Do our dogs live longer being plant-based?
The Oldest Living Dog Was On A Plant-Based Wholefood Diet!
An 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 South West of England in the 60’s. Read her remarkable story here.
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.”
How does a plant-based diet benefit elderly dogs?
Elderly dogs need high quality proteins
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 overloading their kidneys. A balanced plant-based diet made of lentils, peas, sweet potato, brown rice and added 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 with pure ingredients.
Vit B12 is so important for elderly dogs
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 well as in beans, sweet potatoes and cauliflower.
A healthy gut is key to your dog’s health, with 70% of the immune system found in the intestines
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 pre and probiotics are needed in the form of a supplement to help your elderly pet if you choose to homecook for them as their teeth struggle with hard biscuits.
A homemade plant-based diet must always be fully mashed or blended
A homemade plant-based diet must always be 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!
As a plant-based diet results in a more alkaline environment in the intestine of our dogs
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. We advise on how to reverse this in our Plant-Based Dog Nutrition Course.
A plant-based diet contains no hidden saturated fat that we find in high meat diets
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 as found in the foods that we recommend in the Plant-Based Dog Nutrition Course.
Hidden saturated fats can also result in pancreatitis which is the last thing you want your dog to suffer from as it is SO painful (common if fed a high meat diet). Plant-based fats tend to be kinder and unsaturated with far less risk of your dog’s pancreas being affected.
Feeding a folate-rich diet can actually reverse the onset of cataracts quite dramatically
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!
Carrying extra weight as many of our very loved elderly dogs do, puts extra strain on their joints
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.
Our elderly dogs with signs of cognitive dysfunction (doggy dementia) do better on a plant-based diet
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 (we share these recipes with you in the Plant-Based Dog Nutrition Course). This means that your elderly dog can stay bonded to you and recognise you for longer by delaying the onset of any doggy dementia.
Highly processed diets and treats filled with preservatives and food colourants can increase the chances of cancer
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.