As we all become more aware of our carbon footprint and the impact our diet has on the environment as well as our health, a vegan diet is becoming increasingly popular.Research conducted by showed around 7.2 million Brits follow a meat-free diet and of that number, 1.5 million are vegan, with an additional 2 million planning to adopt a vegan diet in the next year.

The rise in popularity of plant-based diets raises an interesting question. Many vegans have a dog at home and may want to consider a meat-free diet for their furry friends too. So what should they do?There are a few important factors to consider before changing your dog’s diet. Here’s a look at the pros and cons.

 Plant-based products are better for the environment

It’s a well-known fact that reducing our consumption of meat and dairy can do wonders for the effects of climate change. A recent study carried out by Dr Sailesh Rao found at least 87% of greenhouse gas emissions come from animal agriculture. The production of meat also requires more land and resources (such as energy and water) than the manufacture of plant-based products. As the effects of global warming take a toll on our planet, the land that could be used for farming of any kind could be drastically reduced. With human populations continuing to grow, this could be devastating for both food and land security, making the vegan diet an appealing choice.

Helpful for dogs with allergies

It’s not uncommon for dogs to develop allergies to gluten, eggs, dairy and even meat. These allergies can cause skin irritation, stomach upsets and occasionally more serious concerns, such as weight loss and aggressive behaviour. A plant-based diet could be beneficial to a dog suffering with allergy symptoms, especially if the sensitivity is triggered by animal-based products.

Risk of malnutrition

The downside to feeding your dog a vegan diet is they may end up lacking essential nutrients, which can have severe consequences if prolonged. Long-term nutrient deficiencies can lead to acute and even chronic disorders. Diabetes and Pancreatitis are common ailments linked to poor nutrition in canines. In general, most dogs would benefit from eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. There is no need for them to eat a solely plant-based diet unless they suffer from food allergies or intolerances which are specific to meat or animal products.

Finally, always speak to your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet.