vegan health

01 vegan diets are the healthiest and least hazardous diets for dogs

Studied 2,536 dogs fed vegan or meat-based diets for at least one year. Being a very large-scale study, these results confer a high degree of statistical reliability. Included were guardian opinions of health – which are not always reliable – as well as a range of more objective data, such as prevalence of medication usage. Many different indicators of health were pooled.

Link to article : Knight A, Huang E, Rai N, Brown H (2022) Vegan versus meat-based dog food: Guardian-reported indicators of health. PLOS ONE 17(4): e0265662.


02 clear health improvements after switching to vegan dog food

Surveyed 100 dog guardians who had switched to a nutritionally complete vegan dog food designed by UK veterinarians. Clear improvements after 3-12 months were reported in coat glossiness, dandruff and erythema (skin inflammation), itchiness (scratching; pruritus), external ear canal crusting (otitis externa), stool consistency & frequency, flatus frequency and antisocial smell, anxiety, aggressive behavior and coprophagia (stool consumption).

Link to article : Davies M, (2022) Reported Health Benefits of a Vegan Dog Food – A Likert Scale-type Survey of 100 Guardians. bioRxiv.


03 higher protein profile in dogs after 12 weeks of a plant-based diet

The objective of this study was to assess the short-term amino acid (AA), clinicopathologic, and echocardiographic findings in 34 client-owned dogs fed a commercial extruded plant-based diet (PBD) in which pea protein was the primary protein source and 4 control dogs fed a commercial extruded traditional diet (TD). All essential AAs, except methionine, were higher in dogs after 4 weeks on the PBD compared to baseline. Taurine (plasma and whole blood) was also higher after 4 weeks on the PBD compared to baseline. There was no statistical evidence of difference between the 2 groups of dogs for any of the echocardiographic parameters at baseline or at 12 weeks. Essential AA or taurine deficiency was not observed in this cohort of dogs fed a commercial extruded PBD.

Link to article : Cavanaugh SM, Cavanaugh RP, Gilbert GE, Leavitt EL, Ketzis JK, et al. (2021) Short-term amino acid, clinicopathologic, and echocardiographic findings in healthy dogs fed a commercial plant-based diet. PLOS ONE 16(10)


04 vegan dogs have superior health

This research has shown that the long-term vegan-fed dogs showed the same number of nutritional surpluses as the conventional meat-fed control group (all were detected for iron). The meat-based fed control group showed 11 deficiencies (four folic acid, four vitamin B12, two calcium and one iron), while the long-term vegan fed category presented only two deficiencies in total (lower than recommended folic acid values, explained by a giardia infection during the blood collection. When comparing the groups (plant- and meat-based), the mean differences in protein, calcium and magnesium showed no statistically significant difference (p > 0.05); the results showed statistically significant differences in iron, vitamin B12 and folic acid (p < 0.01). The physical examinations did not raise any suspicion of nutrimental-related issues.

Link to thesis : Kiemer L. (2019) Vegan diet and its effects on the dog’s health. Master thesis. Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Lithuanian University of Health Sciences.


05 equal performance between vegetarian and non-vegetarian dog athletes

Hematology results for all dogs, irrespective of diet, were within normal range throughout the study and the consulting veterinarian assessed all dogs to be in excellent physical condition. No dogs in the present study developed anemia. On the contrary, erythrocyte counts and Hb values increased significantly over time (P,0·01) in both groups of dogs. The present study is the first to demonstrate that a carefully balanced meat-free diet can maintain normal hematological values in exercising dogs

Link to article : Wendy Y. Brown1 et al. (2009) An experimental meat-free diet maintained haematological characteristics in sprint-racing sled dogs. British Journal of Nutrition (2009), 102, 1318–1323.  


06 vegan dogs live up to 1,5 years longer

Researchers at the University of Guelph (Canada) compared the diets of more than a 1.000 dogs and found that on top of an extended life expectancy, dogs eating plant-bases also had a lower chance of contracting liver, gastrointestinal, and/-or eye related diseases! 

Link to article : Dodd S. et al. (2022) Owner perception of health of North American dogs fed meat- or plant-based diets. Research in veterinary Science volume 149, December 2022, Pages 36-46.


07 vegan diet decreases risk of cancer, infections, hypothyroidism, and obesity

In conclusion, the 1994 PETA study of 300 vegetarian dogs found that a longer duration on a vegetarian or vegan diet is associated with a greater likelihood of overall good to excellent health, with veganism being more beneficial than vegetarianism. The study also suggests that a vegetarian or vegan diet may decrease the risk of cancer, infections, hypothyroidism, and obesity. However, regular monitoring of urine pH and supplementation of L-carnitine and taurine may be necessary to prevent health issues related to urinary alkalinization and dilated cardiomyopathy. The study also highlights the benefits of incorporating nutritional yeast and garlic in a dog's diet and avoiding soy products, which may cause allergic reactions. However, the study did not perform statistical significance tests, so these results should be interpreted with caution.  

Citation of unpublished survey: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Dog health survey. Unpublished. 1994. 


08 no difference in nutrition found in blood test between vegan and conventional fed dogs 

In this study, 20 dogs and 15 cats underwent a clinical examination and blood assessment. Inclusion criterion to undergo blood assessment was a minimum length of 6 months of exclusively eating a vegan diet for both cats and dogs, with the extra requirements for cats to live indoor only. During clinical examination of participating vegan cats and dogs, no abnormalities were detected that were to be associated with the individual diet. All examined dogs and cats appeared happy and bright. No diseases could be found that were directly and obviously relatable to a plant based died. Results of blood assessment showed no significant differences in all tested parameters in dogs compared to dogs that were fed a conventional diet. Expected significantly lower values of iron and vitamin B12 in vegan dogs could not be observed. Two dogs out of the 20 participating were fed on a home prepared supplemented diet and neither showed any significant deviations. Expected significant lower values of iron protein or vitamin B12 in vegan cats could not be observed. In the main, examined vegan diets fulfilled cats and dogs nutritional requirements. 

Link to thesis:  Semp K. (2014) Vegan Nutrition of dogs and cats. Veterinarian medicine University Vienna. Master Thesis.


09 exceptionally old vegan dog cases

Bramble the Border Collie (25 years): Border Collies normally live to be 14-17 years. Bramble was fed vegetables, lentils, rice and other plants exclusively. His brothers and sisters (also only fed vegan) live to 19 and 21 years old.

Joy the all-breed dog (+20 years): This dog came into the veterinarian Dr. Schoen's office for their first check-up ever when she was 20 years. She was full of life and health. She was always fed an vegan & organic diet.  


10 plant-based cancer prevention

Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs over 10 years, with 50% of older dogs developing the disease and approximately one in four dogs eventually dying from it. A plant-based diet usually provides a low intake of saturated fat and cholesterol and a high intake of dietary fiber and many health-promoting phytochemicals. This is achieved by an increased consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, legumes, nuts, and various soy products. As a result of these factors, vegans typically have lower body mass index, serum total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, and blood pressure; reduced rates of death from ischemic heart disease; and decreased incidence of hypertension, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers than do meat-eaters. Vegans consume considerably more legumes, total fruit and vegetables, tomatoes, allium vegetables, fiber, and vitamin C than do omnivores. All those foods and nutrients are protective against cancer . Fruit and vegetables are described as protective against cancer of the lung, mouth, esophagus, and stomach and to a lesser degree some other sites, whereas the regular use of legumes provides a measure of protection against stomach and prostate cancer. In addition, fiber, vitamin C, carotenoids, flavonoids, and other phytochemicals in the diet are shown to exhibit protection against various cancers, whereas allium vegetables provide protection against stomach cancer, and garlic against colorectal cancer. Foods rich in lycopene, such as tomatoes, are known to protect against prostate cancer.

link to article about dog cancer numbers: Davis BW, Ostrander EA. Domestic dogs and cancer research: a breed-based genomics approach. ILAR J. 2014;55(1):59-68

Link to article plant-based pet health advantages: Winston J Craig, Health effects of vegan diets, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 89, Issue 5, May 2009, Pages 1627S–1633S


11 plant-based ingredients known to help prevent crystal formation (urinary alkalinization)

Asparagus, peas, brown rice, oats, lentils, corn, brussel sprouts and yeast, may be included in vegetarian cat food, and are all urinary acidifiers. Also Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a urinary acidifier. Recommends a dosage of 50-80 mg/kg every 24 hours for cats and dogs. As previously mentioned, the amino acids Methionine and Cysteine can additionally be used to acidify an alkaline urine, thus preventing struvite formation.

Link to book: Peden J. (2011) Vegetarian cats & dogs. Harbingers of New Age. 3rd edition.


12 switch to vegan dog food improved health vitals and resolved obesity

Linde et al. (2023) studied 15 dogs fed vegan diets for one year after previously being fed meat-based diets. They evaluated clinical, haematological (blood cells etc.), and nutritional parameters at 0, 6, and 12 months, including complete blood count (CBC), blood chemistry, cardiac biomarkers, plasma amino acids, and serum vitamin concentrations. All dogs maintained their health status. Three who had been overweight or obese lost weight. Blood results confirmed the diet provided all essential amino acids, and for several nutrients blood levels increased. In some cases previous deficiencies reversed, without supplement use. 

Link to article: Linde. A et al. (2023). Domestic dogs maintain positive clinical, nutritional, and hematological health outcomes when fed a commercial plant-based diet for a year. BioRxiv.


13 cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs

Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs over 10 years, with 50% of older dogs developing the disease and approximately one in four dogs eventually dying from it. Not surprisingly, dogs are diagnosed with many of the same cancers as humans, with an underlying presentation, clinical pathology, and treatment response mirroring that observed in humans. This suggests that similar genetic mechanisms cause human and canine cancers and that genetic studies of canine disease may be a powerful way to advance our understanding of cancer in humans and companion animals alike

Link to article:  Davis BW, Ostrander EA. Domestic dogs and cancer research: a breed-based genomics approach. ILAR J. 2014;55(1):59-68. 


14 consumption of red and processed meat positively associated with cancer

This comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis study showed that high red meat intake was positively associated with risk of breast cancer, endometrial cancer, colorectal cancer, colon cancer, rectal cancer, lung cancer, and hepatocellular carcinoma, and high processed meat intake was positively associated with risk of breast, colorectal, colon, rectal, and lung cancers. Higher risk of colorectal, colon, rectal, lung, and renal cell cancers were also observed with high total red and processed meat consumption.

Link to article: Farvid MS, Sidahmed E, Spence ND, Mante Angua K, Rosner BA, Barnett JB. Consumption of red meat and processed meat and cancer incidence: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. Eur J Epidemiol. 2021 Sep;36(9):937-951.

books about natural vegan pet health

Pitcairn, Richard & Pitcairn, Susan. Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press.1982: 28

 Lisette Kreischer & Rick Scholtes (2020), Dog.Eat.Plant. de Vrije Uitgevers.

Mary L. Wulff, Gregory L. Tilford (2009), Herbs for Pets: The Natural Way to Enhance Your Pet's Life.

Ann Martin (2001) Protect your pet. troutdale, OR: NewSage Press,11