Has your Spaniel lost his spring? Your Frenchie lost her joie de vivre? Is your Poodle pooped? Don’t worry, THE PACK are here to help!
Many of us are participating in Veganuary this year, and it’s no secret that here at THE PACK we believe that a plant-based diet is the very best thing – not just for you, but for your dog. Why? Because the science says so. Last year, a study in a reputed veterinary journal compared the nutritional soundness of 19 meat-based and 10 plant-based pet foods. Drum roll… they found that plant-based diets were superior to meat-based diets!
In fact, over the last two decades, research has shown that vegan dog food can provide your hound with a host of benefits, from improving overall vitality to fighting allergies, keeping your dog svelte, and even preventing the dreaded C word.
Here are five prime pooch problem areas where THE PACK’s plant-based food can lend a helping paw.
Weight gain (is it me, or did this harness shrink in the wash?)
We’re amid a pet obesity crisis, with more than half of dogs in the UK overweight or obese. Your pooch’s expanding waistline might not seem like a big deal, but chunky dogs are at risk from diabetes, arthritis, hypertension, kidney disease and cancer. What’s more, research has found that those extra kilos can reduce a dog’s lifespan by 20%. That’s right: an overweight dog is likely to live up to two and half years less than a dog at a healthy weight. Whimper.
So, what exactly is fattening up our fur babies? It’s simple: meat. High-meat diets are generally high-calorie diets, and calories count most when it comes to lifestyle causes of weight gain. A recent report showed that over 39% of busy pawrents only walk their dog for up to 30 minutes each day, yet most dogs still wolf down at least two meat-based meals a day. Do they really need all those meaty calories? Of course not! Veggie dog food like THE PACK contains lower fat levels and more dietary fibre, which helps your hound maintain a healthier weight. Switching out meat for plant-based food means your pup will have more energy now, and you’ll get to share many more years of fetch into the future too.
Arthritis and ageing (creaky joints and old bones)
You’ve heard of Lewis Hamilton who switched his bulldog Roscoe to a vegan diet after his arthritis got bad. On plant-based dog food, Roscoe’s swollen paws healed up, his joint pain eased, and he was back in the ball game! Why? Well, the heavier your pooch, the more likely he or she is to suffer from arthritis (we’ve just seen that vegan dogs tend to be trimmer dogs).
What’s more, rancid fats, often present in commercial meat-based diets, are a leading source of free radical production in dogs. These free radicals, unstable atoms that can damage cells, have been linked to arthritis. THE PACK food is free of rancid fats, instead providing antioxidant, arthritis-fighting ingredients like blueberries, butternut squash, hemp and sunflower seeds, seaweed and broccoli. These plant-based foods deliver nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and selenium, proven to build immunity and build happy joints. A win-win!
Both owner stories and scientific research suggest that if you want your pup to live his or her best life as a senior, a plant-based diet is the way to go. Bramble, a 27-year-old Collie who once held the Guinness World Record for being the oldest living dog, ate a vegan diet. Research has also shown that there’s a real advantage to being a vegan or vegetarian dog for longer, a PETA survey reporting that over 80% of dogs who’d been meat-free for 50 -100 percent of their lives were in “good to excellent health”.
Feed your dog THE PACK and we bet that people will be mistaking your 12-year-old golden oldie for a much younger pooch!
Digestive issues and poor immunity (stinky poo and dog flu)
Many owners with plant-based dogs describe their shiny coats, cleaner stronger teeth and, yep, better poop. Taking meat out of your dog’s food keeps them regular, aiding digestion and making the pooper-scooper experience slightly less ‘fragrant’ too. Now that’s something any pawrent will appreciate!
The benefits of plant-based food go even further: switching THE PACK into your dog’s diet could also enhance their immune system. Research has shown that the longer a dog is ‘vegan’ or ‘vegetarian’, the less likely they are to get infections. In a survey of 300 dogs, no dog who had been meat-free for more than five years had suffered from an ear, urinary tract, eye or any other infection.
No wonder when food like THE PACK is on offer, containing yummy fresh ingredients like blueberries for immunity, sunflower seeds and algal oil for shiny coats, and lupin beans for healthy guts. A few weeks eating our No-Fishy Dishy and you’ll be seeing sparkly eyes and wet noses all round!
Allergies (scratchy skin and wheezy lungs)
Pawrents with dogs living on veg have seen their pets’ skin problems clear up, a major boon for itchy pooches. This isn’t surprising when we think about all the artificial dyes, flavourings, preservatives, stabilisers and, in many cases, dodgy slaughterhouse ingredients in commercial meat-based pet foods. In fact, animal products are responsible for most allergic reactions in dogs, the main culprit being beef.
If you look at the ingredients on medical dermatological or hypoallergenic diets for dogs, you’ll often see that nutritionists have created meatless prescription foods, using ‘novel’ vegetarian protein sources. These might not be marketed as ‘meat-free’ dog food but that’s precisely what they are. And for good reason: they work!
Risk of cancer (the ultimate big bad word)
Hearing our vet say the dreaded C word is every pawrent’s worst fear, but it’s becoming an increasing reality: cancer is now the leading cause of death in dogs. Statistics vary, but it’s estimated that 1 in 3 pet dogs will develop cancer, the same stat as among humans. The good news? We can say ‘Leave!’ to cancer with simple dietary changes.
A growing number of vets are linking high cancer rates to meat-based pet foods, dogs suffering from the subtle, long-term damage of bioaccumulation. That’s a fancy way of saying that chemical toxins in the environment build up (bioaccumulate) in animals as we move up the food chain. When our pets eat other animals, they nosh down the toxins that those pigs, cows, chickens and fish absorbed or ate.
In 2015 the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that processed and red meat consumption is linked to cancer in humans, urging us to reduce the amount of meat we eat. Although there’s less research on the animal side, certain cancers have been explicitly linked with high-meat dog foods. On the flipside, that study of 300 dogs we mentioned before found that no dog who had been ‘vegan’ for more than five years had cancer. So, if we take the meat out of dog food, it seems highly likely we reduce the risk. That’s a wager we won’t think twice about taking!
Don’t take our word for it. Here’s the research:
- The evidence for the health benefits of a canine vegan diet on Professor Andrew Knight’s website here.
- Knight & Light’s article in ‘Revista Electronica De Veterinaria’ on The Nutritional Soundness of Meat-based and Plant-based Pet Foods here (2021).
- The latest PDSA PAWS Report on lack of exercise and obesity in dogs (2021)
- On obesity in dogs in the UK (2019)
- The results of the study of 300 veggie dogs (PETA, 1994) in detail here
- A summary of the evidence supporting vegetarian over meat-based diets for pets in Animals (2016)
- That 2015 WHO warning about the link between red meat and cancer.
If you are new to THE PACK you can get 40% off your first order using PACKVEG40 at checkout.