The 6 Best Sustainable Pet Food Brands of 2022

Our favorite sustainable pet food brand is Open Farm

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sustainable dog foods

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The wide variety of certifications, ethical processes, and trends in sustainable food can make finding the best chow for your pet tricky, even for professionals. We spoke to Gudrun Ravetz, chair of the UK sustainable pet food volunteer organizing Vet Sustain, for guidance.

“It’s tricky, doing the right thing,” Ravetz told The Spruce Pets. “Ultimately, pets are a massive part of a family, but they are very much a luxury in one sense. It’s right that we try to mitigate their carbon paw print in whatever way that we can, and pet food is the biggest one.” 

To find the best sustainable pet food brands, we not only consulted with experts like Ravetz, but also dove into environmental impact studies, and comparative data from a wide variety of popular and bestselling dog and cat food brands. We sought out pet food brands that use organic, sustainable ingredients that are properly sourced and well-balanced nutritionally, looking in particular for manufacturers that employ eco-friendly practices across the board—for instance, in their packaging.

Our overall favorite is Open Farm, which combines quality ingredients with ethical partnerships and impressive transparency. However, there are other excellent sustainable pet food brands we are excited to recommend as well.

Here are the best sustainable pet food brands.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall

Open Farm

Open Farm

Open Farm

What We Like
  • Meticulous tracing of sources

  • Ethical partnerships

  • Environmentally conscientious practices

  • Transparency in their practices

  • High-quality organic ingredients

  • Meets AAFCO’s Dog Food nutritional standards

  • Options to skip or delay subscription orders, or make one-time buys

What We Don't Like
  • No shipping available to Hawaii, Alaska, or Puerto Rico

For pet owners who want the most comprehensive possible account of companies’ morally conscientious practices you can’t beat Open Farm. Since opening in 2014, sustainable Canadian pet food brand has made hyper-careful sourcing a top priority, in reaction to the horrifying practices that they saw employed by the mainstream pet food industry. Just as impressive, Open Farm enforces high standards throughout their supply chain.

Open Farm impresses even without considering environmental bonafides, with a product line that offers a wide range of options, including dry and wet food, freeze-dried raw food, gently cooked food, treats, and bone broth.

You can use a filter function on their site to find products that won’t exacerbate your pet’s allergies, intolerances, or sensitivities, whether you’re looking for gluten-free, soy-free, poultry-free, single-protein options, or more. If you’re worried about whether a given product will provide enough sustenance for your pup, never fear: all of Open Farm’s products meet AAFCO’s Dog Food Nutrient Profile standards for all ages (their product line includes recipes for puppies, dogs, high-protein diet dogs, and senior dogs) and breeds.

The company’s carefully vetted sourcing partners include Certified Humane, Ocean Wise, Global Animal Partnership, and Terracycle, all of whom practice humane and environmentally conscientious practices and deliver top-end organic ingredients. Through working with these suppliers, Open Farm is can trace almost every ingredient in its products all the way back to its source. They also pay very close attention to regulating their emissions footprint and make sure to use sustainable packaging.

There aren’t many drawbacks to Open Farm dog food when it comes to sustainable pet food options. Products that use fresh, human-grade ingredients are obviously pricier than other less painstakingly sourced products—that’s true of everything on this list—but not exorbitantly so. With Open Farm, you’re certainly paying fairly for quality and for ethical sourcing and transparency.

Best Organic

Castor & Pollux

Castor & Pollux

Castor & Pollux

What We Like
  • USDA-certified

  • High-quality organic ingredients

  • Non-GMO

  • Meticulous tracing of sources

  • Good variety of products

What We Don't Like
  • High in carbs

Ranking alongside The Honest Kitchen as one of the first major organic pet food brands, Castor & Pollux frequently cite the fact that their ORGANIX products are the only pet foods that are 100% organically certified by the USDA. Their high ratio of 95% or more organic ingredients is rare even within the sustainable pet food world. All of Castor & Pollux’s products—an impressive spread of dry and wet foods for dogs and cats—are also certified as non-GMO. The sourcing of their ingredients is also exhaustively traced on their site.

Their central ingredient is always chicken or turkey, mixed with additions like blueberries, coconut oil, and flaxseed, so it’s not a good vegetarian option. Some consumers have noted that the food has a high amount of carbohydrates compared to its protein and fat content. Still, most agree that the quality of the ingredient is high. With their variety of size options, it’s also easy to find a purchase option that’s a reasonable deal for your specific needs.

Best Human-Grade

Wet Noses

Wet Noses

Wet Noses

What We Like
  • High-quality fresh food products

  • Non-GMO

  • Food sourced from local suppliers

  • Proven customer satisfaction and ethical practices

What We Don't Like
  • Not many full-meal options for dogs

Founded in 1998, the Seattle-based dog food company Wet Noses’ principles are based on the M.O. that pet owners shouldn’t feed their pup anything they wouldn’t be willing to eat themselves. It’s a tall order, but the company has built its strong reputation on marketing dog treats and pet food entirely made of human-grade ingredients. Wet Noses’ sustainable practices are based on making dog food with non-GMO ingredients. No product sold by the company contains wheat, soy, preservatives, or any artificial ingredients whatsoever. They also source all the meat used in their carnivorous products from farms and suppliers that are less than 40 miles from their headquarters northeast of Seattle—a Safe Quality Food (SQF) Level III-certified, human-grade facility. 

Though Wet Noses has local roots, its operation these days is enormous, with international distribution. This network is a testament to both customer satisfaction, the innovativeness of its business model, and its well-tested commitment to sustainability and food safety.

Best Raw Food

Maev

Maev

Maev

What We Like
  • Innovative and well-researched nutrition program

  • Positive side effects beyond nutrition and digestion

  • Most products provide a full-meal nutrition

What We Don't Like
  • Primarily subscription model or bulk shipment

  • The jury is still out on raw food diets

Maev claims a number of advantages to their raw food offerings, including improved digestion and immune health; better liver and pancreatic function; healthier skin and coat; and increased energy.

Established veterinary organizations are less convinced. The American Veterinary Medical Association advises against raw food diets: "The AVMA discourages the feeding to cats and dogs of any animal-source protein that has not first been subjected to a process to eliminate pathogens because of the risk of illness to cats and dogs as well as humans." The American College of Veterinary Nutrition concurs.

Check out our guide for more of the pros and cons of raw food diets.

But if you've done your research and want to try out a raw food diet for yourself, then Maev is an excellent option. In their products—available on a subscription basis—Maev includes lean protein, raw edible bone, organ meat, and bits of fresh produce to cover all the bases of the doggie food pyramid.

Maev’s diets are rich in probiotics, proteins, enzymes, fish oil, and more to exacerbate positive health effects outside nutrition. One of the best aspects of Maev’s products is that most of them are full, well-balanced meals—carefully curated bundles to assure your pup gets everything it needs nutritionally and more.

One practical downside, however, is that a lot of Maev’s options are bulk shipment or subscription-based; although you can cancel your subscription at any time, it may not be all dog owners’ ideal business model if you want to mix and match their pup’s diet a bit more. Also, be extra careful with raw meat, which are easily contaminated with bacteria if you’re not extra conscientious about cleanliness.

Most Trusted

The Honest Kitchen

The Honest Kitchen

The Honest Kitchen

What We Like
  • Proven customer satisfaction and ethical practices

  • Good variety of products

  • High-quality organic ingredients

  • Sourced domestically

What We Don't Like
  • Check for nutritional value in products

The Honest Kitchen is one of the most trusted brand names in the sustainable pet food industry, having been an innovator in the world of fresh and organic dog and cat food since its founding in 2002. The company has spent years continually refining its sourcing and product line and growing its business. Today, their extensive catalog of human-grade pet foods includes dozens of dry, dehydrated, and wet cat and dog diets, plus toppers, treats, and supplement options.

Chock full of essential nutrients and vitamins, and sourced almost entirely domestically, Honest Kitchen’s products will check every box for most pet owners who value organic ingredients and sustainability. For some obsessive consumers, there are a few ingredients in some of their products that may raise an eyebrow—honey, potatoes, and sodium selenite—for their lack of nutritional value. But there are no specific health drawbacks to these ingredients.

With a comprehensive nutritional profile across so many different product options, Honest Kitchen has really earned its stripes in the human-grade, ethically sourced pet food world, making it a great option for conscientious pet owners. It isn’t the cheapest organic product on the market, but the price tag seems commensurate with human-grade ingredients.

Best Vegan

Wild Earth

Wild Earth

Wild Earth

What We Like
  • Protein-rich

  • Uses clean and sustainable ingredients

  • Developed by vets and pet nutritionists

  • Meets AAFCO’s Dog Food nutritional standards

  • Environmentally conscientious practices

What We Don't Like
  • Not certified organic or non-GMO

It was a hit on Shark Tank—Mark Cuban helped them raise $23 million—and it’s proven to be a hit with vegan pet owners, too. Wild Earth produces the rare fully vegan pet food that seems to be sufficiently protein-rich and nutritionally balanced to be the center of a dog’s diet. In business since 2019, the company has created its products using clean and sustainable plant proteins that offer more protein by weight than most meaty dog foods. Wild Earth’s go-to ingredients include chickpeas, sweet potato, spinach, pumpkin, oats, and more.

Some are skeptical of vegan dog food’s ability to compete with other omnivore-friendly products on the market when it comes to nutritiousness and positive health effects. However, Wild Earth was developed by veterinarians and pet nutritionists and has vegan pet products that meet the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines for balanced dog food.

For the environmentally conscious, Wild Earth is an excellent choice, too, because the meat used in most kibble dog foods is estimated to be responsible for a little over a quarter of the environmental impact of meat consumption in the United States.

There are a few potential drawbacks to Wild Earth, however. Though its products contain clean ingredients with no artificial fillers or preservatives, they are not certified organic or non-GMO. It is also significantly pricier than traditional kibble dog food. One of the wild card factors with any dog food is the possibility that your pup will not like the dog food you select. Because of dogs’ omnivore tendencies, there is a higher risk with Wild Earth that they will not take to it.

Best Customizable

Ollie’s

Ollie’s

Ollie’s

What We Like
  • Great for digestion

  • Tackles health and allergy issues

  • Rich in veggies

  • Domestically sourced

What We Don't Like
  • More work to prepare food

Perhaps you’re a hands-on pup owner who likes to carefully customize your dog’s diet more so than take pet food companies’ word for it when they tell you your pup is getting the full food pyramid covered. In that case, Ollie’s—a relative newcomer to the sustainable pet diet game—may be the solution for you. Fresh food diets like Ollie’s are especially ideal for dogs with stomach issues or allergies.

These recipes read like something off a menu in a health food restaurant, including tons of veggies, with kale, carrots, pumpkin, spinach, peas, squash, and others. The central ingredients are whole and organ meat, providing the bulk of the protein content. All of the meat used is certified as USA-sourced, including chicken, lamb, beef, or turkey. High-quality ingredients cost a bit more money, but you can easily do the math and calculate how much your dog needs to eat per meal and make your Ollie’s investment wisely.

Final Verdict

We chose Open Farm as our best overall pick because it checks every major area of concern when it comes to sustainable pet food off the list: tracing of sourcing for organic ingredients, fresh and high-quality meat and veggies, diversity of product offerings, balanced nutrition, and more. Wild Earth is a best-case scenario for vegetarians with its clean, protein-rich ingredients. And, for another reliable human-grade omnivore option, you can’t go wrong with The Honest Kitchen’s nutrient-and-vitamin-filled product spread.

What to Look for in Sustainable Pet Food Brands

Transparency

Gudrun Ravetz notes: “Greenwashing is as rife as it is in the human food or other consumerist market.” Therefore, it’s all the more important to research the company’s sustainability practices, from the ingredients in their food to the packaging they put it in. If the brand’s website is expressing its mission statement in broad terms, it’s a red flag that you should be digging deep to find out more about them and reaching out to ask questions.

One way to feel more comfortable using an ostensibly eco-friendly brand is to look for third-party certifications. Using third-party auditors helps make it easier to verify that a company is keeping itself accountable to its sustainability goals. For example, B Corp is a certifying body that allows companies to demonstrate compliance to specific environmental and social standards. Other certifications to look out for include Fair Trade and USDA Organic. Also, keep an eye out for companies who make substantial environmental giving commitments, such as partnerships with 1% for the Planet.

Ingredients

With all the disparate arguments being made about the best possible sustainable food sources—be it raw meat, human-grade treats, vegan options, or insect-based protein—it’s very difficult to just buy into one set of research and decide which is the best option to adopt. Dogs are thought to be omnivorous by nature, but introducing a new diet for environmental reasons might take a little getting used to it, so it’s important to bounce ideas off your vet. A professional can help you triangulate all the data and ensure your dog gets the nutrition they need in the most environmentally conscious way possible.

“Emotional Consumer Marketing”

One of the issues Ravetz raises with the human-grade product market is what she calls the “humanization of feeding.” With the common argument in organic fresh food products for pets that you should “feed your pet what you want to eat,” there are potential sustainability issues around that argument that marketing appealing to human sentiments about eating obscures. 

“Pet food maintains stability in the food chain because you don’t waste food that humans choose not to eat,” Ravetz explains. “There’s the argument that [human-grade pet diets] are taking away from things that would go into the human market, and you’re no longer using what people might call the byproduct.” 

It’s important to consider your feelings about these issues when considering a fresh food, edible-by-humans dietary option, and look for evidence that the company is responding to concerns like these in its mission statement and additional literature.

FAQ
  • Can you freeze fresh pet food?

    Yes, freezing fresh pet food will only impact the taste and look, not the nutritional profile or safety of the item.

  • Can dogs get the nutrients they need from vegetarian pet food?

    Dogs are generally considered to be omnivorous, but some owners are committed to avoiding meta-based products for themselves and their animals. There are lots of veggie-based dog food products on the market, all of which take different approaches to provide the high amount of energizing nutrients needed to satiate pups through the day. 

    “Vegetarian dog food is feasible, but it needs to be done well to make sure that the protein balance is right, so I think it’s something you have to do with knowledge.” Ravetz cautions. “They should also make sure that there are no comorbidities going on with their animal at the time that would make a veggie diet unsustainable.”

Why Trust the Spruce?

This article was written by Winston Cook-Wilson, a freelance writer and reporter for The Spruce Pets. He spoke to experts like Vet Sustain chair Gudrun Ravetz about the complexity of the organic and sustainable pet food market today, isolating the many factors for consumers to consider when making educated choices about the perfect ethical food option for their special pup.

The products on this list take into account a variety of philosophies about the best organic diets for dogs—fresh to raw food options, meat to omnivore to vegan options, and a variety of human-grade products. Cook-Wilson vetted the companies for their level of transparency about the footprint of their sourcing, production, and shipping practices. He also cross-referenced these findings with educated assessments about the healthfulness of the brand’s most popular offerings for different types of dogs, accounting for possible complications.

Article Sources
The Spruce Pets uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Frequently asked questions. American College of Veterinary Nutrition.

  2. Van Bree, F.P.J., Bokken, G.C.A.M., Mineur, R., Franssen, F., Opsteegh, M., van der Giessen, J.W.B., Lipman, L.J.A. and Overgaauw, P.A.M. (2018), Zoonotic bacteria and parasites found in raw meat‐based diets for cats and dogs. Veterinary Record, 182: 50-50. https://doi.org/10.1136/vr.104535