Two out of five (38%) of pet dogs in the UK could soon follow a mostly plant-based diet, according to new research by fresh pet food platform VetChef.
It found a rise in flexitarianism is being driven by the millennial age group, with over half (56%) of 18-24-year-olds saying they would consider a plant-based diet for their pet dogs.
At the same time, 29% of the same age group said they may cut out meat altogether from their dogs’ diet by feeding them a vegetarian diet. This falls to one in five (21%) for the general population.
VetChef said the findings highlight how a “revolution is underway” in pet nutrition, as owners turn away from heavily-processed foods in favour of more natural ingredients that can benefit pet health and the environment.
VetChef founder and head vet, Dr Joe Inglis, said: “Our research shows clearly that dog owners are increasingly no longer prepared to settle for mass-produced, off-the-shelf pet food. More and more people have a deeper understanding of the link between nutrition and well-being for their animals.
“At VetChef our mission is to support pet owners who are joining the growing numbers of people feeding their dogs a diet of fresh, homemade food.”
He added: “It is intrinsically more eco-friendly than processed foods, and in addition to the basic CO2 savings from less processing, packaging and food miles, preparing a dog’s food at home means owners have the opportunity to move their dogs to a flexitarian or even vegetarian diet.
“And by using the free VetChef recipe planner to create bespoke recipes for each dog, pet parents can be assured that their flexitarian dogs are getting a healthy and perfectly balanced diet.”
The latest research follows the launch of the VetChef’s first carbon ‘pawprint’ tracker, which enables owners to make informed decisions on pet nutrition by analysing ingredients to give recipes a low, medium or high carbon pawprint rating.
Inglis added: “Just including one or two low-carbon homemade meals in your dog’s diet every week could have a significant impact.
“At VetChef we are determined to help pet parents drive down the environmental impact of dog ownership, by showing them how simple it can be to reduce your pet’s carbon pawprint through a balanced and nutritious diet of home-cooked food.”