Eco-Friendly Pet Food Guide

feed your cat eco-friendly fish!

Is there such a thing as “eco-friendly” pet food? There are billions of pets in the world, and all of them have to eat. If all the pets in the USA were a country it would rank 5th in global meat consumption! 

Meat production for animals can be a major contributor to climate change, but there are ways you can help avoid this happening. Read on …

1. Food Waste

eco-friendly means less waste

What’s The Issue?

According to WRAP, waste accounts for 25–30% of global food production. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) food waste contributes 8-10% of total man-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. If food waste were a country, it would be the world’s third largest emitter after China and the USA.

Reducing food waste is an important part of an eco-friendly pet food policy. The UK alone produces 9.5 million tonnes of food waste, creating around 25 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. This is equivalent to around five percent of the UK’s territorial emissions – or 1 in 3 of all the cars on UK roads.

(source: WRAP)

What You Can Do

Feed your pets what humans leave. Seek out animal byproducts—the parts of cows, chickens, and other animals humans prefer not to eat.

Use your food scraps. Making use of spare food in your home is great for the environment, but check your pet’s diet is ok with your vet.


Shameless Pets – rescue and transform surplus food produce into high-quality treats for pets

2. Meat

eco-friendly means sustainable meat

What’s the Issue?

Much of the meat in pet food is factory-farmed, causing unnecessary suffering to animals and helping to fuel climate change.

‘Human grade’ pet foods use prime meat cuts and other ingredients preferred by many people, adding pressure to a global food system that will have to feed an estimated 9 billion people by 2050.

What You Can Do

If you are feeding your pet meat try to find organic or free-range brands (see Examples below).

Or avoid meat altogether. Amazingly, some pet food manufacturers are starting to use non-meat substitutes like crickets in their produce. Yora dog food is based on grubs. Crickets and grubs have less environmental issues than beef products.

Lastly, some companies such as Because Animals have begun to research or produce lab-grown, ‘cultured’ meat. Cultured meat has the same nutritional value as animal-based meat but is grown in a laboratory.


Jimini’s sell edible insect treats for pets – check out their crickets

V-Dog – vegan, palm-oil free, meat-free dog food

Yarrah – organic meat and vegetarian dog and cat food

Yora – insect-based pet food

3. Fish

feed your cat eco-friendly fish!

What’s The Issue?

Illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing threatens the sustainability of fish populations, ecosystems and the livelihoods of those who fish legitimately.  The World Wildlife Fund estimates IUU fishing nets criminals up to $36.4 billion each year. 

Overfishing is one of the most significant drivers of population decline in ocean wildlife. A third of the world’s assessed fisheries are pushed beyond their biological limits, according to The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Linked to overfishing is bycatch – capturing unwanted sea life while fishing for a different species, a practice which leads to huge waste and damage to ocean sustainability.

(source: WWF)

What You Can Do

Pet food can be more eco-friendly if you feed your pet parts of the fish humans don’t eat. This saves food from being dumped so reducing carbon emissions.

Feed your pets sustainably-sourced fish, for example products carrying the MSC logo:


Chippin provides options made with spirulina, crickets and silver carp, fished from areas where there is known to be a plentiful supply of these fish species

Woofs claim a sustainable approach by making pet treats from parts of the fish humans don’t want

Yarrah organic cat food is MSC-certified

4. Palm Oil

What’s The Issue?

Palm oil production destroys the habitat of endangered species like the Orangutan, Pygmy Elephant and Sumatran Rhino. Palm oil is a major driver of deforestation of some of the world’s most biodiverse forests.

This forest loss also creates millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases, contributing to climate change.

What You Can Do

Choose suppliers that do not use palm oil in their pet food products, or use certified palm oil.


Benevo produce vegan, palm-oil free pet foods

Ami pet food is palm-oil free

Other useful articles:

Ten Good Reasons to Buy Organic

Ten Food Sustainability Issues




  • Great article, it’s made me think about what we are feeding our cats.
    I know some people make homemade pet food, and also that cats have some very specific dietary needs – they can’t be vegetarian, for example.
    I need to do a bit more research about making pet food at home, in a sustainable way.

    • Thanks Pippa. I am doing a series of these short guides but I picked pet food because there’s not much awareness that it’s a serious environmental issue. Can’t blame the pets though!

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