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Benefits of Plant-Based Diets for Dogs and Humans

Alex Aldeborgh

By Alex Aldeborgh
4/29/2022

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You probably know that eating a plant-based diet has many health benefits for humans. But did you know your dog can also thrive eating plant-based food? 

What is a plant-based diet?

A plant-based diet is one that focuses primarily on plants. Beyond fruits and vegetables, plant-based diets include an abundance of whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and oils. Those following a plant-based diet, as opposed to a vegan diet, do not completely exclude animal products. Plant-based diets look a little different for everybody: they can include meat, dairy, eggs, and other animal foods on occasion. What makes a diet “plant-based” is the emphasis on including a variety of plant foods with most meals and snacks. 

We know that following a plant-based diet can have health benefits for humans, and similar benefits can be seen in dogs fed nutritionally balanced plant-based diets. In addition to weight management, a plant-based diet can help reduce the risk of certain diseases, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, certain cancers, and diabetes. This is due to many factors!

Plant-based diet health benefits for humans and dogs

Plant-based foods are inherently low in saturated fat. Current dietary recommendations say to limit saturated fat to less than 10% of total dietary intake each day for humans, because it can increase the risk of developing heart disease. By having our diet come from mostly plants as humans, we are naturally decreasing saturated fat intake. And while there is no dietary recommendation for dogs to avoid saturated fat, too much fat in the diet can have a negative impact on health.

“High fat diets, especially those high in saturated fat which are often associated with clogging of arteries and heart attacks in people are fortunately not something that is seen in dogs so there is no need to restrict fat” says Danielle Bernal, BVSc, MRCVS, Global Vet Nutrition Director at Wellness Pet Company. However, she goes on to say that “almost 60% of cats and dogs are overweight, so keeping their fat at a moderate level and total calorie consumption controlled becomes the much bigger priority. Like humans, the knock-on effects of this weight issue however can have significant health impacts with diabetes, osteoarthritis and mobility concerns being the top concerns.”

An important nutrient found in abundance in plant foods is dietary fiber. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is indigestible for humans and dogs, yet it provides many health benefits. Dietary fiber is only found in plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. Several health benefits are correlated with adequate fiber intake in both humans and dogs, including good digestive health, gut microbiome health, and weight management. Wellness CORE Digestive Health Plant-based kibble is loaded with fiber-rich fruits and vegetables safe for dogs to eat, including sweet potato, flaxseed, broccoli, spinach, carrots, brown rice, blueberries, and kale. 

In addition to healthy fats and fiber, plant-based diets are high in antioxidants. For both humans and dogs, these plant compounds prevent and reduce inflammation by fighting off free radicals in the body and help to maintain a strong immune system. Additionally, a diet high in antioxidants is protective against heart disease and certain cancers in humans. You’ll find both Vitamin A and Vitamin E, which both act as antioxidants in all Wellness CORE dry food, including the new plant-based recipe.

Reasons to Love Wellness CORE Plant-Based with Eggs

Wellness CORE Digestive Health Plant-Based kibble provides protein from eggs and plant-based sources. The wide variety of plant-based foods in this recipe, in addition to multiple protein sources, supports your dog's dietary needs without meat or fish. And you can be sure that, as a Wellness Pet Company product, this new plant-based kibble “not [only]  meets minimum [nutrition] requirements but exceeds them with scientifically proven inclusions to really promote superior health benefits”, says Bernal.

Just like with humans, dogs can thrive on a plant-based, vegetarian diet, when the diet is well balanced and includes a variety of macronutrients and ingredients. Feeding your dog a high quality dog food, like Wellness CORE Digestive Health Plant-Based kibble, ensures that your dog gets adequate amounts of both macronutrients and micronutrients to prevent deficiencies. 

One other benefit of plant-based diets? They are good for the environment. Plant-based diets overall use less natural resources and are less taxing on the environment than diets high in animal products. Good for you, good for your dog, and good for the environment

About This Page

Pet Type:

Dog

Topic:

Health & Nutrition

Date:

4/29/2022

Author:

Alex Aldeborgh
Alex Aldeborgh

Alex Aldeborgh is a Registered Dietitian and food blogger based in the Boston area. She loves to create and eat nutritious plant-based recipes, and has an apricot poodle named Coby.

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