Unconventional diets for dogs and cats – Comparing diets

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7. Comparing diets

Published 15 August 2022 | Updated 15 May 2024

There is currently little research comparing the effect of different types of diet on pet health, as with the exception of microbiological contamination or acute nutritional deficiency these studies need large sample sizes and long-term data collection. However, there are a number of research papers comparing owner perception of their pet health based on type of diet fed, although it is important to be aware of potential selection and reporting bias in these studies.

  • Hiney, K. et al. (2024) Fecal microbiota composition, serum metabolomics, and markers of inflammation in dogs fed a raw meat-based diet compared to those on a kibble diet. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2024.1328513
  • Knight, A., Bauer, A. and Brown. H. (2023) Vegan versus meat-based cat food: Guardian-reported health outcomes in 1,369 cats, after controlling for feline demographic factors. PLoS ONE, 18 (9), e0284132. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0284132 
  • Knight, A. (2023) The relative benefits for environmental sustainability of vegan diets for dogs, cats and people. PLoS ONE, 18 (10), p. e0291791. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0291791
  • Choi, B., Kim, S. and Jang, G. (2023) Nutritional evaluation of new alternative types of dog foods including raw and cooked homemade-style diets. Journal of Veterinary Science, 24 (5) p. e63.
  • Trewin, I. and Kathrani, A. (2023) Pre‐illness dietary risk factors in dogs with chronic enteropathy. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1111/jvim.16872
  • Karp, S.I. et al. (2023) Comparison of echocardiography, biomarkers and taurine concentrations in cats eating high- or low-pulse diets. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 25 (2). https://doi.org/10.1177/1098612X231154859
  • Fischer, K.E., Rush, J.E. and Freeman, L.M. (2023) Pit bull–type breeds with dilated cardiomyopathy eating nontraditional diets improve after diet change (2015–2022). Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. https://doi.org/10.2460/javma.23.01.0025
  • Jaffey, J.A. et al. (2022) Effects of a whole food diet on immune function and inflammatory phenotype in healthy dogs: A randomized, open-labeled, cross-over clinical trial. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 9, 898056. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2022.898056
  • Kratzer, G.R et al. (2022) Home-cooked diets cost more than commercially prepared dry kibble diets for dogs with chronic enteropathies. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, https://doi.org/10.2460/javma.22.07.0284
  • Owens, E.J. et al. (2022) Comparison of echocardiographic measurements and cardiac biomarkers in healthy dogs eating nontraditional or traditional diets. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, https://doi.org/10.1111/jvim.16606
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