It has been a source of bemusement and frustration for advocates of vegan dog food, including THE PACK, that – contrary to the biological evidence – the British Veterinary Association (BVA) has refused to support plant-based dog diets. Despite vocal endorsement by individual veterinarians like Armaiti May and Ernie Ward, and the widespread publication of evidence on the health benefits of vegan dog diets by veterinarians like Andrew Knight and Sarah Dodd. This evidence is in addition to the hundreds of healthy plant-based dogs seen by UK vets every year, the BVA have remained firm that “meat contains vital vitamins and nutrients needed by cats and dogs” and while “it is theoretically possible to feed a dog a vegetarian diet… we would not recommend it”.
In this blog from THE PACK last year, we wondered whether some vets are still nervous about recommending plant-based diets for dogs because they tend to remember the dogs who have become sick. These sick dogs haven’t been eating a ‘good’ vegan diet; that is, a nutritionally complete one. Well, last week, an article in the major UK veterinary news journal Vet Times confirmed this theory! In this piece, it is revealed that the BVA’s concerns about plant-based dog food lie with pawrents making their own vegan dog food at home:
“Such an approach, though theoretically possible, makes it easier for owners to get the balance of essential nutrients wrong in the food they give to their pet.”
But pawrents aren’t usually formulating their own vegan diets! At THE PACK, we’ve warned against making homemade dog food because it’s super tricky to balance all the micro-minerals and essential vitamins our hounds need when we’re making their food from scratch. We do the hard work for you by formulating THE PACK food to be nutritionally complete, with the right balance of essential nutrients, as any reputable vegan pet food company should. Indeed, the standards of such companies have been found to be as good or better as companies producing meat-based dog food.
All this aside, what’s really exciting about the article in ‘Vet Times’ is this statement from BVA president Justine Shotton:
“We recognise that there is growing interest in this area – particularly from a sustainability perspective – and that this goes hand in hand with a growing body of scientific research. We are really open to exploring how this evidence base could support vegan diets as a more sustainable option and plan to review this in depth in due course.”
The tide is turning for vegan dog food! We pawrents can help this happen even faster by shouting loudly about our healthy dogs’ vegan diets when we take them for veterinary check-ups. We shouldn’t only be talking about nutrition when our pups get sick. So next time your vet praises your dog’s shiny coat or high energy, practise proudly replying “Thanks, he’s plant-powered!”