“Basically dogs are bad for the environment because they are large carnivores, so it takes a lot of land to provide their foods,” Robert Vale, co-author of “Time to Eat the Dog? The Real Guide to Sustainable Living,” told the Mother Nature Network (MNN).
As noted on MNN, the manufacturing process of most dog food is not environmentally friendly, and then all those tons of bags and cans are transported thousands of miles to your local store.
So what’s a conscientious pet parent to do?
You can try to only buy dog food that’s organic and made locally. Or you can switch your dog to a beef-free diet – since chickens and turkeys take up less space than cattle, they’re an eco-friendlier alternative.
If you’re motivated, you can make your own dog food. In fact, doing so could be better for both your dog and the environment. Last year, a Belgian study found that dogs fed processed food died an average of three years earlier than those who ate home-cooked food.
Be sure to use locally grown, organic ingredients if you opt to cook for your dog. According to an Austrailian study, dogs can even become vegetarians. Although a team of Siberian Huskies performed just as well on a plant-based diet as a meat-based one, nutritionist Wendy Brown warned that preparing an all-veggie diet yourself can be challenging as far as meeting your dog’s nutritional needs.
Whether your home-cooked dog food contains meat or not, veterinarian Viv Harris told MNN that pet parents should consult with their vets to figure out the optimal combination of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins for their particular pooches.
Looking for more ways to make your dog eco-friendlier? Check out Tips for a Greener Dog.