Have you ever considered the carbon footprint of your beloved canine buddy?
Your dog uses food packaged in cardboard or cans, has a good amount of dog waste and plays with toys that get thrown away eventually. Feeding your dog sustainable food can reduce their carbon paw-print.
What Is Sustainable Dog Food?
Sustainable dog food is simply dog food that has less impact on the environment.
Many pet foods are based on leftovers from animals that humans won’t eat. This seems like a good thing, because food that might be wasted is used. However, it does support the animal agriculture industry, which does have a large carbon footprint. And that doesn't even factor in the production process ...
But not all companies are impacting the earth in the same way. Some are hyper aware and trying consistency to create an earth-friendly food. Here's how to find them:
- Look for companies that use sustainable products and packaging. Buy in bulk to use less packaging and make fewer trips to the store.
- Contact the manufacturer to find out about any improvements they're making in the production process. For example, have they moved to more energy-efficient equipment?
- Look for companies that focus on responsible agricultural techniques, with a focus on sustainability.
- Feed a fresh, whole food diet. Raw dog food can be much more sustainable.
Raw Dog Food = More Earth-Friendly?
It’s called a Biologically Appropriate Raw Food diet (BARF), which lets your dog eat foods that are easy for their bodies to process. And yes, if you're responsible in sourcing the right ingredients, it can be far more sustainable.
Making your own dog food at home can also help reduce your carbon footprint. This way you know what is in your pet’s food. You’re not relying on a manufacturer to process the food and ship it to the store.
This is a general guide to the BARF diet for dogs:
- 70% muscle meat
- 10 - 20% organ meat
- 10% bones
You should also include some fruits and veggies to give your dog the full spectrum of vitamins and minerals (yes, that includes polyphenols from plants).
You can find pre-made BARF food for your canine buddy, just keep in mind that it's packaged and manufactured, which contributes to non-sustainability.
Sustainable Dog Food Is Only Half The Problem - Think About Sustainable Waste Disposal
How many times a day do you pick up your dog’s poop?
Most people walk their dog at least twice a day. If you have 2 bags a day, that’s 730 per year, minimum.
What happens to all that dog waste and those poop bags? It usually goes into the trash, which goes into a landfill.
With almost 90 million dogs in the United States, that’s a lot of poop. Dealing with dog waste is part of sustainability.
What are your options?
You should always pick up your dog’s waste. Leaving it in nature isn’t a great option. You can compost your dog’s waste to give your garden a boost.
Make sure that the compost pile gets heated to 145 degrees (F) before you turn it. You should give your compost four to eight weeks to fully transform into compost.
Emily Vey is a research and writing wizard on the Four Leaf Rover team. She’s always working to help dogs live the healthiest lives possible (and helping the earth doesn't hurt either)! She lives in Ontario with her partner-in-crime Ryan, their husky Inuk and German shepherd Indi. Together they enjoy hiking, swimming and all things outdoors!