And what you can do!
Unknown to most pet parents, the pet industry is a massive player the destruction of our environment. 25% of all protein raised in the U.S. goes to feed pets. If the US pet food market was ranked as a country for yearly meat consumption it would rank #5 in the world. This has a huge environmental impact. A 2017 study estimated the carbon footprint of pet food at 64M tons of carbon dioxide per year in the U.S. alone. This is an insane amount of pollution. Considering that Kibble is not even good for your dog… why are we producing it at the expense of the environment?
The more you research the environmental crisis that surrounds pet food the more daunting it seems. Many big corporations have the means to make positive changes to decrease their environmental impact, but with seemingly no pressure from the industry they don’t feel the need. Pet ownership is on the rise, as a result, demand for pet food is too. As owners become more aware of the ‘paw print’ of pet food, there has been a slow transition towards less emissions-intensive food options for their companions.
Some solutions that decrease the negative impact your dog’s environmental impact include, up-cycling and feeding a more plant forward diet options. Up-cycling has emerged in recent years as a way for food producers to add value to a surplus of ingredients that otherwise might have been wasted. This can look like excesses of ‘ugly’ vegetables being sold and then made into nutritious snacks. These large waste streams are now being up-cycled into safe healthy dog foods. Turning unused foods into nutritious dog foods cuts down on the plague of food waste while having a positive environmental impact. Feeding your dog the day-old fruits and vegetables from your fridge is a small yet effective way to cut down on food waste.
Plant forward options for dogs often are often overlooked as they are often cited as being ‘unnatural’. Many studies have found that feeding your dog a balanced plant-based diet can be completely safe as long as they are nutritionally adequate and well balanced. Producing meat requires more land, water and energy and pollutes more than plant-based foods. Some emerging pet food ingredients that meet these needs are quinoa, duckweed, sunflower seeds, green leaves and microalgae.
The easiest way to cut down on your dog’s ‘paw print’?
Buy local! Buying dog food from a small local company cuts out all kinds of greenhouse gases involved in the manufacturing, and shipping. Support your economy and find a dog food company with interests that are aligned with yours. Chances are your dog will love the change in food!