Food and treats are the biggest and most major purchases we make for our pets. Making a change in this area can make a big difference in your carbon footprint as a pet parent. Depending on where you are the options available to you may vary, but there are now so many more options for those of us who want to be conscious of how our lifestyle, including our pet ownership, impacts the environment. Companies who want to cater to this market all have different ways of going about being more ethical and sustainable. It's worthwhile having a quick look at the different ways that brands approach this to see what you prefer and what’s best suited to your values and lifestyle.
*This post is not sponsored by any of the brands mentioned below
TRANSPARENCY WITH INGREDIENTS
First things first - we need to talk about what’s in the food we give our beloved cats and dogs. Just as we all want to make sure that the things we put in and on our bodies are free of harmful and unnecessary ingredients, we want the same for our pets. Unfortunately, in this industry, this area is difficult to navigate. A lot of the pet products you find in grocery store aisles don’t tell you a lot about their ingredients and what purpose they serve in your dog or cat’s diet. The good news is there are a lot of brands that have woken up to this fact and decided to do something about it. Brands like Nood, Scratch, and Naturaw are very transparent about what they put in their product. A look at their websites will show you exactly what the ingredients are and how much of the ingredients are present in their recipe. Some brands even go a step further and tell you where their ingredients come from and how they are sourced.
ETHICAL SOURCING AND LABOR
A lot of companies now recognize that just because people feed their pets meat doesn’t mean they don’t care about the animals that provide that meat. Some also recognize that pet owners care about the people that make their pet's food and treats and want to know that they are supported and compensated accordingly. This is why companies like Open Farm, Applaws, Halo, and Ziwi, among others, have detailed information on their website about how their ingredients are sourced and the standards they follow. Some brands, like Encore, will tell you exactly what their standards are for the labor force that makes their product, and some, like Petcurean, outline on their website how they support their employees and their suppliers.
One of the most straightforward things that companies can do to help conscious consumers feel good about purchasing their product is to make it easier to dispose of the packaging. However, when it comes to pet food and treats, using recyclable packaging isn’t easy. Pet food packaging has to be airtight, leakproof, sturdy, and basically aid in keeping the contents fresh. Unfortunately, a lot of easily accessible recyclable packaging like paper bags and cardboard boxes can't really meet these standards. Fortunately, there are companies that have powered through these limitations. A lot of the brands previously mentioned in this post such as Scratch, Open Farm, Goood, and Naturaw all have either 100% recyclable packaging, have their own recycling program, or are part of a recycling program. This is a big one because food and treats are the constant and most frequent purchase we make for our cats and dogs, and over time the packaging we throw out can add up to quite a lot. Not having to feel guilty about the packaging of pet food is a huge plus in our book.
The brands mentioned above are by no means the only sustainable options you have. Fortunately, there are a lot of brands all over the world that make pet food and treats that meet these criteria nowadays. If you're a pet owner and your favourite sustainable pet food and/or treats brand isn't mentioned here, why not pop it in the comments to help others who may not have these brands available where they live? In any case, hopefully, this was helpful to any of you who are thinking about switching to more ethical and sustainable food for your furry family members!