Each year, more people open their eyes to the far-reaching impact of corporations trying to attract consumers with impossibly low prices. For pet owners specifically, it may come as a surprise that, although most dog food looks the same, quality can vary immensely; prices for a bag of dog food can range from a few dollars to over 60 dollars, depending on where you’re looking.
The difference in pricing can be compared to the difference in pricing for human food and takes into account how healthy the food is and whether or not it’s sustainably sourced. Millennials, who often treat their pets as children and value sustainability more than prior generations, are investing in the health of their pets by buying them high-quality, environmentally-friendly dog food.
This is having a notable impact on cheap pet food companies; but how can buying organic, high-quality, environmentally-friendly dog food help sustainability efforts?
Investing in sustainability
Over the last 50 years, global sustainability has gained public interest through the implementation of government initiatives, like Earth Day and the Clean Water Act, aimed to recognize the need to care for our planet. With the rising concern for climate change, environmentalists began seeking sustainable brands to support, which has led to a shift in business practices among corporate leaders. Knowing that they will lose business from a portion of consumers without the use of sustainable sources, dog food companies are making the shift to create their products using sources that are not only sustainably grown, but that will provide cats and dogs with the nutrients they need to be healthy.
Around the world, total spending on sustainability engagements was expected to grow to over one billion dollars this year. Investing in sustainability helps give companies a competitive edge, as 66 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable brands. The nature of supply and demand means that if more consumers insist on buying sustainable products, more companies will make the change to a more environmentally friendly approach to their business.
Money talks, and because global warming and environmental impact is such an important topic right now, how consumers spend their money can create positive change for the environment.
Sustainable and environmentally-friendly dog food
Sadly, dogs have been exposed to very low-quality food for decades. The rise of the internet has helped shed light on the issue of where dog food comes from and how it’s made. Often times, cheap dog food is made by combining the scraps of waste from farm animals after they are sectioned away for human food. Therefore, if you support sustainable dog food brands, you’re less likely to be supporting large-scale factory farming, which has a substantial environmental impact.
Low-quality dog food is usually also mixed in with cheap corn feed filler, which is unhealthy for dogs and fattening. The lack of regulation in the pet food industry has resulted in frequent dog food recalls due to bacteria like Salmonella and E.Coli being found in the food. Cheap dog food is also loaded with chemical additives and preservatives, rendered animal by-products, growth hormones, antibiotic-fed protein, dyes, and allergens — all of which can make your dog sick.
While this all may sound scary when thinking about the health of your pet, a little bit of research may be all it takes to start feeding your dog food that will extend and enhance their quality of life. One safe way to select better food for your dog is by purchasing food that is organic, human-grade, and even USDA certified organic pet food.
Foods that are certified to come from natural, organic farms will ensure that your pet avoids growth hormones and other chemicals. Purchasing dog food from sustainable sources is also an excellent way to help the planet, as it keeps pesticides out of the soil and waterways; it can also reduce your trips to the vet, as your dog’s digestion, skin, and fur will all be healthier.
Crickets for dogs?
One Canadian dog food company is looking for sustainable ways to make a difference by using fresh seafood and produce with high nutritional value that would otherwise be wasted. This company is also seeking to incorporate crickets into their food, as these bugs are a sustainable and highly digestible alternative to protein from cows, pigs or chickens.
Crickets provide all 10 essential amino acids for dogs, with three times the iron, five times more magnesium, and twice as much protein as ground beef. According to Dockside, “Cricket farming also produces 80 percent less methane than cattle farming and uses 1/14th the feed and 1/2, 000th the amount of water on a per-pound basis compared to beef.” This would make Dockside one of the top leaders in sustainable dog food on the market.
More environmentally-friendly dog food
- Newman’s Own Organics: This dog food brand doesn’t contain GMOs and is produced without the use of herbicides, pesticides or artificial fertilizers, or chemical additives or preservatives.
- Organix: This brand of pet food is made in the U.S. and is the only complete line of USDA organically certified pet food. It is free of allergens such as corn, wheat, or soy, and is created without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, antibiotics, or artificial preservatives.
- NomNomNow: This subscription dog food service delivers customizable meals for your pup directly to your door. NomNomNow uses only human grade, restaurant quality ingredients.
- Freshpet: This pet food brand is also made in the U.S. and offers all-natural, locally-sourced meals for your canine. The food comes from 100 percent naturally farm-raised poultry, beef, and fish, and the company also offers filler-free recipes.
- Only Natural Pet: This pet food company is 100 percent carbon neutral. Their food sources come from free-range meat and sustainably-caught fish and avoid preservatives and fillers. Their packaging uses USDA-certified bio-based plant material.
- I and Love and You: This pet food line uses natural ingredients that contain no grain allergens such as corn, wheat, soy, or fillers like rice and white potatoes and no artificial flavors, colors, artificial preservatives, or by-product meals.
Although 60+ dollars can seem like a lot of money to spend on dog food, it’s an investment into your dog’s health that will likely end up saving you money in veterinary bills down the road — not to mention, contribute positively to the environment. Feeding your dog healthy food that is sustainably sourced is excellent for the planet, and it will keep your dog happy and energized too.
– Noah Rue