10 Best Sustainable Pet Food Brands
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Searching For the Best Sustainable Pet Food Brands
When it comes to our furry companions, we want to give them the best we can. Oftentimes that means they get better treatment than us (and we’re ok with that). One thing that definitely can’t be sacrificed for our furry friends is food quality.
Let’s clear the air here, we all know there are endless brands to buy from. However, what is often not considered is that, like for us, there are different tiers when it comes to healthy and sustainable selections to provide pets for daily sustenance.
“Most commercial brands add certain ingredients to dog foods, not because they taste better for your dog or because they are healthier, but because they help the food stay fresh longer, or simply because they’re cheaper and somewhat similar to other ingredients,” veterinarian Dr. Sabrina Kong said.
“In organic dog foods, you won’t find any additives like preservatives, dyes, or coloring agents, which makes them an overall much healthier alternative for your pooch.”
Meet the Expert: Sabrina Kong, DVM
Dr. Sabrina Kong graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in England in 2016 and has been working at a small animal clinic in Northern California since then.
Dr. Kong grew up in the Bay Area and got her bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She also became a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner through a program at the University of Tennessee.
This article on the best sustainable pet food brands isn’t trying to overwhelm readers. We’re here to give you options on top quality companies, as well as a few tips and tricks to keep in mind when buying for man’s best friend.
10 Best Sustainable Pet Food Brands
1. Kiwi Kitchens
We’re starting down under and a little to the right. That’s right, Kiwis, this one’s for you. New Zealand’s Kiwi Kitchen is a brand all about that natural support in a pet’s diet.
All foods are high in proteins and Omega 3, offer fewer carbohydrates, and the brand goes so far as to freeze dry all packaging to secure vitamins and minerals into the meal and make them good for any time of day.
Reportedly using only the best of the best, Kiwi Kitchen takes advantage of the natural beef and fishing in their country to source only natural, pure ingredients that will truly treat any pet.
Though the brand is New Zealand-based, they’ve made their way to international heights, featured across Australia, the US, Canada, Singapore, and Taiwan. This brand is proud to spread their sources across the world and help one pet at a time.
Though we want the best for our pets, sometimes prices can hold us back. When it comes to pet food, there’s such a range of products that it’s hard to nail down one competitive price. Since their specialty is freeze-dried, we’ll focus on that. These meals sit around $12 per pack, but multipacks are available for $26.
- A wide variety of sustainable cat and dog food to choose from
- High in vitamins, antioxidants, and nutrients
- Fewer carbohydrates
- Eco-friendly production and sourcing
- Batch tested for quality control
- Family-based company
2. Open Farm
Born from the love of their own adopted pet, Open Farms began as a call for healthier alternatives with a natural base. Owners Jacqueline and Isaac put forth a desire for food that would not only fill their dog Bella but help her grow and thrive with the nutrients she needed.
As a result, the business was born and has now grown to include a wide selection of freeze-dried, wet, dry, and cooked foods with more categories in treats and supplement selections.
Rather than overwhelm each customer, this brand knows how to market with their Food Quiz to break down what each pet needs or allows searches by food type, protein, exclusives, and more. Simplifying the process, Open Farms wants to make it an easy stop to selecting that perfect and pure food for each pet.
In addition to the premium nutrients available in each dish, this brand is also dedicated to sourcing each ingredient, able to track its whole journey prior to being in their foods. Using only facilities with high-quality welfare standards, Open Farms really follows through on wanting the best for the animals.
Currently, the brand is working on reducing their carbon footprint, dedicated to providing not only sustainable food but practices as well. They want to be known as the best sustainable pet food for a reason.
As for price, there’s a lot to compare here. When it comes to their freeze-dried meals, they gravitate towards $13. Overall, their food seems to sit at a reasonable average price.
- Offers an incredible variety of cat and dog foods with a long list of protein and food types available
- Subscriptions available
- Uses exclusively ocean-caught fish and humanely raised animals
- Organic fruits and vegetables only
- Free samples available
- Ships to the US and Canada
3. Orijen & Acana by Champion Pet Foods
We’re offering two for one in this entry for the best sustainable pet food. Orijen & Acana by Champion Pet Foods really separates the best of the best into two separate brand names. But what’s the difference between each name?
When it comes to Orijen, these foods are all about that well-rounded diet that works alongside biological needs for proper growth. Known as the “nutrition nature intended,” this name focuses on top-tier nutrients and proteins, helping that healthy and happy pet reach their peak.
When it comes to Acana food, it’s all about the finesse in the recipe. By that, we mean taste comes first for this pet’s palette. Maintaining the quality levels of protein and nutrients, Acana food offers healthy options that taste so great your pet will never want to go back.
From award-winning kitchens (and we mean four whole awards from 2017 onward), this food has been designed to provide the best flavors and nutrients to pets via dry food, wet food, freeze-dried, and treats.
To provide a snapshot of Orijen food, a freeze-dried bag can range from $26 to $36 depending on where customers buy from. Acana seems to sit at a lower price, ranging from $15 to $20 per bag.
- A range of sustainable and naturally sourced pet food for dogs and cats
- Partners with over 40 rescues and shelters
- Recipient of 4 national awards
- Their diets are meant to mimic the evolutionary natural diet of dogs and cats
- Serves over 100 countries
4. Newman’s Own
We’ll be honest, pets aren’t really the first thought when it comes to Newman’s Own. This organic company actually provides all-natural food and beverage products for pet owners, and they later delved into the world of furry friends. Despite it not being part of the original plan, the food available offers high quality and reasonable pricing.
Newman’s Own runs on two base values – 100% of profits go to charity (nice to hear), and quality has to come first. Whether dealing with human food, pet food, or products for their various partners, this brand knows that quality is key to a happy and healthy customer.
When it comes to pet food, options are quite limited. Newman’s Own only offers canned food and dog treats in this category, so this isn’t a brand known for its pet food range.
It’s actually quite difficult to track down pricing for these products (there’s no direct purchasing from the site), but from what we’ve found through online searches, it seems like a case of 12 for the dog food averages around $44.
- Natural foods, beverages, and pet foods available for a simple shopping experience
- 100% of profits donated to charity
- Serves 5 countries
- Offers online recipes for free
5. Only Natural Pet
Let’s go back to 2002 – what seems to be (compared to now) a simpler time. Well, for most of us anyway. For Marty Grosjean, the founder of Only Natural Pet, the year was a bit stressful.
With a dog facing numerous health issues, Grosjean struggled to find a natural and holistic diet on the market to help his poor pup. After a lot of research and testing, a solution was found to get his dog happy and healthy once more.
From that desperation, a lofty goal was born to create a brand offering the healthy and holistic alternatives that seemed so slim on the market. Since then, this brand has focused on two key aspects – healthier pets and a healthier planet.
Through sustainable sourcing and all-natural nutrients, this brand has put pets first and we have to appreciate the dedication.
We were especially impressed with the incredible range of food and pricing options. With 37 pages of dog food alone, it’s safe to say that there are options when it comes to this entry for the best sustainable pet food.
What are the prices like you ask? Quite reasonable we have to say. When it comes to their freeze-dried food, they offer a number of different sized bags, so prices really range depending on the order. That said, there are plenty of great options between the $15 to $25 range.
- Expansive pet retailer with food, treats, wellness, toys, furniture, and more
- Transparent production process
- B-Corp certified
- Locally sourced
- Subscriptions available
6. The Farmer’s Dog
We know that every pet owner may be an animal lover, but sometimes we want to find a product that’s specific to our own pet. Who needs brand names and generalized content when what we really want is for our own dog to thrive?
The Farmer’s Dog understands that desire and works solely through custom meal plans and subscription services to provide top-quality food that pets will be begging to eat.
The trick with this brand? Each meal contains food products that could be eaten by humans. Using proteins, fruits, and vegetables suitable for the owners as well as the pets, this food provides the perfect balanced meal to dish up for any dog.
These meals are made with fresh food (and love) often denied in the production of kibble and dry food available for dogs.
The process is quite simple: customers fill out a questionnaire on their dogs, their current habits, goals, and routines. Add in some notes on favorite flavors and the information will be sent to a nutritionist who works out what the perfect plan is for that breed, size, age, etc. Each personal plan is given careful attention to provide the exact nutrients that canines need.
Plans begin at $2 per day, but pricing will depend on the needs of the animal. Bigger animals tend to require a larger input per day, so the best way to figure out what the payments will be is to send away the questionnaire and receive the meal plan and its possibilities.
- Creates custom meal plans for dogs
- Free delivery
- Nationwide shipping
- Eco-friendly packaging
- Formulated by nutritionists and vets
- Subscriptions available
7. ORGANIX by Castor & Pollux
Leading the way in organics, Castor & Pollux created their line ORGANIX to speak to just how natural these ingredients are. This brand was launched in 2003, making them one of the first or natural pet foods on the market.
Currently the only “complete line of USDA organically certified pet food” in the industry right now, this business continues to push themselves towards better ingredients, packaging, and sourcing for premium quality products.
Transparency is key when it comes to this company. They’re all about open communication and go so far as to list all ingredients and their nutrient values online. They really break down the process and make nutrition a topic that’s easy for anyone to comprehend.
When it comes to their actual products, this brand is great for offering up sizing options. From 4lb to 10lb bags and more, prices vary depending on the size ordered. We will say a standard 4lb bag tends to sell between $22 to $25 depending on the retailer. Keep an eye out and check different locations to find the best deal.
- A great selection of dry and wet foods for both cats and dogs
- Made with 95% or more organic ingredients
- All food is non-GMO
- No artificial coloring or flavoring
8. The Honest Kitchen
Similar to another on this list, this entry in the best sustainable pet food combines the nutrients of a human diet with the necessities of a pet’s lifestyle. Since 2002, The Honest Kitchen has worked towards higher quality meals, ingredients, and sourcing for a healthy and eco-friendly selection.
This brand has been all about upholding their values from day one. Working with local sources and personal relations, The Honest Kitchen has kept things low-key and sustainable without ever lowering their standards.
Suppliers for ingredients have a long list of requirements that must be shown in order for the proteins and produce to be accepted. Keeping this list going allows for quality assurance checks to be in place throughout the production process to ensure that standards never slip.
Each dish developed by The Honest Kitchen has to meet human-grade levels. This means that meals meet the same standards required for serving people rather than the basic sets in place for livestock. Every batch gets quality testing done before being packaged, promising customers top-tier health and safety for their pets.
While this brand doesn’t get into freeze-dried options, they do offer a variety of dehydrated, wet, and dry foods for both dogs and cats. Like others on this list, they tend to sell a number of sizes, starting with 2lb bags for around $22 and 4lb bags hitting the $32 mark. They sit at slightly higher pricing than some on the list, but considering the human-grade quality, it seems more than fair.
- Offers a wide range of dry and wet pet foods for dogs and cats
- Subscriptions available
- Reward points for members
- “Find Your Recipe” Quiz
- Partners with veterinary professionals
Who doesn’t love to be a hero? Chippin brings that superhero quality to their food and their production, focusing all efforts on eco-friendly practices and reducing emissions.
Using 80% fewer resources than other brands on the market, Chippin works to reduce the heavy meat consumption of the pet industry while maintaining the nutrients needed.
Rather than working with the standard proteins available (beef, chicken, turkey, etc), this brand looks to alternatives that are just as high in vitamins, minerals, and Omega 3s but that don’t do nearly as much damage to the world.
The key three ingredients? Introducing crickets, spirulina, and silver carp into the mix.
High in protein, easily digestible, and great for dogs with allergies, these alternative sources are widely available and remove the production impacts that trigger deforestation, poor air quality, biodiversity, and poor ocean health. Top-quality, clean production, what more could you ask for?
The last thing to consider here – prices. When it comes to this brand there’s a range of dog food available according to type and size. A standard bag of 3.5lb food goes for around $33, so it’s not the cheapest on this list, but also not the worst rate in the world. Subscription costs will save 10% on the purchase price, so that’s something to consider for repeat buyers. Every penny counts.
- A wide range of dog food, treats, and supplements
- Dedicated to sustainable production
- Crafted by vets, PhDs, and nutritionists
- Supports gut health, strengthening immunity, and reducing allergic responses
- Subscriptions available
- Low carbon footprint
10. Wild Earth
We’re leaving Wild Earth as our last entry in this best sustainable pet food list for their original and creative approach to recipes. Noting the impact that the meat industry has on the environment, this brand twists things around by removing all meat products from their lineup and focusing on a vegetarian lifestyle.
Before anyone gets too concerned, keep in mind that dogs (like humans) are omnivores. This means that with the right supplements, all protein and nutrient targets can still be achieved without any concern.
The fact is many dogs actually struggle to digest meats that are included in typical pet foods. Cleansing the palette of any meat eases digestion, allergic responses, and health concerns.
Plant-based, cruelty-free, top-tier quality – all that’s left to consider is the price range. As with any pet food, it really comes down to type and size.
We will say that a 4lb bag of dry food usually sits around $29 for a one-time purchase, but that cost gets reduced by 20% by subscribing. Even when bought alone, the price is pretty good compared to others on the market.
- An expansive list of food, treats, supplements, and clothing for dogs
- Subscriptions offered
- Online company blog
- 14-day free trial
- No meat involved
How to Choose the Best Sustainable Pet Food: Things to Consider
We’ve gone over our top ten options for the best sustainable pet food, but there’s more to buying than just a list of brands. We’re not saying brand doesn’t matter (it usually does), but there are many more elements that come into play when searching for the best sustainable solution.
Rather than leaving readers to struggle (we would never), instead we’re offering up a quick list of considerations to keep in mind while shopping. It’s not a checklist, but rather a few features that come into play more than we tend to realize.
Breed and Type of Animal
The simple fact is breed does matter. Different breeds will have different builds, activity levels, temperaments, and more. Knowing the breed will alter their health benefits as nutrient and protein levels can range according to the individual animal.
The best bet when it comes to this is doing research into your specific pet’s breed, activity level, and size. Talk it over with a vet for the best recommendations regarding diets.
We know that some people claim brand name doesn’t matter, but the fact is that brand definitely makes a difference. When it comes to nutrients, proteins, and any additional aspects added to the food, each brand has their own method. The best sustainable pet food on the market tends to be the one that’s transparent in their ingredients and process.
Rather than reading the back of the bag at the store, put some effort in to look up how this brand comes across online. Do they have a good reputation? High reviews? Are they a customer favorite or an unknown entity?
The best thing to look for is high customer numbers and great ratings. Being a favorite scheduled brand is far better than an unlisted option that has nothing else to its name.
We know that this goes hand in hand with price, but we think it’s really worth it to aim for the higher listed items. Less processing is always the better option. Organic foods, whether naturally grown, sourced, or free-range raised, always showcase higher nutrients and proteins than the alternatives.
The trick between organic and natural comes down to definition. Organic products have to be grown according to a distinct set of standards that remove modifications, pesticides, and GMOs from the process. Whereas natural products consist of a much wider description that allows for sneaking those synthetic elements into the recipe.
When it comes to health, organic elements are key. Better for digestion, fiber, allergies, and more, there are endless benefits to appreciate. We know it’s not a solution for every pet, but higher quality options tend to make the best sustainable pet food, and who doesn’t want that for their furry friend?
As with humans, nutritional needs really change throughout the lifespan. As a result, dogs will need different formulas based on age. When it comes to puppies, the food they eat will alter their growth, and (again, just like with kids) the aim is to provide the requirements for strong bones and joints that will support the rapid growth spurt everyone goes through.
As for older dogs, their health concerns need to be taken into account. Some pets may be over or underweight and require adjustments depending on the situation. Oftentimes older pets will appreciate the value of wet food with its more pungent scent and easier chewing, though that’s a personal note to consider for each specific pet.
While older pets and picky eaters tend to go for wet food, dry food is a great option to consider as well. This tends to be cheaper than the alternative and has a longer storage life as well. Different formulas are available for weight classes, breeds, and age, making it easier to narrow down exactly what to buy.
This one also works alongside quality and price. Pets eat quite often, so you’ll want to ensure that the quantity purchased is well worth the cost. The best way to do this? Simply compare and contrast.
While higher quality products may require higher costs, that doesn’t mean the quantity gets a boost too. Dry food will always go further than wet food in terms of quantity vs cost, but for picky eaters, there are many wet food alternatives that offer differing sizes, costs, and subscriptions. The best way to deal with this area is to figure out what type of food you’re looking to buy and then narrow in from there.
The sad thing we all have to consider is health conditions. While we want our pets to remain completely healthy for as long as possible, life gets in th way and adjustments have to be made.
When it comes to diets for animals with health concerns, the best thing to do is consult the vet for a full list of what the animal will and won’t be able to stomach.
There’s no single diet that’s effective for all animals and all conditions, so things need to be taken case by case. As mentioned earlier, older pets may lean towards wet food for its easy digestion and stronger aroma.
Some pets have issues with meat-based foods due to digestion or allergies. It all comes down to the individual animal, so talking with a vet is the best solution for this element.
This one isn’t entirely about the food itself, though some brands do better than others when it comes to being the best sustainable pet food. The meat industry makes a big impact and unfortunately, pets play a big part in that.
With that being said, there are businesses that acknowledge that and work with alternative proteins or more eco-friendly solutions to play their part in bettering the world around us.
“Sustainable pet food brands are those that pride themselves on doing things like employing eco-friendly corporate practices, reducing as much waste as possible, working with only locally harvested and organic ingredients, using low-emission processing techniques, and many other practices that help them reduce their environmental impact,” Dr. Kong said.
Do some research on the brand when it comes to this one. Some companies will offer more transparency regarding ingredient sourcing, manufacturing, packaging, and more.
These are ultimately the best brands to work with as they not only are working to involve the community in the process, but they’re keeping sustainability at the forefront of their minds and typically end up offering healthy, nutrient-packed products that are great for pets.
While this isn’t a definitive list of the best sustainable pet food, we did try to offer as many key elements as we could for further consideration. These top ten brands have put their best foot forward in terms of organic offerings in eco-friendly manners.
Ultimately, the best way to move forward with any pet’s diet is to consult your veterinarian before making any big changes. There are an incredible number of factors involved in what pets (and people) eat, so it’s always best to check with a professional before doing anything drastic.
When it comes to our recommendations of what to consider before buying, we’d say the top three pieces to keep in mind are as follows:
- Diet-specific Formulas
These elements play a large part in creating routine meals that will aid energy, growth, bone density, digestion, and more. In the end, we all just want a happy and healthy pet, right?
And according to Dr. Kong, sustainable pet foods are worth it for that reason alone: “If you have the ability to change your dog’s food for an organic alternative, you should definitely go for it and I bet you will start seeing certain changes in your pal such as improved skin and coat appearance and higher energy levels in just a few months.”
How We Chose the Best Sustainable Pet Food Brands
Before choosing any brand, we scour the web and all the biggest e-tailers to ensure we know all the available options on the market. We look at customer reviews, star ratings, brand ethos, processes, materials, accessibility, and so much more. We weigh the pros and cons, so you don’t have to, helping you make informed shopping decisions.
Check out other top brands through our curated lists: