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This is the most complete guide to finding the best sustainable dog food and learning about the impact of dog food on the environment and why it’s important that you consider buying eco-friendly pet food.
Pets can have a huge ecological footprint, and their food is a significant contributor. Did you know the environmental impact of a dog is equivalent to having a large SUV? Now multiply that by the 90 plus million dogs that live in the United States. Are you starting to get the picture?
But what about meat and agricultural production for pet food? How much does that affect our planet? Can you guess how many tons of carbon dioxide are produced by pet food every year and what other environmental consequences feeding your dog store-bought dog food has on the planet?
Today we shed light on the staggering statistics that have more dog parents turning to more sustainable diets and how you can reduce your dog’s carbon “pawprint” through food.
We also ranked and reviewed the best sustainable dog food brands and what makes their food so green. These sustainable dog food companies are committed to creating delicious, nutritious food while minimizing their impact on the environment. Read on for the scoop!
If you are new to sustainable dog food or looking to learn more, we highly encourage you to read Chapter 1 before the other Chapters. Already familiar? Jump straight to Chapter 2, where we’ve reviewed the best sustainable dog food by category and needs. For more in-depth information about this topic, visit Chapter 3.
Best Sustainable Dog Food (Our Top Picks At Glance)
Here is a quick overview of just four of our top picks (by category) for the best sustainable dog foods.
You can click here to go straight to our best sustainable dog food reviews, but we encourage you to read the first few sections of this article to make a more educated decision when buying sustainable dog food.
Learn all about sustainable dog food
What Is Sustainable Dog Food?
Sustainability is defined as meeting our needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.
In business and policy contexts, sustainability is the ability to maintain or improve living standards without damaging or depleting natural resources for present and future generations.1 In layman’s terms, it is about our children and our grandchildren and the world we will leave them.
The concept of sustainability integrates three core “pillars”: economic development, environmental health, and social equity. Adopting sustainable practices effectively creates thriving, healthy, diverse and resilient communities for the current generation and generations to come.
Sustainable dog food brands follow these sustainability principles and implement policies to support ecological, social, and economic development. Sustainable dog food companies leverage green practices and technologies that lessen the land and water used and greenhouse gasses emitted during the food manufacturing process. They also strive to promote economic and social development in their communities. Eco-friendly pet food manufacturers recognize that resources are finite and should be used wisely and conservatively to focus on long-term priorities and implications.
Why Feed Sustainable Dog Food? The Importance
Similar to the production of human foods, pet food is a significant contributor to the production of greenhouse gas emissions.
Sustainable living experts and our research show that animal agriculture can be detrimental to our planet’s health. It’s the leading cause of climate change, habitat destruction and the exploitation of fisheries, forests and other resources.
Here is a list of research-based statistics that showcases the negative impact of pet food manufacturing on our planet and why it’s essential to feed your dog sustainably.
- Population and diet impact. Over 163 million dogs and cats in the United States consume animal products as part of their diets. Their diet constitutes about 25–30% of the environmental impacts of meat production in terms of the use of land, water, fossil fuel, phosphate, and biocides. Dog and cat meat product consumption is responsible for releasing up to 64 million tons of carbon dioxide (methane and nitrous oxide), two powerful greenhouse gasses per year.2
- Putting things into perspective. The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) professor Gregory Okin correlates the environmental impact of meat consumption by pets in the United States to a years’ worth of driving by 13.6 million cars. Moreover, if the USA pet population could own their own country, it would rank fifth in global meat consumption behind Russia, Brazil, the United States and China. Furthermore, there are more than 844 million pet dogs and cats on the planet today.3,4 If you think about these numbers, the environmental impact is substantial, to say the least.
- Land required for dog food production. Arable land needed to produce feed for dogs varied between 10 and 20 % of the national land resources. It’s estimated that 24.1 million hectares of arable land are required in the USA to produce feed for dogs, or about 2000 m² of land per dog.5 Land allocation for animal agriculture is contributing to significant losses in biodiversity of wildlife, as well as plant loss that would otherwise contribute to ecosystem health and removal of greenhouse gases. Livestock also contributes to significant land usage and deforestation.
- Meant and protein demand. Meat (protein) is the central ingredient in commercial pet food. Some companies add protein between 18 and 50 percent when according to AAFCO, adult dogs need a minimum of 18% protein. This excess protein is just being excreted/wasted. Unfortunately, meat consumption by humans and dogs is growing at a rapid rate. By 2050 we’ll need 1.5 planets to meet demand.6 Livestock used to make this protein is one of the greatest emitters of greenhouse gases.
- Transportation and shipping: Agriculture is often considered to have the greatest impact on carbon emissions. However, transportation actually emits the most greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. According to the EPA, commercial goods transportation accounts for approximately 7% of human GHG emissions, while industry and agriculture transportation accounts for 23% and 10%, respectively.7
- Energy. It’s estimated that one human’s total feed energy requirement equals the requirement of 3 dogs, which is 33% and 10 %, respectively. However, dogs are frequently overfed, so data on feed consumption may be underestimated. Additionally, livestock also requires an exceptional amount of water to produce. It is estimated that it takes 1,800 gallons (8182 liters) of water to make 1 pound of beef. And on average, it takes about 10 kcal of fossil energy to produce one kcal of plant protein for livestock. Next time you pick up a 5-pound bag of dog food, you’ll know the massive amount of energy and water required for the production of that one bag.
Raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined, says the United Nations.9
In fact, the New York Times notes that animal agriculture, specifically factory farming, accounts for 18% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.10
We could not agree more with this statement. Our research shows the real impact of modern industrial animal farming and dog food manufacturing. Thankfully, pet food companies have several options to help avoid catastrophic effects on our planet and society.
But what are dog food manufacturers doing to offset this negative impact? Let’s take a look!
Sustainable Dog Food Brand Practices: What To Look For?
Today, pet companies are working to reduce their collective carbon footprint to be both attainable and sustainable.
Here are the most common characteristics, practices, and trends of sustainable dog food companies. You should look for these factors when buying your next sustainable dog recipe.
1. Partnerships and certifications. Business certifications in sustainability show the company’s sustainability commitment. It also earns them the credentials to call themselves sustainable and ensure the brand meets sustainable protocols and standards.
2. Locally sourced. Using local ingredients reduces transit pollution.
3. Organic agriculture. It’s very sustainable in many aspects because it doesn’t include the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. Organic farms tend to have more fertile soil, keep harmful pesticides out of land and water, use less energy, and sequester more carbon.11
4. Sustainable harvested fish: A sustainably raised fish means it was sourced in a way that caused no harm to its surrounding marine environment. Sustainable seafood is the most environmentally friendly protein source on earth. In the United States, wild-caught and farmed fish and shellfish are managed in accordance with the principles of environmental responsibility.12
5. Humnaly raised, grass-fed, or cage-free. Meat with this certification will be completely natural and contain the fullest set of nutrients, and it’s produced in a socially responsible manner. This process requires substantially fewer inputs, no added hormones and antibiotics. All those benefits translate into reduced atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions.
6. Sustainable proteins. Opting for more sustainable proteins, including
Vegan recipes. More pet food manufacturers are selling vegan recipes. Plant-based dog food stops the deforestation, soil degradation, and greenhouse gas emissions associated with meat production, helping slow climate change and secure our global food supply.
Insect-based dog food. Insect protein from mealworms and crickets is a viable alternative for dogs. More companies in this sector are popping up. Insects require minimal space, food and water. They do not emit harmful gases.
Cultured meat: The most exciting development in sustainable dog food is cultured meat or lab-grown meat. Cultured meat is 100% bioidentical to traditional meat. It has the same nutritional value and composition as animal-based meat. The only difference is that it has none of the negative impacts of conventional meat. It starts with a small collection of animal cells grown in a nutrient-rich laboratory environment.
7. Renewable energy. The use of clean energy such as solar and wind to power manufacturing plans, offices and other appliances.
8. Electric vehicles: Using electric vehicles for transportation and shipping. They produce 43% fewer greenhouse gases than diesel vehicles.
9. Donations and social responsibility. Donating to environmental causes, shelters, helping pets in need, and offsetting carbon emissions by planting trees are some of these companies’ social sustainable responsibilities.
10. Recyclable packaging. Using recyclable or recycled materials in the packaging to minimize waste and plastic use – including compostable bags.
11. Cooking methods. Using low-emission processing and cooking techniques, such as freeze-drying, gently cooked, raw, or dehydrating food.
12. Pesticide-free produce: Approximately 30% of greenhouse gas emissions come from pesticides, which can harm the planet.
13. Ethically sourced (animal welfare). Includes the highest standards of farm animal welfare. It means animals are treated with kindness and respect with a naturally nutritious diet (no antibiotics or hormones) and ensuring animals have space to roam and engage in their natural behaviors.
Sustainable Dog Food Benefits
Let’s look at the top reasons you need to consider buying dog food from sustainable dog brands.
Embracing sustainable dog nutrition can help the environment and much more.
- Avoid excessive CO2 production
- Reduce methane and nitrous oxide production
- Save large amounts of water
- Avoid further pollution of our streams, rivers and oceans
- Reduce energy usage (renewable energy)
- Produce less waste
- Reduce destruction of topsoil and tropical rainforest
- Reduce destruction of wildlife habitats and endangered species
- Reduces the environmental footprint required to raise these animals
- Reduce the use of antibiotics, growth promoters and chemicals
- Reduction of operating costs for the manufacturer
- Sustainable proteins like insects, plans and cultured meat avoid animal suffering and slaughter.
- Support animal rescue programs, shelters, or volunteers
- Ingredient traceability and transparency
- Local sourcing means fresher ingredients and less carbon footprint
- Real meats (no by-products or meat meals)
- Preserves and uses fewer planet resources
- Get environmental impact assessments and reports by the brand
- Reduces bacterial contamination of meat
- Encourages changes and promotes suitability practices
Another key benefit of sustainable pet brands is they avoid the 4Ds of meat (dying, dead, diseased, or disabled), ‘meat meal’ and ‘animal by-products, which are essentially low-quality cuts of meat, bones, hooves, feathers, and other parts of animals that are not healthy for your pet. Sustainable pet food manufacturers use human-grade ingredients and provide ingredients traceability to show ingredient origin.
Furthermore, did you know dogs are exposed to 40% higher levels of chemicals than humans are?
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) study, pets have become involuntary sentinels of the widespread chemical contamination that scientists increasingly link to a growing array of health problems across domesticated animals and humans.
EWG found dogs were contaminated with 48 of 70 industrial chemicals tested according to the study of plastics and food packaging chemicals, heavy metals, fire retardants, and stain-proofing chemicals in pooled samples of blood and urine from 20 dogs collected at a Virginia veterinary clinic.12
By feeding your sustainable dog food, your dog will avoid ingesting a host of chemicals found in traditional kibble. As you know, sustainable practices do condole the use of pesticides and other ingredients that may hurt your pet and its environment.
As a dog owner, supporting a sustainable dog food system can have wide-reaching benefits, including a massive reduction of a substantial ecological footprint, our dog’s health and society.
How to Make Sustainable Food Choices For Your Dog?
Learning about sustainability and changing slowly is key. You don’t have to rethink your dog’s lifestyle completely.
You can make one or two changes each week or month. You can start with nutrition. Swap from a non-sustainable dog food brand to sustainable, eco-friendly dog food. Leading a more sustainable lifestyle begins with understanding what is and is not sustainable. From there, you can make better-informed decisions for your dog.
There are numerous ways that your dog can eat and live more sustainably. Here are just a few:
- Buy sustainable dog food from our recommendations below
- Feed the appropriate amount of meat, fish and dairy your dog eats. Don’t overfeed meat protein.
- Feed ingredients that are in season. Seasonal foods are typically not artificially ripened and have come from overseas.
- Cook your dog food
- Don’t throw away used dog food. Donate it instead.
- Use sustainable dog products (i.e., sustainable dog bowls, poop bags, etc.)
- Grow your herbs, fruit and vegetable dogs can eat.
The sustainable pet food trend is growing!
“The State of Sustainability in Pet Foods and Treats” reports that 27% of pet food purchasers say they would like to see more sustainably sourced pet foods.16
Be part of a like-minded tribe that can make a living and eat sustainably much simpler for your dog and future generations.
Below are the companies that are at the forefront of dog food sustainability. Learn how their eco-friendly kibbles can make a difference in your dog’s diet and the planet.
The best sustainable dog food brands reviewed
Best Sustainable Dog Food
Our team of researchers has reviewed the best sustainable dog food brand on the market right now.
We based our ranking on several factors, including environmental impact, carbon footprint, social contribution, overall sustainability practices, ingredient quality, customer reviews, price, and more. We also categorized brands by needs or specific sustainable criteria.
Be sure to select a brand whose recipe better aligns with your pup’s diet and the environmental practices you support. All of them are super tasty and can satisfy the pickiest dogs ever.
- Best Overall
- Best Sustainable Protein
- Best Carbon Neutral
- Best Humane-Grade
- Best Affordable
- Best Raw
- Best Renewable Energy
- Best Dehydrated
- Best Sustainable Packaging
- Best Wet
- Best Topper
- Best Supplement
- Best Sustainable Fish
- Best UK & Europe
Best Overall Sustainable Brand (Open Farm)
Open Farm wins the best overall sustainable and eco-friendly dog food brand medal.
The company has clear climate objectives that outline a 10-year roadmap for reducing its carbon footprint and reducing emissions by 42% in accordance with the Paris Agreement. Their deduction to sustainability and eco-friendly practices have set the bar high for most of the competition.
Open Farm offsets emissions driven by direct operations and product manufacturing by carefully selecting meaningful, high-impact programs that provide verified carbon offsets. Some of these programs include Grasslands Portfolio, USA; Darkwoods Forest Conservation Project, Canada; and Teak Afforestation, Mexico.
They are also raising the bar on how we feed our pets, with even stricter quality than what we feed ourselves. The brand’s mission is to produce ultra-premium pet food ethically sourced and made from start to finish with sustainable ingredients — or from farm to bowl. As the company states, “everything in every Open Farm bag is carefully sourced from the most humane and ethical farms, fisheries, and producers.”
They operate and formulate their recipes under four rigorous standards: pet nutrition, over-the-top ingredient tracing, meticulous ingredient sourcing/vetting and climate strategy commitment.
This sustainable dog food company manufactures dry kibble, wet food, raw food, bone broth, and gently cooked food.
Open Farm Sustainable & Eco-Friendly Practices
- Transparency report: As part of its commitment to transparency, Open Farm publishes its emissions data annually. They also let you see the source of every ingredient in every bag instantly by scanning the lot code on the bag.
- Green packaging: Terracycle has partnered with Open Farm to launch the first nationwide dog food bag recycling program, through which customers send their used bags to be upcycled.
- Eco-friendly strategy: Open Farm has established a climate strategy by analyzing its direct, indirect and other emissions.
- Ingredient purveyors: The company audits every provider to ensure they meet high environmental and health standards.
- Ethically and humanely farmed: They partner with organizations like Certified Humane and Global Animal Partnership to ensure the welfare of farm animals. It is their policy to ensure that all meat proteins are produced on humane farms; free-range and pasture-fed beef, pasture-fed lamb, crate-free pork, and certified humane turkey and chicken.
- Locally sourced: Close to 90% of fruits and vegetables are locally grown in-state or in a neighboring state. Their carbon footprint is lower because its ingredients are from local suppliers.
- Sustainable fishing: Open Farm uses sustainable fishing practices in accordance with Oceanwise and Seafood Watch standards to minimize bycatch overfishing and protect the marine environment.
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Best Sustainable Protein Dog Food (Wild Earth)
Wild Earth achieves a much lower carbon footprint and less environmental damage by only using ultra high-quality plant protein in their food and treats, requiring fewer resources to produce.
This is increasingly important as the over-reliance on meat in kibble is responsible for 25-30% of the environmental impact of meat consumption in the United States. In fact, a study found vegetarian and vegan diets produced 49.6% fewer greenhouse gas emissions. The research revealed that plant-based dog food needed 26.9% less energy for food production and had a 41.5% smaller environmental footprint than meat diets.
The company’s CEO, Ryan Bethencourt, founded Wild Earth to solve the most common problems associated with traditional dog kibble, including environmental impact, unethically sourced ingredients, and animal cruelty.
The company offers three products: kibble, treats, and supplements.
Wild Earth Sustainable & Eco-Friendly Practices
- Plant-based formulas: Their food requires 95% less water and emits 96% less CO2 than meat-based kibble.
- GMO ingredients use: GMOs are a safe, reliable, and sustainable way to produce food. As a result, they produce higher yields on less land, making them more sustainable than those grown organically. “World Health Organization, American Medical Association, and British Royal Society, among others, say GMO crops are safe”.13
- Meta-free protein: They use plant-based protein. Plant production offers a lower environmental impact and a sustainable solution by reducing energy consumption, emissions, land usage, and water consumption.14
- Plant-based treats: 90% fewer resources are required than meat-based treats.
- Sustainable koji protein: The company uses cultured protein made with human-grade Koji for their treats. They grow their protein at Bonneville Labs in Berkeley.
- Cruelty-free: They do not use any animal products or do animal testing.
- Recyclable: Packaging for supplements and treats is recyclable. Kibble bags are being developed to be recyclable.
Best Carbon Neutral Sustainable Food (Chippin)
Chippin is our top pick for the best carbon-neutral sustainable dog food.
The company uses novel protein sources which provide excellent protein quality and digestibility while minimizing the carbon footprint.
Chippin’s food is fueled by sustainable sources of protein, including:
- Human-grade spirulina: A vegan blue-green algae that are 55% protein. While most protein sources emit CO2, spirulina actually absorbs it.
- Human-grade cricket: It only takes 1 gallon of water to produce 1lb of cricket protein, but 2,000 gallons of water to produce 1lb of beef protein. Crickets also emit no methane emissions and use a tiny fraction of land.
- Human-grade silver carp: Silver carp are overpopulated fish threatening the Great Lakes. Unlike other overfished fish, silver carp need to be fished for. It makes up 90% of the biomass in parts of the Illinois and Ohio Rivers. Chippin helps improve water quality for over 48 million people by using this fish, protects great lake communities, and restores fish and wildlife biodiversity.
These protein sources provide a complete and highly digestible protein with all 10 essential amino acids. The University of Illinois, Department of Animal Sciences, concluded that Chippin protein sources have the same or better results for amino acid content (the building blocks of protein) and are more digestible for dogs.
Chippin Sustainable & Eco-Friendly Practices
- Sustainable protein sources: Chippin is powered by proteins that use 80% fewer resources. This includes the land and water used and the greenhouse gasses emitted.
- Packaging: Their packaging contains 29% post-consumer recycled materials (milk cartons and yogurt containers), giving a second life to items that would otherwise end up in landfills.
- Certified plastic neutral: Chippin is Plastic Neutral through its partnership with rePurpose Global. They support rePurpose Global so they can reduce the amount of plastic waste they create. They remove as much plastic from the environment as we use throughout their entire supply chain.
- Carbon neutral shipping: Every purchase made through the Chippin website has carbon-neutral shipping. They partnered with Pachama to offset the climate impact of your shipment. Pachama funds high-impact forest conservation and restoration projects around the world to offset your order’s carbon footprint.
- Ingredient sourcing: Chippin partners with small to medium-sized farms to directly source their sustainable, humane grade cricket, spirulina and silver carp proteins. They never use commodity meats from unknown sources.
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Best Human Grade Sustainable Dog Food (The Farmer’s Dog)
The Farmer’s Dog food is custom-made fresh to meet your dog’s vet-recommended individual needs. Their recipes contain no fillers, artificial preservatives, or by-products. All meals are prepared using human-grade ingredients.
The recipes are pre-portioned to your dog’s weight, breed, and activity level and are delivered directly to your door. Ingredients are sourced from small farms for a low carbon footprint, so you can trust it’s real food that looks after the planet.
All their recipes are formulated by leading board-certified veterinary nutritionists and carefully crafted in USDA-certified kitchens to exceed industry nutrition standards established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
The Farmer’s Dog Sustainable & Eco-Friendly Practices
- Recyclable boxes: They use cardboard packaging and plastic wrap to keep cold packs from melting during transit and can be recycled.
- Dissolvable insulation: It’s made from corn starch and dissolves under running water.
- Locally sourced: Its carbon footprint is lower since the ingredients are locally sourced and don’t travel as much.
- Environmentally friendly packaging: Food packs are recyclable after rinsing, and the reusable container they provide in every box is made of biodegradable and recyclable materials. All of their packs are made from BPA-free materials and are non-toxic.
- Sustainability plans: The brand is in process of re-evaluating its entire product experience, from the moment you open the box until you’ve finished feeding your dog, aiming to make every element as sustainable — and delightful — as conceivably possible.
Our readers have access to 50% off on their first The Farmer’s Dog order. Just use this link to get started!
Best Affordable Sustainable Dog Food (Canidae Sustain Environmentally-Friendly)
Looking for the most affordable sustainable dog food? Consider Canidae Sustain.
Canidae Sustains is the company’s environmentally conscious dog food line that features premium ingredients made with responsibly sourced proteins and the highest PCR% packaging available in pet food.
They are committed to making food that is good for pets and good for the planet. They partner with US farmers who use regenerative agricultural practices which leverage cutting-edge technology in robotics, water usage, weed management, and pesticide usage to reduce the negative impact on farmlands and environmental impact.
Within 10 years (by 2030), their goal is to source over 80% of all their ingredients from regenerative agriculture. Canidae believes regenerative agriculture is the future of farming. It aspires to protect the soil, reduce pesticide usage, increase carbon capture, reduce water runoff and improve the nutritional density of the food we grow.
Canidae Sustain Sustainable & Eco-Friendly Practices
- Sustainably proteins: Their wild-caught Alaskan salmon is sourced from fisheries that maintain sustainable salmon populations and minimize the impact on their habitats. Their chickens are raised humanely and stress-free — without cages, protected from the elements, and in an enriched environment with natural light and proper rest.
- Plant-based recipe: Compared to meat-based recipes, its plant-based reci[e generates fewer carbon emissions, and it includes brewer’s yeast, which is upcycled from the brewing industry while providing many essential non-animal derived nutrients.
- Farmers: Canidae supports US farmers who believe that their top priority should be to leave American soil in a better state than when they found it. To secure a sustainable yet economically viable agricultural model, the company wants to inculcate regenerative agriculture practices in like-minded farmers.
- Green technology: Canidae actively supports research and development in robotic advances and works with farmers to develop and adapt them to move closer to the future.
- Packaging: They use 40% recycled material to pack their Canidae Sustain line. The most in the industry. In fact, the material in each 18-pound bag is recycled from 4 plastic bottles.
- Giving-back: Canidae proudly donated almost half a million pounds of pet food to the San Antonio Food Bank in the last year. They have partnered with The Alliance of Therapy Dogs to support the great work they are doing to certify therapy dog teams and share the healing properties of the human/pet bond.
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Best Sustainable Raw Dog Food (Stella & Chewy’s)
They hope to be pioneers and leaders who encourage other companies to do their part for the planet by stepping out in front of the sustainability curve in the raw dog food space. They have begun to transition to recyclable packaging slowly.
Their raw products are premade and frozen immediately for maximum freshness and made with 90-95% meat, organs, and bone to mirror a dog’s ancestral diet.
While Stella & Chewy’s started as an exclusively raw pet food brand, they have responsibly expanded beyond raw diets over the years. Today, they have five categories: Frozen Raw, Freeze-Dried Raw, Kibble, Wet Food, and Treats. They also have cat products.
Stella & Chewy’s Sustainable & Eco-Friendly Practice
- Packaging: New packaging will be recyclable #4 (LDPE) or recyclable #2 (HDPE). Packaging comes with the How2Recycle label and can also be dropped off in select stores to be recycled.
- Sustainable ingredients: All ingredients come from trusted suppliers, and all meats come from USDA inspected facilities. The fruits and vegetables we use in our raw food are all certified organic.
- Partners: They work with How2Recycle and have accreditation from Pet Sustainability Coalition. “Accreditation is an opportunity for Stella & Chewy’s to encourage year over year improvement, celebrate our journey within sustainability packaging, and contribute to industry-wide green initiatives. Doing what’s right by the planet and our furry family members is of the utmost importance to who we are as a brand,” explained Mark Sapir, Stella & Chewy’s Chief Marketing Officer.
- Raw means less waste: Raw food creates smaller, firmer poops, leading to less mess and waste bag usage.
- Reduced processing: Their raw formulas use fewer processing methods like freeze-drying and raw, significantly reducing the brand’s carbon emissions.
- Ethically sourced protein: The animal protein in their recipes is always grass-fed, cage-free, wild-caught, farm-raised, and responsibly sourced from trusted partners.
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Best Renewable Energy Sources (FreshPet Dog Food)
Freshpet’s sustainability is in the nature of the company. They win our top pick for using the best renewable energy sources for manufacturing their recipes.
Their food is made in kitchens that use wind or solar energy and stored in fridges powered by the same renewable energy. Those efforts help them reduce their CO2 footprint and achieve carbon neutrality.
As a result of their renewable energy commitment, 46,567 metric tons of CO2e emissions were prevented in 2020 – the same as taking 10,208 cars off the road for an entire year.
All Freshpet recipes are gently cooked in USDA kitchens at low temperatures to protect the integrity of the ingredients. Then are vacuum-sealed to lock in the natural goodness. Their recipes are easy to digest, nutritious, and more delicious than traditional kibble.
FreshPet Sustainable & Eco-Friendly Practices
- Zero landfills: Every bit of waste from Freshpet Kitchens is recycled, reused, or turned into energy. Their cardboard recycling saved 1,345 metric tons of CO2e emissions, over 2,811,200 gallons of water, and 6,827 trees in 2020.
- Saving water: They have designed their entire manufacturing process to reduce usage and maximize the benefit from every drop. Rainwater is collected to irrigate the landscape, including the trees they’ve planted. Harvesting rainwater helps reduce stormwater runoff from their property.
- Wastewater treatment: They filter all wastewater on-site using our in-house treatment facility, which eliminates residual vegetables, meat and fat. Instead of being dumped in a landfill, anaerobic digestion breaks these residual organic materials down. This is estimated to prevent 108 metric tons of CO2e emissions and a lower burden on municipal water facilities. In fact, in 2020, they removed over 200 tons of solids from our wastewater.
- Sustainable chillers: Freshpet uses LED lighting, highly efficient compressors, and nonozone-depleting refrigerants, contributing to a more sustainable electric grid.
- Eco-friendly recipes: All recipes are produced with built-in wind, water and CO2 savings.
- Local sourcing: All Freshpet ingredients are sourced locally, reducing emissions and transportation costs. More than half our ingredients come from within 200 miles of our kitchens. 97% of Freshpet ingredients are sourced from the USA, cutting down on transport and fossil fuel usage.
- Local farmer support: They strongly support local farmers with the same labor and environmental practices.
- Humanely raised proteins: All proteins come from US farmers certified as cage-free and antibiotic-free by the Global Animal Partnership.
- Smarter shipping: SmartWay trucks transport all products, a more efficient method of transportation.
- Packaging: Through their partnership with Terracycle, they use 100% recyclable plastic that does not contain BPA. They use up to 20 times less packaging than wet food competitors to feed a 30lb dog daily.
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Best Dehydrated Sustainable Dog Food (The Honest Kitchen)
If you’d like to spoil your dog with dehydrated human-grade dog food with a relatively low environmental impact, The Honest Kitchen is a perfect choice.
Honest Kitchen’s mission is to provide socially and environmentally conscious dog nutrition. They use small, controlled batches and innovative, earth-friendly cooking practices (such as dehydration).
They are one of the few companies we’ve seen have a social and environmental impact report on their website.
Moreover, The Honest Kitchen has been certified by Amazon as a Climate Pledge Friendly company. This means Amazon recognizes the brand’s commitment to helping preserve the natural world.
The Honest Kitchen Sustainable & Eco-Friendly Practices
- Domestically and locally sourced: The ingredients for 97% of their whole food clusters and 70% of dehydrated recipes are grown in North America, eliminating the associated carbon footprint from otherwise imported ingredients.
- Produce: 100% of the produce they use is confirmed by the supplier to be non-generically modified.
- Solar energy production: 46% of their finished products were produced using solar power. They are working to increase that quantity of finished goods made with solar power by 2021 and beyond.
- Biodiversity support: The brand’s suppliers have put formal programs to protect wildlife habitats, reduce pesticide usage, and other environmental programs for superior land management, soil quality, and more.
- Community impact: Contribute non-profit for animal aid programs donating more than 100 thousand dollars. The company’s employees also volunteered a collective total of more than 263 hours to help these organizations. The organization also acknowledges its commitment to choosing women or minorities to lead certain business areas. 71% of Honest Kitchen’s workforce identifies as female.
- Remote working: The company has transitioned to 100% remote working since the beginning of the pandemic (except production crew)—another way to reduce the carbon footprint from fossil fuels.
- Green packaging: 61% of their packaging is made from renewable materials that are recyclable or reusable. They plan to reach 80% by 2022.
- Compact design: Shipping dehydrated food consumes less energy and space, which reduces emissions.
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Sustainable Dog Food Packaging (I And Love And You)
I And Love And You is our top pick for the best sustainable dog food packaging.
They are proud to use 100% sustainable (reduced, reused, recycled) packaging and shipping materials. I And Love And You partners with TerraCycle to ensure that “I and love and you” packaging is 100% recyclable. They go a step further to ensure that the label on their packing adheres to their sustainable practices through a partnership with The Clean Label Project (CLP).
CLP researches the true contents of America’s best-selling consumer products, including pet food. CLP tests for over 130 harmful contaminants and toxins and then publishes the results as their Product Ratings. This ensures “I and Love and You” customers that the contents of their food are sustainable and safe for dogs.
I And Love And You Sustainable & Eco-Friendly Practices
- Culture: Even in their office, the company notes they use recycled paper in printers, reusable silverware and dishes in the Kitchen, and non-toxic cleaning supplies. They recycle and compost as a team, and some employees bike to work.
- Partners: “I and Love and You” partners with Climate Collaborative, Clean Label Project, Colorado Patry, XcelEnergy, Pet Sustainability Coalition and Impact Assessment to help foster their sustainability mission and reduce their carbon PawPrint.
- Giving back to the community: Since 2015, they have donated more than one million meals to needed pets. In the aftermath of hurricanes, fires, floods, and other natural disasters, they are always ready to donate meals to pets in need across the country.
- Waste management: They donate surplus products to animals in need rather than throwing them in a landfill.
- Ingredient sourcing: By sourcing ingredients responsibly, they help keep the environment healthy. They also carefully formulate their pet foods to contain non-GMO protein, vegetables, and legumes. Their beef is grass-fed and free-range.
Our readers have access to the best deals we could find at I And Love And You. Just click here to get started.
Best Sustainable Wet Dog Food (Nature’s Logic)
Nature’s Logic wins the medal for best sustainable wet dog food.
The company has been named one of the top 20 sustainable brands in the pet industry by the Pet Sustainability Coalition, based on UN Sustainable Development Goals.
With over 20 partnerships and multiple recognitions for sustainability practices, this brand is helping lead the industry in sustainability – offering the first 100% all-natural food (with no synthetics) and creating renewable energy with every pound you feed.
Each can provides highly palatable and nutrient dense muscle meat and organ meat-based can eat foods with concentrates of select fruits and vegetables.
Tender & True Canned Dog Food is another sustainable dog wet food.
Why Makes Only Natural Pet Sustainable?
- Sustainable development goal (SDGs): Nature’s Logic received top ratings across four critical SDGs: #7 affordable and clean energy, #8 decent work and economic growth, #13 climate action, and #14 life below water.
- Clean energy: All kibble, bags, and biscuits are produced with 100% renewable electricity. With every pound you feed, it creates 1 kWh of new production renewable energy and a greener future.
- Packaging: Kibble bags use 20% less plastic and biscuit bags are made from 40% post-consumer recycled plastic. Their cans are 100% recyclable.
- Less plastic: Bags now use 20% less plastic.
- Carbon neutral: 100% carbon neutral warehousing and shipping.
Our readers have access to the best deals at Nature’s Logic. Just click here to get started.
Sustainable Dog Food Supplements (Because Animals)
Because Animals is the first and only company making cultured meat (lab-grown) pet food, supplements and treats.
The company’s mission is to make the healthiest and most sustainable food for dogs and cats on the planet through lab-grown pet products. This will allow them to support healthy, happy pets without harming other animals or the environment.
Because Animals is one of our top cruelty-free dog food recommendations, they do not harm animals (slaughter-free). They never slaughter or inflict harm to animals.
Their cultured meat dog food is still under development, but they have available the best sustainable dog food supplements for digestion and gut health, immunity, skin and coat, metabolic and cardiovascular functions and overall health. Their supplements are made with cultured probiotics and natural ingredients. They also have dog treats made with cultured nutritional yeast and other superfood ingredients.
Because, Animals Sustainable & Eco-Friendly Practices
- Cultured meat: This means no raising, housing, feeding, or slaughtering of animals which ultimately means preserving precious resources such as water, land, electricity and time.
- Cruelty-Free: Never harm animals or slaughter them. All products avoid any animal ingredients or serums. They don’t discard or destroy any animal they’ve collected cells from. They make sure these animals live the rest of their natural lives in the safest, most comfortable habitat.
- Innovative award: The company received the award Purina’s Pet Care Innovation Prize for its unique alternatives to factory-farmed meat as a more sustainable approach.
- Recyclable: Their products are packaged in 100% compostable materials.
- No to animal agriculture: Easing the reliance on animals in the food system has wide-reaching benefits, including a massive reduction of a very large ecological footprint.
Our readers have access to the best offers at Because, Animals. Just click here to get the best deal with could find.
Best Sustainable Dog Food Topper (Portland Pet Food)
Portland Pet Food company offers the best sustainable fresh dog food meals that work as toppers, mixers, or soft treats. Their meal pouches are not intended to be full-on meal replacements but to compliment, add variety and boost the nutrition of your dog’s usual diet.
Their fresh, human-grade meat comes from Cascade Natural Meats and Carlton Farms, both based in Oregon. All their meals consist only of whole meat, 100% fit for human consumption from USDA-approved facilities. They contain no meat by-products, preservatives, artificial colors, flavors, or supplements.
Portland Pet Food is not only committed to producing high-quality pet foods but to preserving the environment as well. When sourcing ingredients and producing food, the company follows ethical and sustainable practices and partners with like-minded organizations.
With five varieties, these 100% natural, USA sourced and made, ready-to-eat homestyle meal toppers are great for picky eaters and senior dogs.
Portland Pet Food Sustainable & Eco-Friendly Practices
- Responsible sourcing: Partners with local farmers and businesses reduces emissions and refrigeration costs while supporting the local economy and community. Sourcing locally allows them to source ingredients from people we trust, who treat their animals and products ethically.
- Member of sustainable programs: They’re a member of the Good Food Guild of the Upcycled Food Association and partner with companies worldwide to build a system where all food is properly. They also support the Pet Sustainability Coalition, is accredited in the Positive Impact Program and was listed as one of the Top Accredited Companies in Sustainability.
- Upcycling spent grain: Spent grain is one of their favorite sustainable ingredients. Spent grain is a nutritious upcycled brewery by-product that they use in all of their brew biscuits.14
- Green Packaging: The company invested in eco-friendly, BPA-free packaging for its meals. It’s partnered with an organization called TerraCycle to create a free recycling program for its customers.
- Smart, sustainable transport: They chose to package their meals in retort pouches. The process of manufacturing pet food in retort pouches uses 75% less energy and 1/10th of the CO2 used to manufacture a metal can of pet food. Due to the size and shape of these pouches, a standard 45-foot truck can ship 2.3 million retort packages simultaneously, while the same trailer could only carry 200,000 8oz. bringing down shipping costs and CO2 emissions.
Our readers have access to exclusive offers at Pet Portland Foods. Just click here to get the best deal with could find.
Best Sustainable Fish Dog Food (Tender & True)
Tender & True wins our pick for the best sustainable seafood for dogs.
The company states they want the world’s oceans to be teeming with life – today, tomorrow, and for generations to come. They are certified by The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), meaning the fish used in their recipes have been responsibly caught by a certified sustainable fishery. Only seafood from fisheries that meet the MSC strict standard for sustainability can be sold with the blue MSC ecolabel.
The company’s ecolabel and fishery certification program aims to contribute to the health of the world’s oceans by recognizing and rewarding sustainable fishing practices, influencing buying decisions, and working with its partners to transform the seafood market into a sustainable one.
We like other sustainable fish dog food recipes like Open Farm White Fish Recipe & Chippin Wild Caugh Silver Carp.
Tender & True Sustainable & Eco-Friendly Practices
- Sustainable fishing: MSC sustainably fished certifications. MSC-certified fisheries ensure that fish are caught at levels that allow fish populations and the ecosystems on which they depend to remain healthy and productive for the future.
- Farming: Sustainable farming practices and using ingredients raised in an enriched environment with access to food, water and outdoor environments.
- Ethically raised: GAP Animal Welfare Program partnership ensures their farms encourage good health, treat animals if ill, provide quality feed and water, shelter, and the animals are free from disease. They care about the emotional well-being of the animal.
- Certified organic: Organic supports farmers who aim toward ecologically sustainable practices.
- Sustainable projects: Now, they have started working on their new project to become the first pet food company to use exclusively organic grass-fed, antibiotic-free, a pasture-raised lamb for its pet treats.
Our readers have access to exclusive offers at Tender & True. Just click here to get the best deal with could find.
Best Sustainable Dog Food UK & Europe (Beco Pets)
Looking for the best sustainable dog food company in the United Kingdom or Europe?
Enters Beco Pets has been around since 2009 and has been on a mission to create the best possible products for cats and dogs while doing as little harm to the environment as possible. They provide an impact report to back up their sustainable practices.
All their recipes are filled with delicious meat, vegetables and superfoods. Nothing artificial. All ingredients are cooked at low temperatures to lock in their flavor and nutrients.
Beco Pet Sustainable & Eco-Friendly Practices
- Social programs: Cleanups of riverbanks, city parks, and beaches are organized and volunteered by the company with the objective is to capturing as much litter as possible before it reaches the ocean.
- Donations: The company donates 1% of its revenue to projects that preserve, protect, and restore nature.
- Renewable energy: Solar panels on-site harness the power of the London sunshine. When we need a little more, we source it from our renewable energy supplier. In addition, they have switched from gas-powered to electric machinery in their warehouse. The forklifts and pump trucks in their warehouse now run on renewable energy.
- Culture (hybrid fleet & air): Their team uses hybrid cars partly powered by electricity. Air source heat pumps are used to heat their building. Using renewable energy, it can draw heat from the air outside, even when the temperature drops to -15 degrees.
- Eco-friendly materials: Use all-natural ingredients and materials like bamboo, natural rubber, recycled plastic, and cornstarch.
- Eco-friendly packaging: Dog food comes in a recyclable TetraPak made with 70% renewable materials and FSC certified cardboard. Plus, their products are reusable and recyclable.
Sustainable dog food tips, FAQs & more
Other Sustainable Dog Food Problems
Other reasons why you should switch your dog to a sustainable diet.
- The crops used to feed industrially-raised animals could feed an additional four billion people.
- Factory farming is the largest source of water pollution.
- 26% of the earth’s terrestrial surface is used for livestock grazing.
- 1/3 of the planet’s arable land is occupied by livestock feed crop cultivation.
- Agribusiness systems, which occupy more land and resources than any other industry in the U.S., have stifled the biodiversity of crops and animals and indirectly destroyed wildlife habitats.
- 41% of the United States’ land is used for animal feed, grazing, and keeping farm animals (nearly 800 million acres). Less than 20% is used as croplands.
And it all has to go somewhere — America’s pets produce about 5.1 million tons of feces in a year, as much as 90 million Americans. If all that was thrown in the trash, it would rival the total trash production of Massachusetts — from the humans, at least.
Sustainable Dog Treats
- Open Farm Dehydrated dog treats
- Wild Earth Superfood dog treats
- Chippin dog treats
- Canidae Crunchy dog treats
- Stella & Chewy Wild Weenies dog treats
- Freshpet Dog Joy treats
- Jiminy’s dog treats
Sustainable Dog Products
Below are a few ways to make your dog’s life greener without sacrificing comfort or happiness.
- Beco Natural Rubber Hoop on a Rope
- Beco Pet Giraffe Dog Toy
- Chippin T-Shirt Eco-friendly, Comfortable
- Chippin Cricket Topper and Tux chew toy in one delicious bundle
- Only Natural Pet Eco-Friendly Hemp Pet Bed
- Only Natural Pet Eco-Friendly Regenerated Cotton Bed
- Jiminy’s Eco-friendly dog leash
Should You Feed Your Dog Sustainable Dog Food? Alternatives
The bottom line is that the diet you choose for your pet can affect its health, your wallet and the environment.
We recommend feeding your pup sustainably. A sustainable dog diet is generally healthy and has a low impact on the environment and food supply. Adopting a sustainable diet can help your dog maintain their health while also ensuring the planet has enough resources to feed future generations of dogs and your children.
All of the companies we’ve reviewed in this article meet the highest sustainability standards in the industry and offer balanced AFCCO approved nutrition. But as always, we encourage you to speak to your vet before changing your dog’s diet.
Knowing that meat production for pet food is a leading producer of greenhouse gas emissions, how do we stop it? Well, perhaps you should meat-less dog food such as vegan dog food, insect-based food, or cultured meat dog food.