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Vegan diets reduce aggression and gut issues in dogs

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Te Whanganui-a-Tara – Feeding a dog a vegan diet could reduce skin, gastrointestinal (GI) and behavioural issues, new research has found.

The study was commissioned by plant-based pet food brand Omni and was published in the peer-reviewed journal Archives of Clinical and Biomedical Research.

It looked at 100 dogs over the course of 12 months. People with dogs registered with Omni were asked to fill out surveys on their dog’s health and appetites.

It found that 90 percent of dogs who had previously suffered from GI issues had better stool consistency when they switched to a plant-based diet. It also found that 70 percent of those with dandruff saw an improvement in the condition.

What’s more, a number of people reported less anxiety in their companion animals. Around a quarter saw signs of their dogs’ aggression decrease. And over half said that their dog’s fur appeared to be glossier.

The study’s authors said that, while promising, the results should be confirmed by more extensive studies with more animals. Relying on self-report data was also a study limitation.

Whether or not dogs should be fed plant-based diets is a contentious issue. This often rests on the widespread belief that they are carnivores. This is not the case; domestic dogs, like humans, are omnivores.

However, a growing body of science indicates that vegan pet food is not only acceptable, but preferable to conventional dog food in many cases. But is plant-based dog food widely available in New Zealand supermarkets?

Earlier this year, the largest study ever conducted on dog diets found that plant-based eating was both healthier and safer, Plant Based News says.

The study looked at the health of more than 2,500 companion dogs. It found that those following vegan diets had fewer health problems than those who ate conventional meat food.

Plant-based dogs also had fewer vet visits.  Further, only a third of vegan dogs required non-routine medication, compared to almost half of meat-eaters.

 Commercial meat-based dog food comes with a host of health risks. It’s often made with meat deemed unfit for human consumption. This includes the 4Ds, referring to meat from dead, dying, diseased, and disabled animals.

Plastic and other trash has also been found in meaty dog food, in addition to traces of euthanasia.