6 TIPS FOR INTRODUCING YOUR DOG TO PLANT-BASED FOODS
It’s official - dogs love plant-based food! People have been transitioning their dogs to vegan diets the world over and seeing huge benefits to their pet’s overall health
● A third of pet owners would consider feeding their furry friends a
● Celebrities, like F1 racing champion Lewis Hamilton, are praising the benefits of plant-based foods. Hamilton says that switching his British Bulldog Roscoe to a vegan diet has drastically improved his health
● Did you know… that a vegan Collie called Bramble lived until she was 25 -one of the longest-living dogs of all time, according to The Guinness Book of Records?
● A study of Siberian sprint racing huskies showed that those fed a plant- based diet performed just as well – and were just as healthy- as those fed a meat-based diet
It’s a hugely popular movement. A third of pet owners would consider
feeding their furry friends a vegan diet according to a 2019 global study by the
veterinary college at the University of Guelph in Canada. 27% of those, vegan
themselves, had already done so. Celebrities are switching too, with seven -
time Formula 1 racing champion Lewis Hamilton, a vegan since 2017, saying
that a plant-based diet has drastically improved the life of his British Bulldog
Roscoe. He put him on the diet because of a variety of health conditions – the
bulldog’s breathing was bad, he had joint problems and skin allergies. Lewis
posted to Instagram: ‘So Roscoe is now fully vegan. Since he has gone vegan,
his coat is much softer, his swollen paws have healed up, he is no longer
limping with pain of arthritis and his breathing has opened up.’ He says that
Roscoe is ‘acting like a puppy again’ and finally enjoying his runs.
Many people are switching their dogs to either a mix of a meat-based and plant-based food (flexitarian), or offering totally vegan meals because of concerns over their dog’s health and the evidence that shows that a plant- based diet can be hugely beneficial to a dog’s overall health. Other reasons for switching include worries over the health implications of meat-based pet foods and its provenance and wanting to choose more ethical and sustainable foods for their dog that are against animal cruelty and that help the environment.
6 TIPS FOR INTRODUCING YOUR DOG TO PLANT-BASED FOODS
1. Use plant-based foods as a topper – dried vegan kibble sprinkled over your dog’s regular meal is a great way to get more variety into your pooch’s diet with all the added benefits of plant-based foods.
2. Try meat-free Mondays – follow the human trend and start off with small steps. It’s a great way to give your dog a taster of the deliciousness of plant-based pet food.
3. Go 50/50 – try introducing your dog to some vegan options for half of their meals. You could try vegan breakfasts or dinners. The HOWND plant-based range is available in wet and dry varieties, so there’s loads of choice.
4. Take it slowly – A sudden change of diet can upset a dog's delicate stomach. Our food has natural prebiotics to help with the transition and keep sensitive tummies happy. FYI - a transition to HOWND Superfood should be over a gradual 2 week period. They should replace 25% of their existing food for 3-5 days, then 50% for a further 3-5 days, and then 75% for the final few days.
5. Be flexitarian – it’s up to you what you feed your dog. If you want to try your dog’s regular meat-based foods alongside some plant-based ones that works fine. The choice is yours, and your dog’s.
6. Go fully plant-based – research has shown that dogs can thrive on a vegan diet as long as it is nutritionally balanced and contains all the essential nutrients a dog requires. So once your dog has adjusted to their new food it’s fine to switch to a fully plant-based diet. Scientific evidence shows that plant-based foods can provide all the nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that dogs need to stay healthy, whilst offering a clean, transparent and sustainable alternative to meat- based diets. A vegan diet can also help regulate your dog’s weight.
THE VEGAN SUPER-HOUNDS
These remarkable dogs are proof that our furry friends can lead a happy,
healthy long life on a plant-based diet …
BRAMBLE THE COLLIE LIVED TO 25
Border Collies are lively, working dogs, native to Scotland that typically live to the age of 14. Collie’s are known for their stamina and athleticism - characteristics that must clearly be supported by a hearty, nutritious diet. Bramble was raised on purely plant-based foods – mainly rice, lentils and organic vegetables, and lived to the ripe old age of 25 - almost double her life expectancy, and she has since been recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as one of the longest ever living dogs. But could that have been pure chance, a fluke? Anne Heritage, her owner, raised five other vegan dogs that vastly exceeded their life expectancies, each living beyond the age of 19. One dog may have been lucky. But six…
THE PLANT-FUELLED SPRINT-RACING HUSKIES
Sprint-racing Siberian Huskies are trained to race fast through snow whilst hauling sleds over a 30-mile course. ‘It’s difficult to imagine any companion animals placed under greater physical demands than sprint-racing Siberian Huskies,’ says Andrew Knight, Professor of Animal Welfare and Ethics at University of Winchester and President of Animals Count. But a 2009 study by Wendy Brown and her colleagues to study the effect of vegan diets on canine competitors showed that huskies could perform very effectively on a plant-based diet. A pack of huskies was split into two groups, then, over a 16-week period - which included 10 weeks of sprint-racing - one group was fed a commercial poultry-based diet, and the other a plant-based diet formulated to the same nutrient specifications (but with maize gluten and soybean meal in place of the meat).
Health checks were given to each of the Huskie groups by a vet who was blind to the dietary variations, and the study found that every one of the dogs remained in excellent physical condition throughout the trial, irrespective of whether they were fed a meat-based diet or a vegan one. Not a single dog developed anaemia or any other health problems; in fact, red blood cell counts and haemoglobin values increased significantly in both groups during the course of the study.
A VEGAN DIET HELPED RESCUE POOCH BETSY BACK TO HEALTH
When James Scott found his Chihuahua mix Betsy roaming the US streets as a puppy, he took her in and nursed her back to health. Having clearly been homeless for some time and run down from her time on the streets, Betsy was smaller than she should have been. Scott, vegan founder of the Texas Veggie Fair, wanted to give her the best diet but was concerned that mass-produced pet food could contain meat from diseased or dying animals, which he wouldn't want to give to his dog. He’s see research that dogs can thrive on a vegan diet, so tried Betsy on one and she started to fill out really well. Scott believes that the plant-based diet boosted Betsy’s health and helped her recover faster from living on the streets.
Diving dogs with so much energy
You may not have heard of dog diving competitions, but it’s an extremely physical sport for dogs. Tony Lampert’s dogs Baxter and GRiZ, both Belgian Malinois – are two incredibly athletic dogs who are well known in the diving community and are both fed on plant-based foods. Baxter is a Hall of Fame dog in Dock Dogs, and GRiZ broke the world record at the Extreme Vertical category in Dock Dogs by jumping nearly nine feet vertically. Dock jumping or dock diving is a sport where dogs compete by jumping for height or distance from a dock or deck into water – a swimming pool, a harbour or any body of water, showing their canine aquatic skills. The events happen in the UK, Australia, US, Austria and Germany and dogs have to be incredibly fit to compete. These two have certainly made a splash!
TELL US ABOUT YOUR PLANT-POWERED TIPS
Got any tips on how you transitioned your dog to plant-based foods, or maybe you’ve tried a flexitarian approach with your dog? How did you get on?
Join the HOWND COMMUNITY and tell us all about your dogs and what they love to eat and love to do. We can’t wait to hear your stories – we’re sure there are quite a few SUPER-HOWNDS out there too, just like Bramble and her friends. We love seeing pictures of your pooches – so do send them in. Your dog could be in our HOWND HALL OF FAME on these pages. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us on social to feature @DogsLoveHownd #HappyHownder