Can I feed my cat and dog a vegan diet? The latest scientific evidence in a simple blog post
April 20, 2023


Are you considering a vegan diet for your furry friend? The rise of veganism and vegetarianism has led many pet owners to question whether their dogs and cats can thrive on a plant-based diet. While it is possible to feed your pets a vegan diet, it must be done carefully and with consideration of their unique nutritional needs. This blog explores the available studies – 16 in total – on the health implications of vegan diets for cats and dogs, highlighting potential nutrient deficiencies and health benefits. So, if you’re considering a plant-based diet for your pet, read on to learn more about the risks and benefits.


According to the study, there isn’t much evidence to suggest that a vegan diet would harm your pet. In fact, most of the animal-based parameters were normal or close to it. While there were a few deviations, it’s important to note that there weren’t any major clinical signs reported.

The study also addressed concerns around nutrient deficiencies, such as taurine, folate, and cobalamin. Although these deficiencies have been cited in the literature, the study found only a limited number of studies that measured these outcomes, and the evidence of these deficiencies arising was also limited. Some of the alterations were even attributed to other factors, like secondary disease.

Overall, the study’s findings suggest that there’s little evidence of major adverse effects resulting from vegan diets in pets. It’s important to note, however, that these conclusions should be interpreted cautiously, given the breadth and quality of the evidence presented. So, if you’re considering a vegan diet for your furry friend, make sure to consult with your veterinarian and consider all factors carefully.

Evidence Considerations

Are vegan diets healthy for dogs and cats? This is a hotly debated topic that has sparked many studies, but only sixteen studies have actually looked at health-related outcomes in animals fed vegan diets [1]. Unfortunately, most of these studies have used small sample sizes ranging from 2 to 34 animals, which makes it hard to draw firm conclusions about the benefits or risks of vegan diets.

Even when larger survey studies were conducted, there were inherent biases due to participant selection, making it hard to determine the reliability of lay people making judgments around subjective concepts like health and body condition. Furthermore, many studies had short dietary intervention periods lasting only weeks or months. During this time, deficiencies may not have developed or clinical signs may not have been apparent.

Out of 13 studies that directly measured outcomes in animals, 9 employed study designs that sit high within the evidence hierarchy, such as randomised controlled trials or experimental studies. However, the limited sample sizes and challenges inherent in crossover designs, such as choosing suitable washout periods, do limit certainty in the findings of these studies.

While the evidence base is somewhat inconclusive, there is a need for future research to employ larger sample sizes and to perform direct animal-based studies to generate firm conclusions around the suitability of vegan diets in dogs and cats. So, should you feed your furry friend a vegan diet? It’s best to consult with a veterinarian to determine what type of diet is best for your pet’s individual needs.

In conclusion, while there have been a limited number of studies on vegan diets for pets, larger sample sizes are needed to draw firm conclusions about the health benefits or risks of these diets. Hopefully, future studies will address these limitations, and we can provide more definitive recommendations on this important topic.

Pet Owner Perceptions

Many pet owners are making the switch for various reasons including health, welfare of production animals, and environmental sustainability. And the good news is that most pet owners report that their animals have had fewer health disorders and less need for veterinary visits on a vegan diet. In fact, in one study, cats and dogs fed a vegan diet had a reduced prevalence of several disorders including dental, gastrointestinal, hepatic, ocular, cardiac, dermatopathies, and renal issues.

But what about the negative effects? The only downside reported by pet owners was an increase in stool volume, which was not accompanied by any change in stool consistency. And while there is a dearth of primary data on the proportion of pet owners that feed vegan diets, there is increasing commercial interest in vegetarian and vegan pet food options. In fact, three times as many vegetarian pet foods were launched in the UK in 2014 compared to the previous three years.

If you’re considering making the switch, it’s important to note that some pet owners may make a dietary change due to their animal not accepting traditional diets. And while there are still some barriers to converting to vegan diets such as a need for further information on nutritional adequacy, veterinary approval, and greater availability of commercial diets, 44% of pet owners surveyed said they would realistically choose alternative diets, including vegetarian and vegan options, if they offered their desired attributes.

So, what do veterinarians think about all this? It’s not entirely clear, with veterinary professional associations being silent on the issue and deferring to individual veterinary advice. But it’s possible that the advice of veterinarians is a significant barrier to diet conversion, based on outdated education or a lack of understanding of the evidence available.

In conclusion, the rise of veganism in society is not limited to humans. Many pet owners are choosing to switch to a vegan diet for their furry friends due to various reasons such as health, welfare of production animals, and environmental sustainability. While there are still some barriers to converting to a vegan diet, many pet owners perceive it as beneficial and are interested in alternative diets that offer their desired attributes. It’s important to do your research and consult with your veterinarian before making any dietary changes for your pet.

Cats vs. Dogs

Pets are an integral part of our lives and ensuring that they are well-fed and healthy is crucial. While there are many options available for pet food, there are concerns around feeding dogs and cats plant-based diets. The carnivorous nature of these animals means that they require certain minerals, vitamins, and amino acids that may be deficient in a plant-based diet.

Cats, in particular, have been the focus of concerns as they are obligate carnivores and cannot manufacture certain nutrients themselves. However, limited evidence suggests that adverse health impacts may not necessarily arise in cats fed vegan diets. Major concerns were only noted around deficiencies in taurine and folate, and these were not seen across all cats sampled, suggesting that local factors may have been at play.

Supplementation is an important consideration in this regard, and commercially prepared vegan pet foods appear to be safe for use in cats and dogs. While more research is needed in this field, recent studies have shown positive results. For instance, a study conducted in 2022 evaluated the health perception of 100 pet owners providing extruded vegan food to dogs, and the findings were overtly positive with the food being palatable and leading to no adverse changes in appetite or body weight.

In conclusion, while concerns remain around feeding pets plant-based diets, it appears that commercially prepared vegan pet foods can be safe for cats and dogs. The key is to ensure that all necessary supplements are provided, and further research is needed to make more definitive recommendations. So, while it’s possible to make pets go vegan, it’s important to tread with caution and consult with your vet before making any dietary changes to your pet’s diet.


According to a recent review, there is no conclusive evidence that vegan diets have major negative impacts on the health of dogs or cats. However, the number of studies investigating this question is limited and often uses small sample sizes or short feeding durations. While data from pet owner surveys suggest potential benefits of feeding pets a vegan diet, such studies may be subject to selection biases and subjective outcomes.

Despite this, the findings were relatively consistent across multiple studies and suggest that commercially produced vegan diets may be a safe option for pet owners. However, more large-scale population-based studies are needed to investigate dietary concerns such as taurine and folate deficiencies. For now, if you’re considering a vegan diet for your pet, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian and consider using a commercially prepared vegan pet food.

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