Ethical Dog Food VS Ordinary Dog Food

Before, and even now, pet owners are longing to find sustainable ethical dog food for their pets. The usual pet food we see in most owners is human food, table scraps, or raw meat.

But this changed due to technology. Now, we have human grade dog food sold in stores. Different dog food brands for your selection that matches your pet’s taste buds.

Still, a few of our pet owners are feeding their dogs and cats with raw meat or raw food. That said, we have a continuous debate on what food is best for your dogs.

Is it sustainable dog food or the raw food we usually eat? Let’s find out.

What is ethical dog food?

So, how do you know if the dry dog food you’re buying is ethical? These dog foods are nutritious food and they have quality ingredients. All their ingredients are sustainable and good for your dog’s health.

You can find many dog food brands in the market that hit these criteria. Below are the main traits of an ethical dog food:

  1. There is a proper label of the ingredients used for the dog food.
  2. All animal meat used for the dog food can come from free range chicken or any cage free animal.
  3. Wild caught fish or animals used as a protein source for dog foods are considered ethical. Humanely raised animals used as a protein source for dog foods is also considered ethical.
  4. It contains grain free vegetables
  5. It comes in an eco friendly packaging or recyclable packaging is used.

What are known brands of ethical dog foods?

Here are just a few examples of dog food brands that are ethically and sustainably made in the market. Take note, you’re not limited to them, you can find more out there.

  1. ACANA
  2. V-Dog
  3. Wild Earth Pets
  4. Kohapet
  5. Orijen
  6. Nom Nom

The pet foods mentioned above, are all made ethically and sustainably. Some of them are certified organic and just read through their label.

What are some dog foods that are considered ethical dog food?

Pet foods that are produced in a way that abides with animal welfare, are considered ethical and sustainable. Letting your pet eat human grade meat is not an assurance that it’s ethical dog food. Below are further examples of friendly dog food.

Free range meat based dog food

meat based dog food

Meat-based dog food brands must be procured from sustainable farms where livestock is treated “ethically”. This means that the animals are humanely raised like cage-free poultry, free-range duck, and free-range chicken. Most of them are grass fed, so they have high quality lean meat.

Farm animals that are humanely raised are considered ethical food for pets. Therefore, their ingredients must contain free-range, cage-free, or wild-caught animals.

These brands must maintain the highest standards of farm animal welfare. Hence, their meat should be antibiotic-free or hormone-free and have no artificial flavors.

Organic dog food

certified organic dog food

When we talk about ethical dog food, we think of pet food that is certified organic. All of their ingredients should be 100 % made of organic. They must be made from any organic ingredients such as organic barley, organic oats, organic fruits, or organic coconut.

In terms of the fish protein blended in dog foods, they must be certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. That means, there are no preservatives used in the meat. Plus, it’s not a GMO.

Their pet food must also contain important vitamins and minerals such as glucosamine and chondroitin. This is to support bone and joint health. Salmon oil which supports the coat, heart, brain, and joints. This is considered friendly dog food for dogs who follow a strict diet.

Vegan Dog Food

vegan dog food

These are plant-based food sourced from wild earth. There are less pesticides and commercial fertilizers used in growing these vegetables.

Organic fruits, organic coconut, and other plants are used for making ethical dog foods. V Dog is an example of this type.

If you want a raw diet for your dog and cat, you can directly feed them with raw fruits and vegetables. Sweet potato is another example you can try feeding to your dogs. They are part of the regular vegetarian diet of any pet.

Farm Fresh Fruits and Veggies

farm fruits and vegetables

If you have a small backyard, you can grow fruits and vegetables you can feed to your dogs and cats. Once it’s harvest time, you can put them inside your honest kitchen. By doing that, you’re also reducing the carbon footprint in the air.

Just make sure to avoid using pesticides and commercial fertilizers for growing your plants.

Are scrap foods considered ethical for pets?

scrap pet food

Let’s first define scrap foods. These are leftover foods from a farm or animal shelter. These can be scrap plants or meat which can still be used for making dog foods. Instead of throwing those scrap proteins and plants, some use them in making dog and cat canned food.

But are they safe? Most vegans, would never feed their pets with scrap pet foods. They find it inhumane and unclean for pet consumption.

What protein is considered ethical as pet foods?

Proteins play an essential role in the body as they are used in all biological processes. They are essential for the growth and regeneration of tissues. Hence, adding proteins to animals’ diets is beneficial to their health.

A good protein for dogs is those that do not contain steroids and antibiotics. Plus, it passed the USDA standards for quality meat. Their protein-based products must be humanly raised, They contain raw meat that consists of either ground or whole bones, organ meats such as livers and kidneys, and vegetables.

These friendly dog foods must contain premium meats that are grass-fed, cage-free, or wild-caught.

What is MSC Certified Dog Foods?

MSC certified dog foods

Certifications help verify the honesty of dog food labels. There are different dog and cat foods in the market claiming that they are ethical foods, but they’re not. So, looking for an MSC certification is one way to verify them.

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is a certification for sea-based pet foods. Choosing those pet foods with MSC guarantees that the dog food is made from quality sea food ingredients.

MSC is a group that verifies the truthfulness of pet food product labels. They trace the supply chain of most pet foods to ensure they are ethical and nutritious. This is for seafood based pet foods.

For a company producing pet food, if they want to be MSC certified, they must be audited. All their processes and supply chains must be audited by MSC. After that, they will receive a report or certification that they have either passed or failed their evaluation.

Does the pet food abide by AAFCO?

There are many guidelines to determine if pet food contains balanced nutrients. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is one of the agencies that can label pet foods as a balanced diet for dogs and cats.

For companies to ensure they pass the AAFCO requirement, they conduct in-house laboratory testing and third parties before submitting their samples to AAFCO.

Who can formulate pet food and what must be their academic qualification?

There are three qualifications needed for a professional to formulate a pet food:

  1. A doctorate in animal nutrition
  2. The professional must have a board certification from either the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN) or the European College of Veterinary Comparative Nutrition (ECVCN).

Once your food technologist or technician has this requirement, they can legally formulate their own pet food for the company.

Ethical Source of Animal Protein for Dog Food

As pet lovers, we are conscious of what to feed to our cats and dogs. When it comes to protein, you would want to know if it comes from a sustainable source, right?

That said, the dog food has the Certified Humane Standards. This guarantees that the animal used as a protein source for the dog or cat food is humanely raised in a clean environment.

The animal source must receive adequate food, care, and shelter before they were processed into pet foods.

Sustainable Fishing Practices

Some known dog food brands use fish as their protein source. It’s packed with Omega 3 and healthy fatty acids that are good for your dogs. But these fishes must be caught in an ethical manner, meaning when they are in season.

Alternatively, if the fish came from a farm, then it is sustainable and safe to use. These are the two main parameters for a sustainable fishing practice for dog food production.

How do you select the right ethical dog food?

As pet owners, you have the right to choose the best food for your dogs. That said, buying those ethical dog foods is your best choice. Here are the three main characteristics of this dog food type:

  1. Made from sustainable ingredients
  2. Ingredients are transparently shown in the food label
  3. It comes in an eco friendly packaging

These dog foods are hard to find in the market. They can also be pricier than traditional pet foods. But the overall benefits for your dogs are amazing when you feed them with it.

Ethical Dog Foods that contains meat

Meat is a primary ingredient for most dog foods. It’s challenging to replace everything with vegetables or fruits, yet many companies are working hard on this.

Artificial flavorings are not advisable for dog foods, even for cat foods. The natural flavorings used for dog foods are meat broths. Some grains are also used for adding flavors to dog foods.

Most companies producing dog foods create a broth from scrap food or stomach meat to give natural flavor to their dog food. This natural flavoring is called “animal digest” as AAFCO named it.


We hope you had a wonderful time reading through the article. Understanding the ins and outs of ethical dog foods. And how this is more beneficial to your dogs and cats.

Ethical dog foods are more expensive than ordinary pet foods because of how they are made. But the overall benefits of feeding them to your dogs is unbeatable.

If you have any questions about the topic, or about Pugs, feel free to browse our blog. We are more than happy to answer them. In case you find this article helpful to others, please share it with them. Have a wonderful day there!