Roles of plant-based ingredients and phytonutrients in canine nutrition and health

J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2022 May;106(3):586-613. doi: 10.1111/jpn.13626. Epub 2021 Sep 8.


Dogs possess the ability to obtain essential nutrients, established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), from both animal- and plant-based ingredients. There has been a recent increase in the popularity of diets that limit or completely exclude certain plant-based ingredients. Examples of these diets include 'ancestral' or 'evolutionary' diets, raw meat-based diets and grain-free diets. As compared to animal sources, plant-derived ingredients (including vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds) provide many non-essential phytonutrients with some data suggesting they confer health benefits. This review aims to assess the strength of current evidence on the relationship between the consumption of plant-based foods and phytonutrients (such as plant-derived carotenoids, polyphenols and phytosterols) and biomarkers of health and diseases (such as body weight/condition, gastrointestinal health, immune health, cardiovascular health, visual function and cognitive function) from clinical trials and epidemiological studies. This review highlights the potential nutritional and health benefits of including plant-based ingredients as a part of balanced canine diets. We also highlight current research gaps in existing studies and provide future research directions to inform the impact of incorporating plant-based ingredients in commercial or home-prepared diets.

Keywords: carotenoids; dogs; phytochemicals; phytonutrients; polyphenols.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet* / veterinary
  • Dogs
  • Fruit
  • Nutritional Status
  • Phytochemicals* / pharmacology
  • Plants
  • United States
  • Vegetables


  • Phytochemicals