Why did I turn plant-based at the age of 52?
Two years ago, after watching Sir David Attenborough’s film, I chose to live and work more sustainably. I followed in the footsteps of our millenial vegan son and even though my vet husband didn’t agree, he respected my decision to go plant-based along with our little family dog. I researched plant-based feeding in dogs intensively, and successfully turned our little family dog 100% plant-based! My sceptical husband realised that I had found him the perfect diet……….and so my journey began!
As a very concerned Mum of 4 millenial medical ‘children’, and like most of us in the UK; I watched Blue Planet and witnessed David Attenborough’s mission statement where he urged us to all go plant-based to protect our natural world – I just want to do my bit to help towards a future for our children!
As a GP vet with 25+ years experience, I also grew SO concerned with the rise of non-sustainable raw feeding in pets, as well as the rise in pet obesity that we all see everyday in our clinics. Owners were asking such valid questions about their pet’s health and the planet’s health, and I had no answers, so I threw myself into pet nutrition on the day that I went plant-based.
This 2+ year journey has been fascinating. I have met and spoken to the top vet nutritionists in the UK and I have completed all their courses – one I even did twice! I have met and I now work with the top german vet nutritionists, as well as Dr Clare Knottenbelt and Prof Andrew Knight – everything I have learnt about plant-based feeding has fascinated me and it all makes such perfect sense.
Our little family dog is thriving on his plant-based diet, which has given me the confidence to begin to help other owners and in the last 6 months of 2021, I have helped over a hundred UK pet owners transition their dogs onto a healthy plant-based diet (my most satisfying being owners transitioning from raw to 100% plant-based!). I have worked with vets and private companies to ensure that new products are being developed in the UK as they are in Germany and the growth in this market in the UK is phenomenal.
I certainly do not confess to knowing everything, and now that I am concentrating fully on promoting plant-based feeding of our pets in the UK, and I have given up being a GP vet; I learn something new almost everyday from owners, latest articles that are being published weekly, and the latest trends in pet owner demands in the UK.
My goal now is to teach you everything that I have learnt over the last 2 years of intensive research in this field as we are in the perfect position as veterinary professionals to offer guidance and help to owners who are keen (just as we all are) to live more sustainably and that goes for our pets too. Our little family dog just loves everything that we feed him and I know that absolutely everything I am doing is right and balanced and healthy for him (or I would never do it). My husband (still not plant-based himself), is won over and this has been my greatest reward as he was the one person I had everything to prove as we all adore our little rescue family dog and only want the best for him.
What has been my inspiration?
AS A VET OR VETERINARY PROFESSIONAL, DID YOU KNOW THAT….
One in three owners may be willing to consider switching to a vegan diet for their pet in the future
According to an article published in the Veterinary Record 30th March 2019, ‘An online survey in 2019 revealed that around one in three owners may be willing to consider switching to a vegan diet for their pet in the future’ – a staggering statistic that since the pandemic will have grown substantially!
Read full article here in Vet Record
Dr Marc Abraham OBE appeared on ITV News on 26th April 2021 promoting sustainable plant-based feeding of our pets
The oldest living dog in the UK thrived on a vegan diet and she lived until she was 25 years old!
Bramble, a 25-year-old Border Collie living in Somerset in the late 70’s – 2002 was fed exclusively on organic brown rice, red lentils and vegetables, and this earned her a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest living dog in 2002!
Solo-Vegetal sold by Vetruus is the gentlest form of novel protein for dogs with a meat intolerance or atopic dermatitis
Veterinary-based dermatology company Vetruus started selling Solo-Vegetal in the UK towards the end of 2018. It was initially brought in as a diet for dermatologists to use in exclusion trials as all the other diets were still animal based and didn’t guarantee helping diagnose food allergy as 40% of dogs still react to hydrolysed animal protein diets.
The enormous popularity of 100% balanced Solo-Vegetal has grown substantially over the last year, as owners and vets realise that its nutritional composition is far superior to hydrolysed prescription diets, and it is highly palatable.
Lily’s Kitchen is the first of the large pet food companies to launch a vegan option in November 2020
Lily’s Kitchen was a privately owned company until it was bought out in April 2020 by Nestlé Purina. They launched a vegan brand ‘Lily’s Kitchen Rainbow Stew’ in November 2020 that has proved so popular that it is constantly sold out on their website! 2021 has seen the rise of new and exciting companies in the UK – all independent and ethically-minded. Two of these new companies are owned by vets and all are sustainable and forward-thinking and proving incredibly popular in this growing market.
Very latest published paper from Lincoln University proving that vegan dog food is as palatable to dogs as meat-based or even raw food!
Prof Andrew Knight has published proof in June 2021 for the very first time, proving that a vegan diet is as palatable to our dogs as a meat-based or even raw meat-based foods!
“This is truly groundbreaking. It has long been believed that cats and dogs need to eat other animals for their own health, but what they really need is the right nutrients, which can be manufactured using plant-based, yeast, synthetic and mineral sources. This study shows that cats and dogs appear equally happy when fed vegan meals. We’ve become accustomed to buying meat-based pet food by default – it’s become a habit – but we know now that it’s not a necessity.” says Jimmy Pierson, Director, ProVeg UK.
Read full article here
20% of farmed meat is used in the pet food industry and not sustainable for the planet
Using the organ by-products of the meat industry is a very efficient way of utilising the whole of the cow or sheep or chicken for pet food but it is not the real environmental danger and is a very efficient form of recycling, or all these byproducts would end up in landfill. The biggest threat to the environment in the pet food market is the growth in the ‘human-grade’ or raw meat industry where as a species, we are supposed to be cutting back on eating meat. Using companies that source meat that we could eat for dog food, equates the carbon footprint of a small dog eating a high meat protein diet to be the equivalent of driving a 4×4 over a year!
The packaging of all the pet foods we buy needs to be considered to cut back on plastic
High meat-based foods all tend to be packaged in plastic, while plant-based foods are all sustainably packaged in either paper or recyclable foil as every aspect of the environment is considered when choosing a more sustainable pet food. We also need to consider the carbon footprint of pet foods and the distance they travel and choose local independent companies – I advise on all of this.
The GREEN PAWS PACKAGE below is open to UK VETS AND VET PROFESSIONALS wanting to learn as much as they can in a short space of time about sustainability with feeding our pets. By joining, you are offered 1.5 hours of CPD with online information that will cover –
- Is vegan dog food just a fad or here to stay and what is its history in the UK?
- Where does the protein come from when feeding exclusively plant-based?
- Potential problems when transitioning to plant-based
- What about the concern over dilated cardiomyopathy and grain free diets?
- Environmental impact of pet food
- Health benefits associated with a balanced wholefood diet
- All latest vegan/vegetarian dog foods available in the UK and which is the best to choose
- What not to feed on a plant-based diet
- Sustainability of current pet foods
- In-depth look at hydrolysed diets
- Sustainability with poo bags and cat litter – we advise on the best to use
- Sustainability of our flea treatments and why we need to warn owners of the environmental dangers of blanket over the counter flea drops
- What about cats? – yes there is a highly sustainable insect-based cat food just launched in the UK!
AND ALSO INCLUDED
- Half an hour one on one question session Zoom chat with Arielle to ask those questions that really concern you!
THE COST FOR THE 1.5 HOUR CPD WITH A HALF AN HOUR ONE ON ONE QUESTION TIME VIA ZOOM + A SAMPLE BOX OF THE TOP PLANT-BASED FOODS AVAILABLE TO TRY ON YOUR OWN DOG IS JUST £65 + VAT (with loyalty discounts if you add a friend and a HUGE loyalty discount if I know you!)
PLACES ARE LIMITED AND YOU WILL BE CONTACTED ABOUT AVAILABILITIES FOR THE ZOOM QUESTION SESSION