A plant-based diet is healthier and kinder for your elderly pet
“16 year old Nancy was eating meat-based complete food (James Welbeloved) until 3 years ago. Then she transitioned to Yarrah complete and now she has homecooked meals and she loves her food.
Since being very young, Nancy has had a tartar problem. We have tried brushing and other solutions, but we realised one day that (after transitioning) something about the diet seemed to be cleaning up her teeth. Her teeth have self-cleaned! “
Do dogs on a homemade plant-based diet live longer?
Yes, I truly believe that your gentle elderly dog could live a longer healthier life on a balanced plant based diet than on a meat based diet. I know the value that we place on our pets in our home and our lives, and as a GP vet and animal lover, I want to help you have your pets with you for as long as possible.
Humans on a plant-based diet suffer with far less life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes than those on a normal animal product based diet and thus live longer, healthier lives with a far stronger immunity to fight off infections. Exactly the same is true for our pets……….but their plant-based diet MUST be balanced with all the essential nutrients in it.
Why is fresh and homemade best for our dogs?
It is well known that once our babies are past the bottle/baby food phase of their lives where we stop feeding them processed food from little jars and packets and move onto healthy home-cooked food, they will thrive.
The same rings true for our dogs. Marketed packaged dog food has to have a shelf life for the manufacturers of the food to make any profit from it, so it is made in such a way that the extrusion process (with dry biscuits) heats the ingredients to a very high temperature thus reducing the nutritional value of the food.
Even for us, if we were only to live on ready-meals, we know that it is not sustainable as these meals are packed full of extra ingredients to keep us tempted – addictive high saturated fat, high sugar or high salt ingredients that keep us buying more and all end up as detrimental to our health.
So fresh is definitely best. We then know exactly what we are adding to our food or our pet’s food and with this knowledge and control comes peace of mind that you are doing the right thing for your pet, just as you are doing for yourself.
Why not take it even one step further……..
Why not feed our pets superfoods that are full of anti-oxidants, organic ingredients that we want for our family with all the correct prebiotics for a healthy gut biome and the healthiest range of amino acids from organic plants, not from meat or fish that may be affected by growth hormones, antibiotics and heavy metals?
WE CAN HELP YOU WITH ALL OF THIS!
There is a remarkable story below about dearest 12 year old Golden Retriever Bea:
Bea climbed onto her sofa for the first time in over a year!
What a wonderful review I received from devoted Sue the owner of 12 year old Golden Retriever Bea. Sue always wanted to try a plant-based diet on her dogs but was torn as she listened to people telling her how cruel she was being. Being plant-based herself, and with the death of one of her dogs; Sue found the strength to trust her instincts and feed her remaining elderly dog Bea a 100% plant-based homemade diet.
She bought the supplement from us and diligently made both our homemade recipe and high nutrient treats feeding them exclusively to Bea. When I read this review, I did confess to shedding a few happy tears, as the difference in Bea after only a month on a plant-based diet is remarkable –
I never thought I would be so pleased that Bea could get on the settee, she hadn’t done it for at least 12 months!She is now fully plant-based but the only challenge I have now is portion sizes with food and treats as she loves both 😁Sue – Preston Lancashire
How does a plant-based diet benefit elderly dogs?
1. Elderly dogs need high quality proteins that contain all 10 essential amino acids and the proteins must be readily available and not in excess as this can hasten ageing by being damaging to their kidneys. A balanced plant-based diet made of lentils, peas, sweet potato, brown rice and added VEGDOG supplement provides all the essential amino acids that dogs will selectively choose as they can smell the amino acids in the food. These proteins are naturally gentler and kinder than meat protein.
2. Plant-based diets contain a number of anti-oxidants that protect the cells in the body. Beta-carotene is a natural anti-oxidant found in bright orange sweet potato and fresh carrots for example.
3. Vitamin B12 is a water soluble vitamin and an essential nutrient that helps to keep the body’s nerve and blood cells functioning properly. This is particularly important in our elderly pets who may begin to show signs of dragging of their hindlimbs with spinal nerve dysfunction. This vital vitamin is found naturally in nutritional yeast (as used in our favourite treat recipe that I share with you), as well as in beans, sweet potatoes and cauliflower used in our recipes.
4. Lentils and peas contain not only proteins, but natural vitamins A , K and B as well as iron, potassium, magnesium and they are high in fibre. These are all essential natural nutrients that will benefit and enhance the quality of life of our elderly pets.
5. A healthy gut is key to your dog’s health (and your health), with 70% of the immune system found in the intestines. Plant-based diets made with natural prebiotics and fibre provide all the elements to feed your elderly dog’s immune system and produce a healthy and balanced gut microbiome. Added Vitamin D in the Vegdog supplement (made from natural plant-based sources to satisfy the Vit D3 cholecalciferol requirement in pets) is also a vital immune-stimulant. Our elderly pets need this addition as they may not get out for long walks as much as they used to and be exposed to as much natural sunlight as usual.
6. I always advise that a homemade plant-based diet is fully mashed or blended so that any peas, beans or seeds are completely softened and broken down to allow for maximum intestinal absorption. Dogs do not chew their food as we do – they gulp their food, sometimes without even chewing (or ‘hoovering’ as many owners describe:), and if you do not mash the food, the nutrients will be unavailable to your dog and result in visible chickpeas, beans or seeds littered on your lawn!
7. As a plant-based diet results in a more alkaline environment in the intestine of our dogs, and your elderly dogs also produce a more alkaline environment that could inhibit the adequate absorption of all the essential nutrients such as Zinc, Iron and Vitamins from the intestines. Methionine is added to the VegDog supplement that I send in the Green Paws Package, and it is recommend for this reason as it helps to acidify the urine. Asparagus, peas, brown rice and lentils in our homemade recipes also help to naturally acidify the urine and microbiome environment.
8. With a plant-based diet, you can select kind and natural anti-inflammatories as found in fresh herbs such a basil and oregano. The kindest plant-based anti-inflammatory is Algae oil Omega 3 capsules. These are the purest form of Omega 3 with none of the heavy metals or high levels of Vit A as sometimes found in cod liver oil. Algae oil is where fish get their Omega 3’s from. These are so beneficial for ailing joints and nerves.
9. A plant-based diet contains no hidden saturated fat that we find in high meat diets that are detrimental in humans to heart health and the same effect can be seen in our elderly dogs with underlying genetic heart conditions. Plant-based diets offer one of the best diets for heart health, especially if they are properly balanced with added taurine and L-carnitine for heart muscle function.
10. Cataracts or a dull cloudiness that forms very commonly over our elderly pets’ eyes and affects their sight and quality of life (especially if their hearing begins failing too as is so commonly observed). Feeding a folate-rich diet such as bright green cooked kale and other greens, can actually reverse the onset of cataracts quite dramatically. The word folate actually comes from the word foliage!
11. Carrying extra weight as many of our very loved elderly dogs do, puts extra strain on their already painful joints as well as affecting their breathing, heart and energy levels and making them more predisposed to cancer. Plant-based diets are low in fats and high in fibre and you can visibly see the excess weight just drop off and energy levels return after just a few weeks on a healthier, kinder diet with healthier plant-based treats.
12. Our elderly dogs with signs of cognitive dysfunction (doggy dementia) do better on a diet that is high in medium chain triglycerides as they use this as their energy source when older rather than glucose. Coconut oil has the highest source of medium chain triglycerides and we include desiccated coconut in our homemade recipes for this reason. This means that your elderly dog can stay bonded to you and recognise you for longer by delaying the onset of any doggy dementia.
13. We always worry about our pet’s dental health as they get older and the tartar builds up causing painful red gums. Just as dear little 16 year old Nancy above has shown how beneficial a plant-based diet has been to her teeth, we have seen this too with our own family dog since he has been on a plant-based diet. Less dental concerns means less anaesthesia and dentals in our elderly dogs which all leads to a healthier, longer life. Plaque Off is a 100% plant-based dental supplement made from the goodness of sea plants and ensures healthier, cleaner gums.
14. Highly processed diets and treats filled with preservatives and food colourants can increase the chances of cancer in your pet, especially if they are overweight from eating too many of these artificial treats and dental chews. A healthier more natural diet filled with anti-oxidants, lessens the chances of cancer and ensures that your loyal dog lives to a good old age.
15. The kindest reason for choosing a plant-based balanced homemade diet for elderly pets as Sue chose for Bea, is that plant-based means no animal products at all that may contain added feedlot hormones, growth promoters or zoonotic bacteria (as known to be found on and in raw meat). These ‘toxins’ would all need to be processed and excreted in your dog’s ageing liver and kidneys and so with nothing artificial but goodness from a plant-based diet, the results are remarkable as seen in Bea and her ability after only 1 month on her new healthy and delicious diet to climb onto her favourite comfortable spot!
One further inspiring example of a 100% plant-based dog is that of Bramble, a 25-year-old Border Collie whose wholesome diet of organic brown rice, red lentils, vegetables, and some additional ingredients like yeast extract and herbs earned her a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest living dog in 2002!
Bramble’s owner is Anne Heritage – a devoted animal lover growing up in the North West of England in the 50’s and 60’s.
In her words she not only had Bramble, but “I’ve had seven dogs – three of them lived to 19-years-old, one lived to 20-years-old (a German Shepherd), and then Bramble lived to 25-years-old.”
This is remarkable and can definitely be attributed to a life dedicated to feeding a healthy plant-based natural diet as well as the freedom of exercise and kindness.
We should all aim for this……and it IS achievable as we all want our most loyal companions to live as long and as healthily as possible.
Where to purchase the main plant-based dog foods in the UK
What important nutrients are needed in a balanced homemade plant-based diet?
I work with 2 top vet nutritionists who have formulated the VegDog supplement to ensure that all essential nutrients are present in a homemade 100% plant-based dog food diet
Having an itchy allergic and scratching pet drastically reduces your dog’s quality of life
The contestants had no idea that the family dog, fed two predominantly meat-based meals a day, had a higher carbon footprint than driving the family car
Are you really worried that the extra weight is impacting on your dog’s health?