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Dogs: Rethinking the status quo of nutrition

There are approximately 70 million domestic dogs and 74 million domestic cats in the United States. The next closest country in domestic dogs is Brazil, which has less than half as many as the United States of America.

With so many domesticated animals in the United States, the pet food industry has grown into a billion-dollar business. Consider, if America’s dogs and cats were their own country, their meat consumption would rank fifth in the world.

As the public grows more aware of the environmental consequences of meat consumption, people have been seeking alternative ways to incorporate protein in their diets. A more significant increase in pets who consume meatless diets could also be in the works.

The True One Medicine Initiative (TOMI) at Western University of Health Sciences was founded by Dr. Annika Linde and Dr. Tonatiuh Melgarejo in 2021. As faculty members of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University, they started the initiative to advance species-spanning medicine through evidence-based research and ethical decision-making in science. How the medical community treats humans impact animals and vice versa. The True One Medicine Initiative looks to share information for the betterment of all who inhabit this planet.

Dr. Melgarejo and Dr. Linde recently presented their research at the 2023 Western Veterinary Conference that reveals evidence that dogs of different breeds can all live healthy and happy lives with an entirely meatless diet.

Dr. Melgarejo explains saying, “We have been conditioned to believe of dogs as descendants from wolves that need meat to survive. When we look at the world at large, there are plenty of countries that have dogs who are thriving without meat as their source of protein.”

Dr. Linde continues, “Our research is ongoing, but we have data that shows that plant-based diets can not only sustain dogs, but it often lessens their risk of suffering from numerous common diseases.”

According to Dr. Melgarejo and Dr. Linde:

  • The phase-out of animal agriculture in the diets of America’s pets would greatly reduce the impact of atmospheric greenhouse gases on the planet.
  • Before people make a dietary switch for their pets, they should talk to their veterinarian.
  • The data from the soon to be published study proves the need for the medical community to question the status quo.
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