Vegan food is bang on-trend right now – but what effect does feeding this kind of diet to our pets have? Our in-house vet, Dr Suzanne Moyes, presents some essential (and surprising) nutritional facts to digest...
Posted: 30 July 2020
Never has giving up meat and dairy products and switching to a solely plant-based diet been more popular. Between 2014 and 2019, the number of vegans in the UK quadrupled, according to a survey commissioned by The Vegan Society.
And it’s a trend that’s having an impact on pets too. A survey of 3,670 dog and cat owners from around the world found that 35% are interested in putting their pets on a vegan diet, while 27% of respondents who follow a vegan diet themselves have already got their pets to follow suit.
Reported in The Independent, the study’s lead author, Dr Sarah Dodd of the veterinary college at the University of Guelph, Canada, said she was surprised at how many pet owners were feeding their animals exclusively vegan food: “That percentage, 27%, might sound like a small number, but when you think of the actual numbers of pets involved, that’s huge, and much higher than we expected.”
Dr Dodd points out that more research is needed. The RSPCA agrees – and is concerned about the impact on cats in particular. A spokesperson said: “Cats are ‘strict carnivores’ and depend on specific nutrients found primarily in meat, such as taurine, vitamin A and arachidonic acid.”
Burgess in-house vet, Dr Suzanne Moyes, comments: “Our pets deserve the correct nutrition to thrive and today, we’ve never been better informed about the significant role nutrition plays in keeping our pets happy and healthy. It’s vital that we respect our pets’ natural diet and feed them food that is nutritious, well-balanced and as close as possible to what they would eat in the wild, whether they’re natural carnivores, omnivores or vegetarians. “
So, are any of the UK’s most popular pets natural vegans? Dr Suzanne Moyes sets the pet dietary information record straight...
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Dr Moyes advises: “At Burgess, all our pet food is produced in line with FEDIAF (the European pet food industry federation) nutritional guidelines. These guidelines, which are based on many pieces of published research, helps us to calculate the nutrient content and dietary components such as protein, fat, carbohydrate and vitamins and minerals required to ensure all our foods meet the detailed nutritional requirements for the pets they are designed for.”
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Sources: independent.co.uk, vegansociety.com, rspca.org.uk, wildlifetrusts.org