Knowing our fur companions are getting older can be a ruff reality for us pawrents to accept. In our eyes, they will always be our puppies, and we will bark at anyone trying to convince us otherwise. In reality, however, pawrents consider themselves lucky if their pups can not only reach their golden years, but thrive during them. In this blog, we’re listing the benefits that a plant-based diet can bring to our older pups so they can live out their senior years the best way pawssible.
Maintaining A Healthy Weight
Making sure our pooches are maintaining a healthy weight well into their retirement years is essential for their longevity—studies have shown obesity can shorten our pups’ lives by an average of two-and-a-half years. It is estimated that in the UK alone, nearly 50% of dogs are overweight or obese, therefore risking losing years of their precious lives. Doggie diets that are high in meat content are generally higher in calories and low in fibre, making for a double whammy when it comes to keeping those pounds down. Transitioning your mature pooch to a nutritionally balanced plant-based diet that is protein-packed, easily digestible and filled with fibre (such as meals from THE PACK) will ensure that they aren’t putting on extra weight that becomes increasingly alarming with their older age.
Joint pain keeping your ageing pooch from getting in on some puppy play? Transitioning your pup to a partial or fully plant-based diet will have fellow pawrents thinking you’ve found the doggie fountain of youth. When your dog’s weight is maintained at a healthy level—something which is easier to do on a plant-based doggie diet—their joints will be experiencing less pressure and pain, making it easier for them to release their zoomies. Plant-based dog food is also naturally filled with anti-inflammatory ingredients, including papaya, blueberries, blackberries and kale—all of which are included in THE PACK meals. ‘Traditional’ meat-based doggie kibble—which is highly processed and filled with harmful additives and preservatives—simply cannot compete with the natural plant-power we’re supplying!
Pawtecting Pooches’ Kidneys and Livers
Helping safeguard your pup from experiencing liver and/or kidney disease—which becomes more prevalent for dogs of an older age—is another smart reason to transition your pooch to a high-quality, plant-based protein diet, such as that from THE PACK. According to Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine,
“…in general, pets with kidney disease should be fed diets reduced in phosphorus, protein, and sodium… It is important to feed a low phosphorus diet to keep the pet’s blood phosphorus low, which is thought to slow the progression of kidney disease and improve survival”.
Foods high in phosphorus include meats, poultry, fish and dairy. Just like with kidney disease, dogs with liver disease should also be on a diet that is low in phosphorus, protein and sodium—three things that are typically overabundant in traditional, meat and animal by-product dog food. In addition to avoiding these ingredients for proper kidney and liver function, it is also important to supplement our pups with Omega-3 fatty acids—which every can of THE PACK contains, thanks to our cruelty-free obtained algae oil.
If we were to list every benefit that plant-based diets can bring to our ageing furry friends, we would be here for dog years. Thankfully, veterinarian Dr Andrew Knight worked like a dog to get this information for us. In 2016, Dr. Knight completed a study surveying 174 dog pawrents that details the long-term benefits of feeding pets a veggie-based diet, including “improved coat condition, allergy control, weight control, increased overall health and vitality, arthritis regression, diabetes regression, cataract resolution, and decreased incidence of cancer”. In 2022, Dr Knight and his colleagues came back with a study of similar findings, this time surveying 2,639 dog guardians to find that “pooled evidence to date indicates that the healthiest and least hazardous dietary choices for dogs, are nutritionally sound vegan diets”.
While, another study found that dogs fed plant-based diets could live up to 18 months longer than those on meat-based alternatives, a new study from North America has suggested. Scientists found that dogs on plant-based diets had a mean lifespan of 14.1 years, compared to a mean 12.6 years for those on meat-based diets
Plant-based diets for our four-legged friends is still a relatively new topic, and we are proud to be part of the revolution in its early stages—not only because it’s cruelty free and taste-approved by our furry friends, but because plant-based diets for our dogs may mean that we get to spend a bit more time on this Earth with them, too.