Can Vegan Dogs Live Longer?

vegan dog

Studies like the Blue Zones (places on earth that people live the longest) show that diets focused primarily around plants in terrains that provide lots of opportunity for physical activity generally increase the lifespan of humans.

As vegan diets for dogs have become more popular in the media, there has been a lot of backlash and negativity. If human beings can see a greater life expectancy with a plant centric diet and increased exercise, why can’t dogs? We ask Lindsay Rubin of v-dog:

What is one major takeaway from the Blue Zones that can help dogs live longer? 

Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones, found that the areas of the world where people live the longest typically have a large population following plant- based diets. In our decade-plus of experience at v-dog, we’ve seen dogs live well into their golden years, often with an increased life expectancy, on a balanced plant-based diet. Bramble, a vegan collie in the UK, lived to the age of 25 and is recognized as one of the longest-living dogs in the Guinness Book of World Records. Her guardian, Anne Heritage, has raised seven vegan dogs, and five of them lived past 19 years old.

Haven’t dogs always eaten meat?

Dogs have evolved alongside humans for thousands of years and are now genetically different than their wolf-ancestors. They possess up to 30 copies of the AMY2B gene, which allows them to digest and make excellent use of starches. Present-day domestic dogs are physiologically omnivorous and can adapt to either a meat or plant-based diet, but that doesn’t mean that a meat-based diet is necessary or even ideal for them. Meat heated at extremely high temperatures is now known to form carcinogenic compounds, according to the World Health Organization. Plant-based kibble and foods removes this risk factor all together by removing the meat from the formula, while retaining the necessary nutrition dogs need.

Exercise is a big part of the Blue Zones; how does this relate to dogs? 

Most dogs do not have any issue with exercise in their earlier years, but senior dogs tend to slow down over time. It’s important to keep your dog as active as possible for as long as possible. One important benefit of a plant-based diet for dogs can help with that! Plant-based diets cause less inflammation which helps dogs avoid issues like joint pain, arthritis, and obesity. Without these common issues, dogs can stay active longer.

What other things can we learn from the Blue Zones to help our dogs? 

Another big component of the Blue Zones is companionship. Dogs are social creatures, just like people, and can get a bit down if they are left alone for long periods of time. Socialization can do wonders for your dog’s happiness level. Make sure to give them lots of love and attention, consider pup play dates with fellow neighborhood dogs, or consider getting them a rescue buddy to spend their days with.

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