Ethical pet firm HOWND has pledged to keep developing its range of plant-based products despite a leading veterinary association claiming that the ‘jury is still out’ on vegan diets.
“We will continue creating complete plant-based products which offer real health benefits for dogs,” said Jo Amit, co-founder of award-winning HOWND.
“We want to educate pet parents on the benefits of plant-base nutrition and hope to reduce the number of dogs who suffer from allergies."
Jo, pictured above with co-founder Mark Hirschel, added: “Ultimately, we want to be a leading brand that focuses on health and well-being while playing an important role in reducing animal cruelty and damage to our already fragile planet.”
Tremendous interest has been shown in HOWND’s Plant Powered Superfood following the success of the company’s plant-based Hemp Wellness treats.
But this week Justine Shotton, president of the British Veterinary Association, posted concerns about plant-based diets for dogs on the organisation’s website.
“From the veterinary profession’s perspective, there just isn’t enough scientific evidence currently to safely promote a vegan diet for dogs and cats,” she said.
“For now, the bottom line is that the jury is still very much out as to whether we should be feeding our pets a vegan diet.
“What we know is that your pet needs a balanced diet that is tailored for their age, health, weight and lifestyle. My advice is to always talk to your vet before changing any aspect of your pet’s diet – problems can result from all sorts of non-traditional diets, including vegan diets but also raw meat diets, feeding bones, and home-made diets.
“Current advice may change as new research takes place – the veterinary profession will continue to review all new evidence so that our advice is based on robust science.”
There has been a lot of media interest around the suitability of vegan diets for dogs, with some newspaper headlines warning dog owners could face hefty fines for putting their pets on a veggie diet.
But Jo Amit believes the recent media coverage has helped raise awareness of vegan diets for pets.
“This was an attempt at fake news by meat lobbyists,” she said. “There was a warning of fines if people did not feed their pets ‘suitable diets’ – in other words, vegan or vegetarian food that was not complete. The ‘Jail-Fine’ headline actually backfired, leading to a 90% surge in online searches for vegan/vegetarian dog food in both the UK and US, resulting in increased exposure for all plant powered food brands. So thanks to the lobbyists for the PR.”
One leading figure who believes in the benefits of plant-based diets for pets is Andrew Knight, a veterinary professor of animal welfare.
He said: “The environmental and animal welfare impacts of animal-based pet foods are substantial, and increasingly of concern to consumers. However, there is no scientific or practical reason why diets cannot be formulated entirely from plant, mineral and nutritional additives to meet all the nutrient requirements for dogs, and indeed, other species.
“Pet food companies are to be commended for creating such nutritionally sound alternatives, which safeguard the health not only of companion dogs, but also ‘food’ animals and the environment.”