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How to Feed Your Dog Sustainably

Last updated: June 8, 2022

Your furry best friend has been humanity's best friend for over 10,000 years. Dogs were the first animals we domesticated, making them our earliest companions in life. We have lived side by side with them for so long that we cannot distinguish puppies and companion animals from human babies or partners, due to the release of oxytocin in our brain, making us want to touch, cuddle and care for them. The best way to care for your pooch is to make sure that they are not only eating a healthy and nutrient-rich diet but also in a way that is conducive to a small environmental impact.

In this article, we will aim to define what sustainable feeding is, and we'll take a look at some of the best food your dog can have, including vegan dry food, vegan wet food, and vegetarian wet dog food.

What Is Sustainable Feeding?

Dogs share many of our nutritional needs, but their digestive tracts differ from ours. You may have heard that raw meat and bones are good for dogs, but this is not exactly the case. Due to their shorter digestive tract, dogs cannot absorb nutrients extremely quickly, so diets that are high in fiber and slow-release foods such as red meat can end up irritating the digestive tract and other problems such as constipation and vomiting.

Sustainable feeding considers this - it must already be a health-conscious meal. The other considerations we should have regarding a sustainable food product are:

1. Ethics - How the food was made. Since we are taking a look at vegan and vegetarian options, it is common for the products to be cruelty-free.

2. Organic ingredients: Was the food prepared via organic and sustainable agricultural methods, and what type of ingredients are in the product?

3. Eco-friendly: was the packaging and transportation done locally? If not, were the methods to get here destructive to the atmosphere?

We want to take the guesswork out of these questions and do the research for you. Read on to see the best sustainable brands in each category so that your omnivorous pup has plenty of options.

Dogs share many of our nutritional needs, but their digestive tracts differ from ours. You may have heard that raw meat and bones are good for dogs, but this is not exactly the case. Due to their shorter digestive tract, dogs cannot absorb nutrients extremely quickly, so diets that are high in fiber and slow-release foods such as red meat can end up irritating the digestive tract and other problems such as constipation and vomiting.

Best Vegan Dog Food

For our first category, we'll be taking a look at vegan dog food, specifically, dry dog food that can be used as treats, or as a supplement to any meal, while keeping in mind the sustainability points we've made earlier in the article. For this section, the best overall brand that hits all the areas has to be the Petaluma brand. While all of their products are made with sustainability in mind, we will be looking specifically at the roasted peanut butter and sweet potato oven-baked bites.

  • The product is 100% plant-based, with ingredients such as chickpeas, potato proteins, peas, oats, carrots, and sweet potatoes. It also contains a small number of wet ingredients, such as peanut butter, sunflower oil, and a little bit of peanut oil.
  • Organic and nutritious: all ingredients are sourced organically and kept organic within the baking process. It has been formulated to meet the exact needs of all breeds of dogs and meets the AAFCO requirements for healthy adult dog maintenance. It has all the vitamins and minerals a growing (or grown) pup needs.
  • Very little environmental impact: ingredients are baked with a high-powered solar powered oven, making the cooking process extremely sustainable. The organic sourcing and cooking process reduces greenhouse gas emissions, conserves water, and ensures farmland is used to its maximum capacity.

Best Vegan Wet Dog Food

Wet dog food constitutes an entire meal, and should also be sustainable in its sourcing and feeding process. The brand that meets these categories is the Honest Kitchen grain-free wet mix. The mix is designed to be prepared in a matter of seconds. You just need to add water and your dog's favorite protein source.

  • Minimal environmental impact: Honest kitchens dehydrate their wet food mixes, reducing the weight and amount of packing needed. This not only minimizes greenhouse gas emissions but also reduces shipping costs and utilizes shipping space to its fullest.
  • Entirely plant-based: The mix is entirely plant-based, making it vegan-friendly and also sourced ethically. It is also GMO-free and has been verified as such. The mix is 100% compatible with a human diet, so no extra "dog fillers" were added.
  • Domestically made: The food is minimally processed and made in the USA, and the company discloses where all ingredients are sourced from, 82% of them from North America, cutting down on the supply chain process.

Best Vegetarian Wet Dog Food

You may notice Wild Earth from the shark tank. They are a sustainable vegetarian and vegan dog food company that is shaking the industry upside down on what it means to eat sustainably.

  • High in protein: Wild earth is one of the companies that make protein-rich dog food that is 100% plant-based. Although it tastes like umami, there are no meat or fish additives in the food. Just add water and broth to make this into wet food.
  • Rich in vitamins and minerals: The whole foods are clean and organic, making this an extremely sustainable diet that hits all of your pooch's macronutrient needs.
  • Low carbon footprint: Wild Earth promises that the food is responsibly sourced and that their food requires 95% less water and emits 96% less carbon dioxide than other meat-based dog food. 

FAQs

Should my dog eat vegan?

Yes. A vegan diet is more sustainable and has the same benefits (if not, more) as a meat or fish-based diet. We often think that dogs are carnivorous, but they are just like us, omnivores that should be eating more plant-based foods rather than animal-based ones, as their digestive tract is much more sensitive than ours.

Can you make vegan dog food at home?

Yes, and it is much easier than a meat-based diet. As long as you are feeding them enough nutrients, popular foods are sweet potatoes, peas, and peanut butter. Consider supplements if your dog needs extra support.

Should my dog's food be grain-free?

Grain is not necessarily bad for your dog, it all comes down to allergies. For example, if someone has celiac disease, they cannot eat gluten. If your dog gets rashy or has digestive problems when eating grain, this may be a good sign to check with their vet and purchase food that only has "grain-free" on the label.

 


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