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Why feeding your dog vegan is better for the planet

Many of us are well aware of how our diets are impacting the planet, but what about man’s best friend? Pets diets have been long overlooked, but now’s the time for a change.

We feed our dogs a much more meat-heavy diet than your average meat-eating person, and according to new research, this isn’t necessary. With the demand for pets soaring since lockdown, the environmental impact of animal diets is more of a threat than ever. 

Dogs are omnivores like us, meaning their diet can consist of both animals and plants. If you’ve ever fed your pup veggies or fruit, you’ll know how much they can enjoy plants.

Unfortunately, obesity and cancer in dogs are more common than they should be in the UK, which is where a plant-based diet can work its magic. Plant foods are loaded with nutrition, can help your pup lose weight, and have a much smaller environmental footprint than meat, dairy and eggs.

Why should we change our diets to be cleaner and more nutritious while leaving our pets behind to eat byproducts from the meat industry? If we want a chance at tackling climate change and making our planet a greener place, we can’t solely focus on our own plates. There are millions of pets in the UK alone, which means their diets matter just as much as ours.

Not only is a vegan diet incredibly nutritious and clean, but it’s a great way to improve your pets environmental pawprint. Pet food consumption contributes to an estimated 64 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year (the equivalent of 13 million cars).

An area roughly twice the size of the UK is used annually to make dry food for both cats and dogs, and with pet numbers rising, more space will have to be made. In order to make space for animal agriculture, forests are destroyed, leaving wildlife without a home while releasing carbon back into the atmosphere.

One of the benefits of growing fruits and vegetables is that they require much less land than meat, and there’s also the option of growing in urban areas, horizontal farming etc. Regarding animal agriculture, there are not many options for space-saving, and most are certainly not ethical. As you might have already guessed by now, water usage is also a downside to meat-based pet food. The meat industry uses up tonnes of water per year for production while polluting vast amounts of water. 

According to Hownd, transitioning a 32kg dog from a raw meat diet to a plant-based diet could save 5,000 litres of water, approximately 30 square feet of rainforest, 20kg of grain, and the life of a farm animal. Vegan dog food brands are not driven by profit; they care about the environment and aim to give animals the best chance at life.

However, if you don’t feel confident committing your dog to a 100% plant-based diet, why not consider flexitarianism? Just like with your diet, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

5 Nov 2021
Jenny Edwards

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