The Benefits of Sustainable Proteins
At Bark Potty, we’re always looking for ways to make pet ownership more sustainable. As sustainability efforts gain more traction across the globe, many are turning to alternative sources of protein that will be kinder to the earth as well as reduce the unethical treatment of animals. Continue reading to find out more about this burgeoning trend!
Photo by Sohini
Why should I feed my dog sustainable proteins?
Food production has some of the biggest impacts on our environment because food is something every human and their pet needs. Raising animals for food requires an immense amount of resources like land and water, which grow scarcer everyday. The European Commission on Sustainable Food has also observed that agriculture and fisheries are the single largest driver of biodiversity loss. Unfortunately, humans aren’t the only consumers prompting this change. Our pets play a big role in driving this loss too. As dog parents, we can do our part by trying to incorporate sustainable proteins into their diet.
What are sustainable proteins?
Sustainable proteins can be thought of in two different ways. First, sustainable is commonly used to describe foods that have been grown and farmed sustainably. This means efforts have been made to minimize the impact on the environment by not using more resources than the Earth can readily replace. For example, a small farm might rely on a rainwater reservoir instead of tap for their chickens in order to conserve water.
Second, sustainable protein can refer specifically to alternatives to traditional proteins like beef and chicken. Because beef and chicken farms require so many resources and emit greenhouse gasses, people have turned to alternatives such as insects, which can offer the same nutrients while using much less resources.
Some common alternative proteins are:
- Edible insects such as crickets
- Sustainably farmed fish and clams
- Spirulina derives from aquatic plants such as algae
- Garden peas
Will alternative proteins provide enough nutrients for my dog?
Sustainable or alternative shouldn’t be understood as being deficient or lesser-than traditional proteins. Though rarer, there are dog foods that are made with common proteins like chicken but have been sustainably sourced or farmed. You can also supplement their usual food with sustainable ingredients so that your dog is eating less non-sustainable food but still squeezing in those alternative proteins.
However, switching up your pup’s diet can be a big change! If you’re not quite sure whether or not you want to make the move yet, you can always start small. Treats are an easy way to test out sustainable proteins without making a huge commitment. Whether you start with a protein that’s more familiar or decide to be adventurous, it’ll help you get a sense of how your dog takes to them.
If you do decide to adjust your dog’s entire diet, we recommend checking with your vet to make sure your dog will be able to get all the important nutrients they need to thrive. And don’t forget that any diet change can cause an upset stomach. We recommend having a wee wee pad on hand while your fur baby adjusts to the change.