Lots of people think dogs require meat in their diet but there is scientific evidence to prove that dogs thrive on plant-based diets (7, 31, 11). In fact some of the longest living dogs on record were fed entirely plant-based, like Guinness World Record holder Bramble, who lived to the age of 25 (16,17). In one study reported by world renowned vet and professor Dr. Andrew Knight, the median life expectancy of plant-based dogs was reported to be almost 13 years old (11), which is above average (32) and in certain parts of the world like India and Sri-lanka dogs have also been thriving on plant-based diets for generations (18). The take home message is that dogs need nutrients rather than ingredients, and they can get these from delicious plant-based sources too (31, 4, 5, 6).
Dogs are in fact nutritional omnivores as demonstrated by a robust scientific study published in the reputable journal Nature (1,2) in which it was shown that they have 30 copies of the AMY2B gene responsible for digesting plant-based foods. They have also evolved relatively long intestines (21) (almost as long as humans) and relatively flat surfaces on their molars (31, 22) which they use for digesting and chewing a whole range of foods. The common misconception that dogs are carnivores probably arises from the fact that they are classified in the order Carnivora but so are plenty of other species like bears, skunks, racoons who are omnivores and even the giant panda who thrives on a plant-based diet (20).
Absolutely yes, studies which have looked at how much protein dogs can absorb from plant-based and fungi-based foods like soya and yeast demonstrated over 75% digestibility which is on par with meat-based foods (23, 24, 34, 35 & 25). Both these protein sources also contain all 10 essential amino acids (36, 37) that dogs need to thrive.
The average amount of fibre in a commercial dog food diet is between 2-4%. omni’s plant-powered recipe has a fibre content of 3% which is on par with meat- based diets. In our survey with over 200 dog owners, 100% reported that their dog’s stool consistency was either ‘normal’ or ‘perfect’ and there were no reports of any digestive upsets (data on file).
We are proud that our recipes are nutritionally complete and so include everything your dog needs to thrive. This means omni can be fed as a sole ration. We also fully support a 'flexitarian approach' like meat free lunches or using omni as a mixer. Every little helps to bring some of the health and environmental benefits of plant-power to meal times. Mixing omni with meat/fish will help to add variety into your dog’s diet whilst adding in healthy ingredients with a relatively low carbon footprint.
All the essential fats and oils that dogs need, including omegas 3 and 6 are found in a variety of both meat and plant-based foods (31, 28). omni’s recipe is rich in plant-based sources of these nutrients so your dog will get all the essentials they need.
Feeding raw meat to dogs has become a very popular trend in recent years, but most vets will warn against this practise. This is because the cooking process is vital to help kill off dangerous bacteria like E coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter (9) that have necessitated several food recalls from the market and caused serious illness and even death in both dogs and their owners (40, 41, & 42). There are also several worms and parasites that are only killed off when raw meat is cooked. Dogs are dogs, not wolves and thanks to their domestication over thousands of years, thankfully don’t need to hunt to get their grub nor do they need to eat raw meat, it's just not worth the risk.
Natural is a very relative term, dogs have been domesticated from their wild ancestors, which is arguably not 'natural' but with this their physiology has evolved over the last 10,00 years to that on an omnivore. Despite many glossy marketing claims out there, pet food only has to contain 4% of a meat like ‘chicken’ or ‘beef’ to be labelled as such a flavour (19). What's more, the rules allow for this 4% to be made up of animal derivatives like bone meal, lard and feathers and then the rest is often bulked up with cheap fillers like corn (15). Vets have also been prescribing novel protein diets for dogs with allergies for decades. Now thanks to omni, it’s possible to feed your dog high quality protein rich diets that contain delicious plant-based ingredients that lots of dogs love to eat.
Multiple health benefits have been reported for dogs on plant-based diets such as improved weight control, decreased incidence of cancer, decreased infections, diabetes regression and better skin/coat quality and odor (11). Clinical signs related to allergies and food intolerances in dogs may include itchy ears, hair loss, red skin, paw licking, runny stools and vomiting (38). Animal proteins like beef and dairy are relatively common allergens in dogs (39) so plant-based diets, being naturally void of these could also be a good choice to consider for these cases.
We did a survey with our omni diets involving over 200 dog parents feeding a variety of diets including meat-based options. Over 90% of respondents reported that their dogs 'LOVED omni' and many said that they preferred it to their usual meat-based diet. Feel free to check out our testimonials and to see for yourself how excited dogs are when you serve up a dish of omni.
Omni’s recipe contains brown rice and oats which are grains that are both naturally wheat and gluten free however we cannot guarantee the absence of traces of either of these in the mills in which these ingredients are ground up.
Sadly yes, there have been a large number of recalls due to contamination issues with bacteria, fungi, toxic chemicals and antibiotics. Most recalls and reports of serious illness and deaths in humans from handling pet food or dogs fed contaminated pet foods have been in dogs fed raw meats or dried hide chews such as pigs ears (11,10, 12, 13).
Yes, the European regulatory body (FEDIAF) stipulates strict controls (49) on what should go into pet food, before it can be labelled as nutritionally complete. omni not only meets these guidelines but surpasses the minimum requirements on several key points such as the level of protein.
Feeding dogs a balanced diet that contains all the daily nutrients that dogs need has its challenges. Dogs require a minimum level of protein, can only digest a limited amount of fibre and require a precise balance of essential fats vitamins and minerals to cover all their health needs. This is why omni’s recipe has been formulated by industry experts including vets and nutritionists.
The European Pet Food Industry Federation (FEDIAF) publishes Nutritional Guidelines for Dogs and Cats and keeps under constant review nutrition research literature and frequently updates its Nutritional Guidelines for consistency with current scientific data and knowledge (3). Pet food manufacturers in Europe should comply with FEDIAF Guidelines to produce a COMPLETE and balanced food At OMNI we are committed to having our food analysed after production to ensure it continues to meet these FEDIAF Guidelines
All omni products are periodically sampled and analysed for their nutritional parameters, quality and safety.
It has been reported that the 500 million dogs and cats of the world eat 20% of the planet’s meat. This is estimated to produce 64 million tonnes of CO2 and methane in just the US alone. To put that into context, that’s the equivalent environmental impact of 13.6 million cars (53)! Plant-based dog foods have been shown to use up to 85% fewer greenhouse gases, consumes 61% less water and uses 92% less land, as compared to traditional meat-based diets. It has been estimated that switching a medium sized dog from a traditional meat-based diet to a plant-based diet like omni is equivalent to savings over a dog’s lifetime of 20 years’ worth of an individual’s showers, 22 return flights from London to New York and 348 Tennis Courts
We're delighted to report that we've managed to persuade our manufacturer to switch to a vegan source of vitamin D3 so our recipe is fully vegan.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA has been investigating links between grain free diets and a form of heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) (50). Their findings highlight that the incidence of DCM is likely multifactorial and includes a complex interaction of predisposing factors like breed, age and metabolism as well as possibly dietary components (52). Although omni is not grain free, as a vet founded brand we are committed to keeping a close eye on the conclusions of this investigation and any others that may highlight health concerns with any food ingredients.
It’s also worth mentioning that these and other possible concerns around legumes in pet food are poorly understood and as yet there is no evidence nor mechanisms proven for them causing heart disease - at OMNI the health of dogs is our utmost priority, and so we will continue to follow current investigations closely and be guided by the regulatory bodies FEDIAF and AAFCO, who are aware of the studies but currently have not banned legumes in dog food and seem unlikely to based on current findings.
It is crucial to note that only 1% of dogs in the USA are estimated to be impacted by DCM so it is a relatively uncommon condition despite the widespread existence of both grain free diets and those containing legumes (52). The director of the FDA’s centre for veterinary medicine, Dr. Steven Solomon has acknowledged that “complex scientific messaging” has contributed to confusion and misinterpretation on the link between diet and DCM (51). We also supplement taurine as deficiencies of this amino-acid have in the past been linked to heart disease (14).
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