Did you know if U.S. pets were their own country they’d rank fifth in the world for meat consumption? The environmental impact is substantial, to say the least.
A 2017 UCLA study found traditional pet food produces 64 million tons of carbon dioxide every year, a climate impact equivalent to a year’s worth of driving from 13.6 million cars.
These staggering statistics have more pet food companies on a mission to reduce the carbon “pawprint.” It’s a topic of discussion that is, fortunately, catching on and sparking innovative changes within the pet industry.
Here are five eco-friendly dog food brands you can feel good supporting — because what’s good for the planet is great for your pup!
Related: We Compared the Top Fresh Dog Food Delivery Companies on Ingredients, Price, and What Makes Them Special
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1. Because, Animals
Because, Animals is a Chicago-based pet company that is doing something very innovative and eco-friendly in the pet space, According to its website (and the amount of funding it has received), the company is developing cultured meat to bring to the pet market. Also known as cell-based meat, the protein is grown from animal cells in a lab. While it sounds odd (and we are guessing it will take some time to gain mass acceptance), the concept is more sustainable than conventional factory farming and also more humane.
2. Wild Earth
Backed by Mark Cuban and making a splash on Shark Tank, Wild Earth is a plant-based dog food company using ingredients like yeast, to replace protein found in animals. While feeding a plant-based diet is considered controversial in the dog world (always speak to a vet or nutritionist about your dog’s needs), there is little argument on how it can benefit the planet.
The company is also looking into cell-based meats, focusing more broadly on cleaner dog food.
Related: Breaking the Mold: How This Vegan Dog Food Company Is Taking on the Big Brands
Chippin is chipping in to save the planet with alternative proteins. The company delivers on creating high-quality dog food, treats, and toppers that help save critical resources by opting for complete superfood proteins, such as crickets, spirulina, and silver carp. By doing so, it reportedly uses 80 percent fewer resources compared to traditional dog food.
4. The Honest Kitchen
The Honest Kitchen formulated the first “human grade” food for pets in 2002. It now has nearly 100 food products made with 100 percent whole foods. And while its meals do use meat, it is committed to only using humanely raised meats and wild caught fish, as well as organic produce.
When it comes to packaging, The Honest Kitchen solely uses 100 percent reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable materials (e.g. Sustainable Forestry Initiative certified paper) that are also BPA-free. It is an approved member of Green America and is one of only four companies to receive the highest four-leaf rating from Greenopia in 2011.
It’s not just startups looking to make a positive impact on the earth. Mars recently unveiled its plant-first formula called Karma. Sixty percent of its ingredients come from plants, like pumpkin, kale, spinach, and blueberries, but it also has meat (chicken or fish). The company is committed to ensuring none of its packaging ends up in landfills and is working with TerraCycle, a national recycling program.
Nestle is also experimenting with plant-based dog food along with insect dog food.