5 Stats You Need To Know About The Environmental Impact Of Chicken-Based Dog Food

5 Stats You Need To Know About The Environmental Impact Of Chicken-Based Dog Food

Through a first-of-its-kind study in 2017 examining the environmental impact of the meat our pets eat, we learned that dogs and cats are responsible for about 25–30% of the environmental impacts from animal production (this includes the impact on land, water, fossil fuel, phosphate, and biocides).

In a previous Wild Earth article, we examined what meat is really in pet food and learned that it’s often a mix, with beef and poultry topping the list. In terms of human consumption, last year in the United States nearly 108 pounds per capita of poultry were consumed, according to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). To put that weight in perspective, that meat would weigh the same as a stack of about 17 bricks.

However, that number from the OECD refers only to “kilograms of retail weight per capita” for human consumption rather than the full carcass weight. Many components of the chicken carcass, labeled as poultry by-product meal, poultry by-products, or poultry meal, aren’t counted in that number.

To deepen our understanding of how chicken-based dog food impacts the environment, here are some important statistics to know.

1. More than 95% of the 9 billion animals farmed for food each year in the U.S. are chickens

That’s about 8.9 billion chickens per year, in the United States alone.

2. Globally, chicken meat is expected to account for almost half of the increase in global meat production over the next decade

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

3. Broiler Chickens produce 870 million lbs. of waste per second

That’s in the U.S alone.

4. Per kilogram of consumed food, chicken farming is in the top 10 polluters of carbon dioxide equivalents.

According to a study by the Environmental Working Group.

5. Processing chicken requires more energy and water than other meat processing

According to a study by the Environmental Working Group.

“From the standpoint of climate change, plant-based diets win every time,” says Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition and public health at New York University. Imagine the positive impact on the environment if we, and our canine companions, could adopt a plant-based diet.

Learn more about plant-based diets for dogs in our article: Yes, You Can Feed Your Dog A Meat-Free Diet








Animal-based proteins are far more problematic. A recent study revealed that animal-based ingredients (beef, dairy, chicken, lamb, egg, pork, fish, and rabbit) were responsible for 236 cases of food allergy in dogs while plant-based ingredients (wheat, soy, corn, rice, barley, kidney bean, and tomato) were involved in only 77 cases.*

* Critically appraised topic on adverse food reactions of companion animals (2): common food allergen sources in dogs and cats. Mueller RS, Olivry T, Prélaud P. BMC Vet Res. 2016 Jan 12;12:9.