What makes a pet food sustainable? According to the Pet Sustainability Coalition, there are four factors to consider. The Coalition focuses on protein sources when evaluating the sustainability of a pet food, since proteins have the highest environmental impact of any ingredient category. Not only are protein sources at the top of the ingredients list, they can also be very environmentally taxing to produce. (We're looking at you, animal protein!)
The four-part sustainability framework
The Pet Sustainability Coalition calls out four factors that contribute to a pet food's sustainability:
#1 ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
Environmental impact measures how intensive a food is on our natural resources. Deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, land use, and water use are factored into the environmental impact of a pet food formula.
Josera, a German pet food company and member of the Coalition, estimated the carbon dioxide output associated with different pet food ingredients. They found that animal protein (including insects) accounted for the majority of greenhouse gas pollution, as opposed to plant-based ingredients, vitamins, and minerals.
#2 SOCIAL IMPACT
The social impact of a food is another important aspect of sustainability, and is measured by human factors like safe working conditions, fair labor standards, and freedom from slavery.
Though perhaps less obvious, a formula's nutritional sufficiency also plays a role in its overall sustainability, according to the Coalition. Nutrition involves nutritional composition, bioavailability, and digestibility. Foods that do not promote a balanced diet for our pets may lead to secondary environmental impacts related to veterinary care, supplements, and medications used to counteract deficiencies.
#4 ANIMAL WELFARE
Last but certainly not least, animal welfare is an important factor in the sustainability of a pet food. Animal welfare includes factors like humane standards of production, prevention of pain, and promotion of natural behavior.
Why vegan dog food is unsurpassed
People choose to feed their dogs vegan for a variety of reasons. Here at v-dog, our mission is to prioritize the health of our pups while making ethical choices about what they consume. Fortunately, these two goals can be achieved with the same thing: a plant-based diet.
Animal agriculture is responsible for the vast majority of deforestation, produces more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation industry combined, and is the leading cause of species extinction (learn more). According to a 2017 study, US dogs and cats would rank fifth in global meat consumption if they were their own country. The conversation about our pets' impact on the environment is absolutely crucial.
Vegan diets also remove all animal welfare concerns from the equation because they don't rely on poorly regulated "humane" claims to ensure that animals aren't being harmed. If our dogs can obtain all the nutrients they need without meat, and doing so prevents unnecessary damage to the planet and other species, then we ask the simple question — why not?
Still concerned about whether your pup can truly thrive on a vegan diet? Check out the articles below to learn more:
- Vegan Dog Nutrition: The Basics
- Dogs are Not Wolves: Amylase, Starch Digestion and Vegan Diets
- These Dogs Have Been Vegan for a Decade
V-dog has been serving up yummy vegan kibble and treats since 2005. Our animal-free products are a huge hit with our doggie customers, and of course our farmed animal friends. Learn more about our vegan owned and operated business on our FAQ page.
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