said they fed their dog a “strictly plant-based diet”, while 11 cat owners said that they fed their feline the same.

“While only a small percentage of pet owners currently food plant-based diet to their pets, it is safe to say that the interest in food is likely to grow,” Dodd added.

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