Despite their personal commitment to cruelty-free living, many a vegan is still the owner of an omnivorous dog.
Lots of people are unsure if it’s actually ok for canines to subsist solely on veggies. Given that the prevailing opinion suggests dogs are natural carnivores, the confusion is understandable.
While mainstream veterinary medicine has given a general nod to plant-based diets for pooches, no one has actually embarked on scientific research in this regard. Sure, plenty of vegan dog parents will tell you anecdotes about their dogs’ improved energy, skin and teeth, but there’s no hard data to support this lifestyle for pups. Yet.
Indogo is out to collect exactly that. Through a crowdfunding campaign, the Canadian company is looking to raise $96,000 to embark on a groundbreaking study. Basically, 20 pooches will undergo at-home, science-based (vegan!) feeding trials while under the watchful eyes of veterinarians and the Indogo Team.
Laura Simonson, the company’s founder, was inspired to create Indogo by her 13-year-young vegetarian-turned-vegan Border Collie Shanti, who had “enough energy to fuel the planet.”
“There is no science-based research in the world to prove plant-based canine nutrition,” Simonson says. “Together, with the vegan, animal and planet loving community worldwide, we intend to cause a paradigm shift in how we view canine nutrition, which in turn will impact our view of human nutrition.
One of the unique aspects of this campaign is its open source nature. In other words, all research results will be made available to the public, as well as to other dog nutrition companies. “Our vision is to produce and share this much-needed work and research to scientific communities worldwide,” Simonson explains.
As far as the future, Indogo has big plans.
“This is only the beginning of a large vision. Anticipating excellent results, our core team and our independent veterinarian panel (which is growing daily to include over 12 veterinarians worldwide) will continue to hold long term, disease-specific and breed-specific studies with the same goal: to prove the health benefits of canine plant-based nutrition,” says Simonson.
The company itself will begin plant-based dog food production in late 2015 in Vancouver, BC. And while they anticipate some push back from traditional industry giants, they don’t plan to compete—or even respond.
“It is our intention, first and foremost to prove, through science, a powerful team of professionals and researchers worldwide, that plant-based nutrition should be considered a part of our dog’s healthy life. Just as it is now with humans.”
In humans, a whole foods, plant-based diet is a clear winner. Science has definitively shown that it leads to lower weight, more energy, a stronger immune system and a lowered risk of contracting chronic diseases, among other benefits. So, isn’t it reasonable to assume plant-based diets are better for dogs, too?
“This vision and movement will be realized through the voice and support of vegans worldwide, which is why we launched a public, global crowdfund,” says Simonson. “Through this crowdfund, we are specifically reaching out to vegan and vegan animal lovers gathering us all together in a common movement. If we prove a dog, considered to a carnivore, happily thrives on a vegan diet, imagine the implications of this paradigm shift. Imagine, everyone, ‘and their dog’ living a peace-filled vegan life. This is a vision big enough for all.
Indeed, it is.
You can find out more about Indogo on its website and support its crowdfund campaign here. The campaign runs through June 5, 2015