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5 Non-Negotiables When Choosing an Ethical Dog Food Company

A white lab in the forest enjoying nature

Being an ethical consumer doesn’t end with the products you use. Your ability to make a difference and support brands that make the world a better place extends to the products your purchase for your pets! Choosing an ethical dog food company and dog food can reduce your furry best friend’s carbon paw print and promotes higher standards for animals raised for pet foods. So, how can you tell if a company truly is one of the most ethical pet food companies? This article will provide you with the criteria to help you become better informed on how ethical a product and company is before you buy!

Does Ethical Dog Food in Australia Make an Impact?

Absolutely! Choosing an ethical pet food company means more than just protecting the environment. Ethical dog food brands work to improve the lives of their employees, the lives of livestock and wild-caught protein sources, and the practices used to raise produce for recipes. 

Additionally, choosing ethical products is a way to ‘vote with your purchase power.’ When there’s a greater demand for ethical goods, companies are more likely to evolve their practices to fit the demand.

What to Look for in an Ethical Dog Food

As greenwashing becomes more and more prevalent, choosing the best ethical dog foods has become increasingly confusing. You may notice that many ethical raw dog foods will use shades of greens, tans, and oranges to imply that they’re eco-friendly–but basing your decision just on packaging design can be a major mistake. While you don’t have to dedicate hours to research, you will want to look closer at elements on a dog food’s packaging and read up on the dog food company’s reputation as well as mission.

The key elements you want to verify when selecting an ethical pet food company include:

1. Where Do They Source Their Ingredients?

    Australian-grown ingredients are best. Ingredients aren’t just about quality and nutrition for your dog. Choosing fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients that are raised within Australia cuts down on carbon emissions while ensuring the producer follows Australian labor laws. Ethical farming also protects the future of farming in Australia.

    Furthermore, dog food brands that source from local farmers and producers create jobs for Australians, keep more money in the Australian economy and support the public infrastructure.

    Ethical ingredients are often a win-win. They support the best farming practices and provide the best nutrition for your dog.

    When researching ingredients be sure to:

        • Always opt for Australian-grown and sources
        • Avoid GMOs
        • Avoid fruits and vegetables that are grown with excess pesticides & herbicides
        • Decide if you prefer organic practices or not
        • Choose ingredients that do not harm the environment (avoid soy beans and farmed fish)
        • Select companies that use less-desirable cuts like OFFAL [1]
        • Know that human-grade ingredients divert food from the human food system

    2. How is the Meat That Goes into the Dog Food Raised?

      A border collie in a pasture with grass-fed cattle behind it

      When we discuss ethical dog food, it’s impossible not to mention the animals that are raised to feed our pets. The reality is that vegetarian and vegan diets for dogs and cats are simply not the most nourishing. So, choosing brands that care about the conditions of the cattle, poultry, fish, and kangaroo that go into their formulas is the next best option. Essentially, you want to avoid any chance of supporting animal cruelty.

      Again, you want to choose meat sources that are raised in Australia. This provides greater control, regulation, and oversight as to how the meat is raised. You also want to look for humanely raised meat, this includes:

          • The ability to free-range, free-run, or be pasture-raised (avoid cage-raised poultry and eggs)
          • Being able to live out its life in a natural manner
          • Consuming a natural diet (for example, grass-fed beef)
          • Proper veterinary care and reduces suffering (this can be contentious when it comes to the world of organic poultry and antibiotic-free meats) [2]

      3.What Sustainable Practices Does the Company Partake In?

      Often sustainable or eco-friendly practices are the most highly promoted by all pet food companies. As more people insist on green practices, more brands highlight how they’re protecting the environment. This is great! However, when given the option, you still want to select a company that goes above and beyond to reduce its carbon footprint, protect nature for future generations, and choose farming practices that ensure the land remains fertile for generations to come.

      Some Sustainable Initiatives You May Want to Look for Include:
          • Participation in a tree-planting program
          • Eco-friendly/sustainable packaging
          • Carbon offsetting
          • Sources ingredient locally
          • Work-from-from employee options
          • Sustainable farming practices (crop rotation, soil-friendly crops, and livestock practices that work in harmony with the ecosystem)
          • Low-impact meats or meats that reduce environmental destruction (wild-caught kangaroo or venison)
          • Reduced carbon shipping
          • Using ingredients that reduce waste (ugly produce, cuts people usually avoid, and recipes that reflect a  nose-to-tail philosophy)

      4. Does the Company Support Charities?

        A dog food company employee volunteering at a dog shelter

        Of course, when it comes to ethical dog food Australian companies should also DO good by bringing awareness to causes and donating a portion of their proceeds to charities and non-profits. How you prioritize which charities you want your money to trickle down to is up to you.

        Often companies that give their employee time off to volunteer or hold company-wide volunteer events extend an ethical ethos beyond just writing a check,

        Petzyo, a leading ethical dry dog food and raw dog food company, supports local communities, pet shelters, environmental causes,  and local response efforts to natural disasters. This spreads the love among many hand-picked causes for the greatest impact.

        5. How Does the Brand Treat Its Employees?

          Finally, buying from a brand that treats its employees well ensures your money improves the lives of people working for that company along with those they support. You can verify that a company provides adequate pay and comfortable working conditions to its team through reviews on Glassdoor and other platforms.

          Ethical Dog Food = A Better Future for Pups & the Planet

          Shopping as a responsible consumer may come with a few extra hoops to jump through, but it takes people like you to make a difference in the world. By selecting an ethical dog food brand, you and your four-legged best friend can both make an impact that extends beyond the dog bowl. So, never settle for dog food that isn’t fighting alongside you.