In Brief

‘Yuppie’ health trend sees owners serving their pets quinoa and coconut

Pet food trends are following their owners’ tastes away from meat and toward wholesome vegetables and ancient grains

Bringing new meaning to the words “I wouldn’t serve that to my dog”, pet food trends are following their owners’ tastes away from meat and toward wholesome vegetables and ancient grains.

The trend originated in the US where wealthy dog-owners have made the switch to “premium, human-grade food that is organic, minimally processed, slow-cooked and loaded with previously niche ingredients like coconut, turmeric and cardamom,” says The Los Angeles Times.

Blue Buffalo, a relatively new brand that bills its products as “farm-to-table inspired canine cuisine”, is now the second most popular dog food brand in the US.

“People want to feed their dogs upscale, yuppie diets rather than buying dog chow,” said Will Draper, veterinary contributor to WebMD. “Otherwise, they feel like they’re cheating their dogs.”

The rise is not just beneficial to their owner’s peace of mind, “dogs aren’t wolves, after all,” says Bloomberg. They’re omnivores, Anna-Kate Shoveller, an assistant professor of animal biosciences at the University of Guelph, told the broadcaster. “They do quite well on a vegetable-based or a lower-protein diet,” she said.

People are also opting for a “grain-free diet for their pets, mirroring their own habits, and many meals contain quinoa instead,” says The Times.

But vets in the UK “have advised against introducing dieting fads that could deprive dogs of vital nutrients or cause digestion problems,” adds the paper.

Emma Milne, who appeared on the BBC programme Vets in Practice, said there was no evidence to suggest that dogs should not eat grains.

“Dogs have evolved alongside us to eat carbohydrates. There is a big movement towards grain-free in dog foods and it is pretty unfounded.

“The most dangerous diet fad is the feeding of raw foods and diets high in meat. These are a big public health risk for the spread of salmonella and campylobacter and also many of them are very unbalanced and can be disastrous.”

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