• Alice Long

Can what you feed your dog help tackle the climate crisis?


In partnership with THE PACK


We all want what’s best for our four-legged companions, but what if the pet food we’ve been taught to trust is not what’s best for our planet and is part of the climate crisis problem?


In recent years, the pet industry has boomed, with more of us owning pets than ever before. There are roughly over 470 million dogs worldwide and they all need feeding at least twice a day - that’s a whole lot of meat being chowed down by our hungry pups!


What effect is pet food having on our planet?

Meaty dog foods are now a major player in the climate crisis. Studies have concluded that animal agriculture is responsible for at least 87% of annual greenhouse gas emissions (1) and as much as 25% of the environmental impact of meat production has been tied to pet food production (2).


In 2020, research from the University of Edinburgh showed that the pet food industry produces almost 3% of the total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from farming - that’s the equivalent amount of CO2 produced by a sixth of all global flights (3).

If we look at land use too, studies suggest that an area twice the size of the UK is used to produce meat-based food for cats and dogs, every year (3).


As a pawrent, what can you do to help?

One of the best ways to reduce your pet’s carbon paw print is to introduce plant-based dog foods to their diet. Coined the “flexidogian approach”, this diet is a great way to start introducing plant-based foods to their diet and is all about adding new foods as opposed to excluding any.


Think we’re barking mad and that dogs need meat to survive? Well, maybe you’ve heard of Bramble, a Collie who once held the Guinness World Record for being the oldest living dog at 27 years young? (4) Like her human, Bramble lived on a strict meat-free diet of rice, lentils and organic vegetables. Domestic dogs are omnivores, just like their humans, and can thrive on a complete and balanced meatless diet. They’ve evolved over many thousands of years to digest plant-based foods and can receive all the nutrients they need without meat (5). It’s definitely not something to be sniffed at!

Here are 3 simple ways to start introducing your hound to more plant-based, sustainable foods:


1. Switch their dog treats


Even when you’ve read the science and heard the success stories, it can be nerve-racking to completely change what your dog eats, so why not start off small by making a switch to your dog’s treats.


You can buy delicious plant-based dog treats from independent companies and increasingly from the large pet food brands - or you can simply feed veggies like carrot sticks or cubes of sweet potato to them (believe us, they’ll woof them down!)

Another tip you can try, is to freeze spoonfuls of plant-based dog food, such as that produced by THE PACK, to feed as treats or spread some on a lick mat to keep your pup mentally stimulated.


Use code PLANTS+PERKS30 at checkout to get 30% off your THE PACK order.


2. Swap one of their daily meals plant-based dog food


Even if you’re raring to get your pet started on meat-free food, we don’t recommend making a dramatic switch. Just like in humans, sudden changes in diet can lead to stomach upsets, so try transitioning your dog slowly. Plus, not all dogs take to plant-based eating straight away; some pups are addicted to the meaty taste of their usual brand of food, whilst some dogs are just not very food driven at all. It’s best to take it easy with the transition!


Try switching one of their meals for plant-based food or even mixing half plant-based food with half animal meat, then gradually increasing the percentage of the plant-based portion for one of their meals. Just make sure that your dog’s main meal is nutritionally complete and balanced, providing all the nutrients they need for that day.


3. Have a meat-free Mutt-Day


Another way to reduce your dog’s environmental paw print is to do Meat Free Muttday. This is a great opportunity to tickle their taste buds with something new – and maybe try some new vegetable-based dinner options yourself too for Meat Free Monday. If your dog’s anything like ours over here at PLANTS + PERKS, they’ll start begging for courgette as soon as you get out the chopping board!


About THE PACK


THE PACK are revolutionising dog food with their 100% nutritionally complete, innovative and science led plant-based dog meals.


Using the highest quality ingredients that are not only better for your dog and their health, but better for the planet too. Winner, winner, plant-based dinner!


THE PACK currently offer three drool-inducing flavours: No-Moo Ragu, No-Cluck Casserole and No-Fishy Dishy all in a 375g can. Available as a multipack or as single flavours.


They welcome flexidogians into their community with open paws. They want to help you make sure your furry friend has the happiest and healthiest life, one meal or one treat at a time. THE PACK is for all pups, whether vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian or flexidogian!


Use code PLANTS+PERKS30 at checkout to get 30% off your THE PACK order.


References

  1. Gole D. & Watve,A. 2021 Animal Agriculture is the leading cause of climate change - a position paper. Journal of Ecological Society. https://climatehealers.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/JES-Rao.pdf

  2. Okin GS (2017) Environmental impacts of food consumption by dogs and cats. PLoS ONE 12(8): e0181301. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0181301

  3. P, Alexander et al 2020. The global environmental paw print of pet food. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0959378020307366?dgcid=author

  4. Kim Ahora, “Doggedly On A Veggie Diet,” Times of India, 26 Aug. 2010.

Knight, A. & Leitsberger, M. 2021. Vegetarian versus Meat-Based Diets for Companion Animals.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5035952/


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