The impact of animal farming on the planet and how plant-based is the future
As a dog parent, you probably have a dog that you love more than just about anything. And if you like to keep your dog healthy and happy, then chances are pretty good that you also care about what they eat. Plant-based diets are becoming increasingly popular among humans, and more and more people are curious whether dogs need meat to be healthy.
As it turns out, there’s no reason for anyone (human or canine) to eat meat nowadays—because plant-based diets can provide all the nutrients required by both. However, as we’ll see later in this blog, there are some important considerations when choosing what food works best for your dog’s particular needs…
DON’T DOGS NEED MEAT?
One of the most common questions people ask when considering whether or not to switch their dog’s food is: Can a vegan or plant-based diet be healthy? People often wonder if it will help their pet lose weight or improve skin conditions such as eczema…
…and the answer is yes! A healthy vegan or plant-based diet can help your dog get all of the nutrients they need to live long and happy lives.
For years, we’ve been told that a certain type of dog food is best. But actually, just like humans, canines are omnivores—that is, they eat both plants and animals. Dogs have been domesticated from wolves so it makes sense that their bodies are designed to thrive on similar foods found in nature, such as plants and vegetables (not meat).
IS A PLANT-BASED DIET HEALTHY FOR DOGS?
The benefits of eating a plant-based diet aren’t just reserved for humans; they apply to dogs as well. And canine nutritionists and vets are increasingly endorsing a complete and balanced plant-based diet for healthy, happy dogs.
In fact, the most extensive study of its kind found that vegan dogs visit the vet less often and require fewer medications. It hailed plant-based, the “healthiest and least hazardous dietary choice for dogs”, which can add an invaluable 1.5 years to their life expectancy. Meaning more stick chewing, face licking and barking at postmen.
A complete and balanced plant-based diet for dogs has been shown to provide a plethora of powerful well-being benefits. Head to our Ingredients page to learn more about the associated health benefits of a plant-based diet for dogs— including weight management, immune support, healthy digestion and a glossy coat.
It’s worth noting that there are certain nutrients that dogs need from animal sources—amino acids like taurine (found in muscle) and arachidonic acid (found in egg yolks). Just like people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet must take special care to meet their nutritional needs without meat products, you’ll need to ensure your plant-based dog food is nutritionally sound. At Herbie Wilde, for example, we include taurine and methionine in our unique blend, which replicates any essential amino acids found in meat.
BUT WHAT ABOUT PROTEIN?
Dogs need protein and nutrients, not meat. Meat proteins are actually the number one cause of food intolerances in dogs, along with corn, soya and wheat. Thankfully our four-legged friends can obtain all the protein they need from natural plant sources such as quinoa, chia seeds and alfalfa. Not to mention they’re easier on the tum too.
PLANT-BASED DOG FOOD IS BETTER FOR THE PLANET TOO
In addition to the health benefits of a plant-based diet for dogs, such as less allergies and fewer digestive issues, it also has environmental benefits. The reality is that meat’s role in the pet food industry comes with not only substantial health implications but a massive pawprint too. Pet food now accounts for a quarter of the environmental impact of meat production and 3-5% of greenhouse gases. Believe it or not, a dog’s pawprint now matches that of a large SUV.
A plant-based dog diet has been shown to have a significantly lower carbon footprint than one that includes meat products; in fact, some studies have shown that switching from an omnivorous diet (which includes meat) can cut your dog’s carbon footprint by half. This means that plant-based dog food is more sustainable in the long run because it requires less land and water to produce.
Plant-based dog foods are made from nutritious veggies like peas, grown on less soil and require less irrigation than other crops—which means less land use and fresh water overall. Plant protein also has fewer chemicals used for fertilisation than meat because plants don’t require antibiotics or growth hormones as cattle do.
In real terms, switching from meat to a plant-based dog food like Herbie Wilde will save up to 100 trees a year, plus the equivalent of 1,000 showers a year of water and 2 football pitches of land from being farmed.
PLANT-BASED FOR DOGS: THE BOTTOM LINE
A plant-based diet for your dog is a great way to help them live a long and healthy life.
As we all know, the environment matters. When it comes to our dogs and their diets, we can do our part by ensuring that everything they eat is good for them and the planet. Plant-based dog food is an excellent option to reduce your carbon emissions and ensure that your doggo is eating healthy food.
We hope you’ve found this article helpful. It can be a crazy world for pet owners, with so many different options and conflicting information. We hope we have helped clear some things up for you. If you ever have any questions or concerns about your own pup’s diet, reach out to us any time at Herbie Wilde.