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Sustainable Pet Food

By Wendy Rose Gould
February 23, 2018 • 3 min. read
healthy paws sustainable pet food

Making the decision to buy healthy, responsibly-sourced, environmentally sustainable pet food can make all the difference in your pet’s health and the way you feel about your purchases. The same philosophy for human food – healthy choices that are good for the earth – can easily extend to the food you purchase for your animals if you know where to look. Below we’ve rounded up an assortment of sustainable options for you to consider.

Sourcing By-Product from Your Local Butcher

“By-products are sustainable and healthy for animals to consume,” noted Cailin Heinze for “The best way to feed our pets meat-based diets with minimal footprints is to use every part of the animals we slaughter for human food, including organs. These ingredients (which do not include hair, horns, teeth or intestinal contents), often collectively termed ‘by-products,’ can be very good-quality sources of nutrients that pets enjoy.”

Interestingly, many local butchers (if you’re lucky enough to live near one), sell animal by-products at low cost because they’d otherwise toss it. Recipes are easy to come by online, and often involve combining the by-product with a healthy oil and vegetables (such as potato, squash, or broccoli).

Open Farm

This pet food company sources all of its ingredients ethically to deliver grain-free, high nutrition, environmentally responsible food for your cat or dog. The brand has integrated a full-scale program to minimize and manage their environmental footprint, which involves partnering with small, local companies that engage in sustainable farming and fishing, and by utilizing recyclable packaging (they are in the minority of the 5% of pet food brands that do so). Choose from either dry or freeze-dried food, with prices starting at $23 for 4.5 pounds of dog food, and $25 for 4 pound of cat food.

The Honest Kitchen

The Honest Kitchen has committed to using certified organic, 100% non-GMO, humanely raised proteins and produce in their pet food. Further, they’ve made concerted efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. For example, their food is dehydrated, which requires less energy to make than other pet food production methods, their products are thoughtfully packaged to be more compact (meaning they take up less space when being shipped), and 100% of all ingredients come from North America to further reduce the impact of transportation and carbon emissions. They also are proud of their green packaging and business practices, which you can read more about on their website. Cat food starts at $25 for 4 pounds, and dog food starts at $35 for 4 pounds.

Darwins Natural Pet Products

Darwin’s sells high quality, raw pet food for both cats and dogs that’s shipped straight to you. The foods are 100% real meat and vegetables that are free of fillers, antibiotics, steroids, hormones, and grains. This is because the meat is sourced from grass fed cow and lambs, cage-free chickens and turkey, and the vegetables are organic. You can even custom-order the size you want based off your pet’s weight (they calculate this for you), which means you’re less likely to waste food or feed your pet too much (a common non-sustainable pet food practice). After the introductory rate, you can expect to pay between $10 and $25 a week for your pet’s food.

If you decide to make the switch to one of these options, or another that you’ve discovered, remember to slowly introduce the new food to your pet. Start by adding a little bit of the new food to the existing food, and then increase the percentage every day until the bowl is only filled will the new food. This will be easier on your pet’s tummy and will increase the likelihood of them taking well to the new food.

Caring about your pet food’s sustainability means you’re a next level pet parent! By taking the time to research and even make your own pet food, you’re not just treating your pets right, you’re treating them like family. Your next step is enrolling in pet insurance – you can save up to 90% on vet bills and make sure your pet gets the best vet care. Start by getting a free quote today.

wendy gould
By Wendy Rose Gould

Wendy Rose Gould is a freelance lifestyle reporter based in Phoenix, Arizona. She has been in journalism for over a decade, and has been freelancing almost that entire time. In addition to lifestyle reporting, she also works with brands to create marketing content for their websites and blogs.

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