Dogs and humans are omnivores which means that physiologically and anatomically they are designed through evolution to eat animals and plants. Animals contain proteins which are essential for the survival of dogs and humans. However, a study suggests that swapping meat for plant protein derived from beans, lentils and nuts may increase the lifespan of humans (and I’d like to add dogs).
The research has been published in The BMJ. It found that diets rich in protein were linked to a lower risk of death from any cause. But here’s the deal: plant protein had a stronger effect in this regard.
The conclusions were arrived at from the results of existing research in 32 documents involving 715,128 people. Where there was a higher intake of protein there was a 6% lower risk of dying from any cause. Those participants whose intake of protein was the highest were 8% less likely to die compared to those whose intake was the lowest.
Further, as the calories that the participant got from plant protein rose by 3% the risk of death dropped by 5% by any cause. The sources of plant protein include broccoli, peas, spinach, lentils, chickpeas, nuts, beans and quinoa. The researchers said that plant protein had a positive effect on blood sugar levels, cholesterol and blood pressure.
Domestic dogs are also omnivores. Plant protein in dog food is perfectly acceptable and may be superior to animal protein based upon this research. I note that the manufacturers are alert to this. The argument is that it doesn’t matter where the amino acid combinations come from, be they plant or animal. Interestingly the research indicates that when they come from plants the benefits are greater than if they come from the flesh of animals.