How can I find a Sustainable Dog Food?
Us dog lovers want to feed our furry family the very best healthy dog food to ensure they live a happy and long life. With the high meat content of dog food however it is estimated that our pets are consuming up to 20% of the worlds meat! Perhaps then we need to consider the impact of our choice of food on the planet? Are there sustainable dog food options on the market to reduce the impact of our pets dietary requirements but maintain their health? Let’s have a look!
What are the choices?
There are many types of dog food available, each with their own pros and cons. With all of these types of food, when considering sustainability, it is important to consider the following;
- the use of ethical , often human grade ingredients
- the use of sustainable, recyclable packing, with minimal waste
- where the ingredients have travelled from, using ingredients as local as possible to reduce the carbon footprint
- the nutritional values for your dog- as verified by a qualified person
- does your dog like it? Creating food waste will do nothing to help the planet
Dry, freeze dried and raw:
Firstly the dry, freeze dried and raw food. Most good quality dry and raw foods will use a free range protein source. Other ingredients, for example vegetables and fruit, should also be human grade and sourced as locally as possible. Trying to use ethical brands that do this is a positive move towards ensuring the ethical treatment of the animals used in dog food. But does it really address the impact of meat production on the earth? It is a step in the right direction though isn’t it?
With more and more humans switching to a plant based diet, there is a growing trend towards their furry family following a vegan dog food diet too. While there is no doubt about the benefits for the planet, there is some debate over feeding a plant based diet to your dog. Some research reports health benefits, for example improved digestion, whilst other sources raise concerns about possible dietary deficiencies as a result of feeding a plant based diet. As with all major changes to a dogs diet, discuss this with a qualified veterinary or dog nutritionist.
Insect based dog food:
Enter a new model of dog food. There are also new insect protein based dog foods appearing on the market. The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has stated that some insect-based dog foods may be better for our pets than steak! That is quite something isn’t it. Much better for the planet, insect protein is easier to farm in large quantities in a small physical space. Insect farming also uses much less soil and water, at just 2% of the land and 4% of the water per kg of protein compared with beef. Insects require no fertiliser or pesticides, and produce very low emissions compared to the high emissions caused by the farming of meat. Of course it is important, as with all types of feed, to research which type of insect dog food to try and go for a quality brand so that your dog is getting a healthy and balanced diet.
Sustainable dog food:
As we move towards addressing our human lifestyle habits, it is only natural that we wish to adopt ethical choices to our dogs lifestyle too. There are many excellent businesses creating balanced, nutritional food with a social conscience. Share with us your favourite brands and why they support the production of sustainable dog food in the comments below.