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Sustainable Pet Food: What To Look For When Choosing Quality Nutrition

4 mins read. Published on 07 May 23, Updated on 06 Jun 23.
Sustainable Pet Food: What To Look For When Choosing Quality Nutrition

Pet food is often taken for granted, but choosing the right nutrition for our furry companions is crucial for their overall health and well-being. With so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to decipher what is truly sustainable and nutritious.

Sustainable pet food takes into account not just the health of our pets, but also the impact on the environment. By choosing sustainable pet food, we can reduce our carbon footprint and support companies that prioritize ethical and eco-friendly practices. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting quality, sustainable pet food for your furry friend.

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What Makes Pet Food Sustainable


One of the most important factors in sustainable pet food is the ingredients. Look for brands that use high-quality, whole-food ingredients that are ethically sourced, organic, and non-GMO. Avoid brands that use fillers, by-products, or artificial preservatives, flavors, and colors.


Packaging can make a big difference in the sustainability of pet food. Look for brands that use recyclable or biodegradable packaging materials, or that allow you to return packaging for recycling. Avoid brands that use excessive packaging or materials that are not eco-friendly.

Production Practices

The way that pet food is produced can also have an impact on sustainability. Look for brands that use sustainable production practices, such as using renewable energy sources, reducing water usage, or using closed-loop systems that minimize waste. Avoid brands that rely heavily on fossil fuels, excessive water usage, or produce a large amount of waste.


When shopping for sustainable pet food, look for brands that have certifications from recognized organizations, such as the USDA Organic or Non-GMO Project Verified. These certifications can give you peace of mind that the food meets certain standards for sustainability and quality.

Ingredients To Look For

When it comes to sustainable pet food, there are certain ingredients to keep an eye out for. These include:

1. Organic meats and vegetables

Look for pet food made with organic meats and vegetables. This means that the ingredients have been grown and processed without the use of harmful pesticides and chemicals.

2. Sustainable seafood

If your pet food contains seafood, make sure it's sustainably sourced. Look for certifications such as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC).

3. Whole grains

Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and oats provide important nutrients and fiber for your pet. Avoid pet foods that contain a lot of fillers like wheat or corn.

4. Limited ingredient lists

Choose pet foods with simple, limited ingredient lists. Avoid foods with artificial preservatives, flavors, and colors.

5. Locally-sourced ingredients

Whenever possible, look for pet food made with locally-sourced ingredients. This reduces the carbon footprint of the food and supports local agriculture.

The Environmental Impact Of Pet Food Production

When it comes to sustainable pet food, it's not just about what goes into the food but also the impact it has on the environment. Here are some key considerations regarding the environmental impact of pet food production:

Meat Consumption and Carbon Footprint

Pet food is a major contributor to the meat industry and its carbon footprint. Animal agriculture has been linked to environmental issues like deforestation, water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. It's important to choose pet food brands that prioritize sustainability and work towards reducing their carbon footprint.

Processing and Packaging Waste

The processing and packaging of pet food also have their negative impacts on the environment. Excessive use of plastic packaging leads to landfill waste and contributes to ocean pollution. Brands that use recyclable materials or have sustainable packaging options can make a positive impact on the environment.

Ingredient Sourcing and Transportation

The transportation of ingredients used in pet food production can also have a significant impact on the environment, especially if they are being sourced from far away. Supporting brands that use locally sourced and sustainably farmed ingredients can reduce the overall environmental impact of pet food production while supporting local businesses.

Choosing A Responsible Pet Food Brand

When choosing a pet food brand, it's important to consider how responsible and sustainable the company is. Here are some things to look for:

1. Ethical sourcing

Look for brands that use responsibly sourced ingredients. This means that they prioritize animal welfare, environmental sustainability, and fair labor practices in their supply chain.

2. Minimal processing

Choose brands that use minimal processing, as this can help retain the nutrients in the ingredients and reduce waste and energy consumption.

3. Packaging

Consider the packaging of the pet food brand. Look for brands that use recyclable or biodegradable packaging materials, or those with package return or refill programs.

4. Transparency

Choose pet food brands that are transparent about their sourcing, processing, and quality control practices. This can help build trust with the consumer and ensure that the brand is accountable for its impact on the environment and society.

Questions To Ask Pet Food Companies

Choosing sustainable pet food is not just about ensuring your furry companion is getting the best possible nutrition, but also about becoming a responsible, eco-conscious consumer. To make sure you are choosing the right product, here are some questions to ask pet food companies:

Where do your ingredients come from?

One of the most important aspects of choosing sustainable pet food is knowing where the ingredients come from. The company should be transparent about their sources and provide information on farmers, suppliers, and distributors. Additionally, look for companies that prioritize using locally sourced and organic ingredients to reduce their carbon footprint.

How do you minimize waste?

What certifications do you have?

Many certifications indicate that a company is following sustainable and ethical practices. Look for certifications such as Certified B Corporation, Rainforest Alliance, and USDA organic. These certifications ensure the company is using sustainable ingredients, minimizing waste, and following ethical labor practices.

Do you conduct any animal testing?

Animal testing is not only cruel but also unnecessary. Ask the company if they conduct any animal testing and if they use alternative testing methods. Look for companies that prioritize using cruelty-free testing methods or have been certified by organizations such as Leaping Bunny.

By asking these questions and doing your research, you can make an informed decision when choosing sustainable pet food for your furry friend. Remember, being an eco-conscious consumer not only benefits your pet, but also the planet.

Tips For Feeding Your Pet Sustainably

1. Choose Eco-Friendly Brands

When looking for sustainable pet food, make sure to choose brands that use eco-friendly packaging materials such as recycled paper or biodegradable packaging. Additionally, look for brands that source their ingredients sustainably and use ethical farming methods.

2. Support Local Pet Food Suppliers

Buying from local pet food suppliers not only reduces your carbon footprint but also supports local businesses. Look for small businesses that use locally sourced ingredients and do not rely on mass production.

3. Opt for Organic Pet Food

Organic pet food uses ingredients that have been grown without harmful pesticides or chemicals. This is not only better for the environment but also ensures that your pet is receiving the healthiest possible food.

4. Reduce Meat Consumption

Meat production is a major contributor to greenhouse gases. If your pet doesn't have any dietary restrictions, try incorporating plant-based protein sources into their diet. This simple change can make a significant difference in reducing your pet's carbon footprint.

5. Avoid Overfeeding

Overfeeding your pet not only leads to obesity but also results in wasted food. Make sure to follow the recommended serving size and monitor your pet's weight to ensure that they are receiving the right amount of food.

In conclusion, by following these tips, you can ensure that your pet is not only receiving quality nutrition but also contributing to sustainable practices.

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