Criticism of Lewis Hamilton feeding his dog a vegan diet needs to be discussed

There is criticism of Lewis Hamilton feeding his British bulldog a vegan diet in line with his own diet. He very much supports veganism. He said that his British bulldog, Roscoe, suffered with skin allergies, breathing problems and that his joints would hurt. Three months ago, he transferred his dog to a vegan diet and claims it has transformed him. He said:

He now doesn’t have any breathing issues, his throat is no longer restricted, and he doesn’t overheat like you did before and he loves to run.

A massive transformation…

Lewis Hamilton and BBC award with Roscoe
Lewis Hamilton and BBC award with Roscoe. Photo: in public domain.

Hamilton is smart and can obtain the best advice

Firstly, I would like to make the point that the news media should not be too eager to criticise Lewis Hamilton. I do think that he suffers racism, often in a subtle way and this may be an example. He is wealthy and has to hand the best veterinary and dietary advice that he can purchase. I am sure that he has ensured that his dog’s diet meets the nutritional demands of a canine. Because he feeds a vegan diet does not mean that he doesn’t add supplements to ensure that the diet is balanced.

Dogs are omnivores even though they are classified under the genus Carnivora. You cannot just provide a vegan or vegetarian diet to a dog without a concern for the dog’s essential nutrients. But you can balance a vegan diet with supplements. The objective, as is the case for Hamilton, is to remove meat from his dog’s diet and I presume also to break free of commercial pet food. Commercial pet food does not have a great reputation for quality. Often commercially manufactured pet food both for cats and dogs is of dubious quality.

In addition, allergies are difficult to cure and can sometimes be caused by pet food. So, all in all, I would be cautious before criticising Lewis Hamilton. He’s a sensible person with a good brain and he loves his dog. I am sure that he is doing the right thing on diet.

Criticism of his selection of dog

However, he can be criticised in another respect. He purchased a purebred dog with known hereditary ailments. It doesn’t take a lot of research to find out that the British bulldog has inherited illnesses and conditions due to selective breeding of exactly the kind that Lewis Hamilton describes which affects his dog. They have major respiratory problems, they overheat, they can suffer from severe skin allergies, degenerative spines, hip dysplasia and joint and ligament injuries. Pretty much a mirror image of Roscoe’s health issues. This is a warning to adopters of purebred dogs: check out the health issues as well as the appearance.

I have to conclude, therefore, that the main reason why Roscoe suffers from the elements that Lewis Hamilton has described is because they are inherited. They are in the dog’s DNA, in his genes and all you can do is to mitigate these problems. Perhaps Lewis has done that by improving his diet but I’m sure that this new vegan diet will not cure Roscoe’s problems entirely but only partly. In the long term I’d expect Roscoe’s health to deteriorate.

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Speciesism - 'them and us' | Cruelty - always shameful

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