We love our furry friends and would do anything for them. However, if we were vegan or responsible consumers, we’d know.
25% of all our meat consumption goes to the production of pet food. The animal agriculture industry is the second-largest polluter on the planet after the fuel industry. It is responsible for more of the carbon emissions of greenhouse gases than all vehicles in the world combined.
So can we safely make our pets vegan? Yes, we most certainly can!
Contrary to popular belief, dogs and cats are not pure carnivores. They are omnivores and can source their protein healthily from plant-based sources. In addition, they don’t have to use grooming products that have been tested on animals or contain any animal products.
How do we reduce the carbon pawprint of our beloved furkids?
25% of the total meat produced in the United States alone goes to our pets. 89 million dogs and even more cats are dependant on us. And of course, we all know the problem with animal agriculture. Not only is it the most significant source of water consumption, but it also takes up land that can be used for agriculture, water that can be used for our consumption, and exudes a ton of chemicals that degrade the soil quality.
Pet food has been changing over the last decades. Because of the loose regulations around the quality of pet food, there are several inferior quality dog food brands around. Poor quality dog food has even been known to cause pet deaths.
However, they are some high-quality, vegan, and eco-friendly dog food brands around. If you want your dogs and cats to avoid contributing to the degradation of our environments, there are many options. They might cost slightly more but it is well worth the extra expense getting your pet to be carbon neutral, the same way you try to be.
Some of the major pet food brands like Purina, Pedigree and Natural Balance have entered the market and started offering plant-based protein sources. They use protein sources from barley, brown rice, peas, potatoes, and spinach.
Wild Earth - Not only are they developed by veterinarians and perfectly balanced, the protein sources include oats, chickpeas, and sweet potatoes; this Californian dog food company’s growth has skyrocketed over the last few years.
Most cheap commercial dog food has commercial “fillers” like corn, soy, starch, and grain. Wild Earth makes all their food with no fillers and more sustainable sources of protein.
V-Dog - This vegan pet food brand sources protein from peas, lentils, flaxseed, and oats. They make products for animals without any animal products. Not only is their food vegan, but it is also cruelty-free and never tested on animals.
All their food is tested and verified by veterinarians and veterinary nutritionists. V-dog is the first vegan dog food in the United States and remains a small, family-run business to this day.
In addition to food, eco-friendly choices can be made with accessories like leashes and collars.
Vegan clothing for us has been on the rise, with the fashion industry being responsible for over 10% of the world’s carbon emissions, we have been starting to make more responsible choices over our clothing.
The same can go for our beloved pets. Collars, leashes and toys are all available in sustainably sourced materials that aren’t tested on animals or contain any animal products.
Here are some of our favorites.
Pawsitive Hemp Collars - Available in multiple sizes, these collars are made from 100% hemp. The soft inner lining is made from organic cotton but the bulk of the collar is made from earth-friendly hemp. It makes the collar hypoallergenic and great for dogs with sensitive skin or allergies.
Not only do they stand behind their products so much that they offer a lifetime warranty, they will also donate a collar to a rescue or shelter for every one they sell.
Friendship Collar - These fashionable collars are made with animal-friendly, PETA-approved vegan leather. They have adjustable sizes that can fit both dogs and cats of all but the largest sizes. The collar comes with a matching bracelet that can fit most human arms, so you can have a matching collar and bracelet with your bestie!
In addition, they donate a portion of their sales to animal shelters across the US.
Me By Hannah Leashes - A small business based out of Costa Rica, Hannah makes naturally dyed bamboo leashes that are durable and sturdy enough for the biggest.
PawFurEver Vegan Dog Leashes - These leashes come in various colors, and gives you control over your pooch. They have a handy clip for the poop bag and are made with synthetic vegan leather. Sturdy enough for years of use, they are 5.75ft long and should be suited for most dogs.
Hoot and Co - These guys make durable faux leather vegan leashes that are built to last. A small business based out of Colorado, the leashes are functional as well as fashionable.
Some think that the idea of having vegan pets might be controversial. Dogs and cats are supposed to eat meat after all.
What isn’t much known, is that dogs and cats are not pure carnivores. They are omnivores, and can get a high level of protein from different sources, like us. Vegan humans get their protein from nuts, legumes, and other plant-based sources. Our pets can be the same.
Please check with your veterinary nutritionist before making any significant changes to your pet’s diet, and if you are thinking about switching your pet to a plant-based diet.
Good luck and stay healthy!