While you can't force Fido or Fluffy to go vegan, you can
throw the planet a bone when feeding them. We tracked down five of the best dog and cat foods to shrink your pet's environmental pawprint.
The Organic Turkey With Potato and Carrots Dinner from EVANGER'S, a family-owned company founded in 1935, is one of the most eco-conscious dog foods you can buy. Being certified organic is just the start -- many of its ingredients come from within 50 miles of Evanger's Illinois facility, and it's packed in cans made from 80 percent recycled steel. The factory, on its way toward LEED certification, barely puts out enough daily waste to fill a standard 60-gallon trash can, since all manufacturing materials are reused and recycled. All your canine pals will care about, however, is savoring this complete dinner. About $28 for a dozen 13-ounce cans
Dr. Patrick Mahaney, a holistic veterinarian and pet blogger in Los Angeles, recommends grain-free Grace from the HONEST KITCHEN. "Cats," he says, "are obligate carnivores and don't benefit from the heavily grain-based diets on most store shelves." Ingredients include (among other human-grade goodies) free-range chicken and eggs, organic flaxseed, and sweet potatoes, spinach, and cranberries -- all without GMOs. It comes as a powder (just add water before serving), which helps control Fluffy's portion size -- stemming what Mahaney calls the "feline obesity epidemic"--and lessens shipping and packaging waste. The unbleached paper box is made from recycled materials and, like everything else from Honest, is made in North America. $24 for 2 pounds of powder
You've probably tried his pasta sauce or salad dressing; now your cat can sample Paul Newman's brand too. The iconic actor is gone, but his charity-driven company lives on. NEWMAN'S OWN ORGANICS' minimally processed Premium Cat Food comes in meaty flavors felines love, and most of its ingredients don't have pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, or GMOs. A portion of proceeds go to Newman's Own Foundation, which has given more than $350 million to a variety of causes, including Echoing Green and the Safe Water Network. $2 for a 5.5-ounce can
ZOE'S PREMIUM is a dog-food company (though it's launching a feline formula soon) whose organic ingredients are sourced from as close to the company's Brooklyn headquarters as possible. These include human-grade meats that are free of antibiotics and hormones. Instead of cans, the meals, which are frozen, come in recyclable, BPA-free pouches, so there's less shipping waste. The brand's best-selling flavor is Chicken and Sweet Potatoes, made with millet, peas, and carrots; owners report extreme canine adoration, probably because the secondary ingredients are cooked in the primary meat's broth, adding both taste and nutrition. To prepare, defrost the packet in the fridge or drop it in boiling water. $4.29 for 7 ounces
Lucy Postins, a nutritionist who founded the Honest Kitchen, is also the author of a pet-food cookbook called Made out of Love. Most of her recipes are creative ways to prepare meat for canine taste buds (though you can try everything in the book, too).
Her big hit, however, is a vegetarian confection that dogs happily devour. To make her Antioxidant-Rich Blueberry Mini Muffins, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup of flax meal, 1/4 cup of wheat germ, 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast, and 1 tablespoon of kelp powder. Mix in 1/2 cup of dried or fresh blueberries, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup of plain yogurt, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Stir to form a thick batter. Line a mini-muffin pan with paper cups and fill each halfway with batter. Bake for 25 minutes; cool before serving. These scarfable treats keep in the fridge for up to a week, and in the freezer for longer.
--Photos by Lori Eanes