Plant-Based Diets for Dogs and Cats: Review of Current Perspectives
There is a rise on plant based diets throughout the world which has also been applied to pets which comes as a response to the heavy strain put on the environment by animal agriculture. Food scarcity is already a major problem in the world and will only be aggravated by the expected population growth in the future. The plant based diets for pets is a growing field of research which has recently been developed. The current paper reviewed existing literature in the field of plant-based diets in order to examine the motivations, plausibility and availability of these diets for dogs and cats. Findings indicate that the choice to abstain from meat is motivated by environmental strain of the meat industry, humanization of animals, and psychological distress of meat abstaining pet owners. After a discussion of nutritional requirements and a thorough review of studies on content analysis and feeding trials, the paper concludes that plant based diets are possible for dogs and cats. Nevertheless, at this time, extensive knowledge and continuous monitoring is required to ascertain the safety and health of the diet, especially for cats. It is the belief of the author that plant-based food for dogs can be adequate as long it is veterinary prescribed and with routine monitoring. For cats the author does not recommend a plant-based diet although in the future most likely it will be a possible. Limitations and future directions are also discussed.