by Susan Hubble Pitcairn
Sedona News (July 14, 2021) Did you know that changing the way you feed your dog (and yourself) may be the most important thing you can do to help save our planet?
That’s because it takes an enormous amount of meat and other animal products to meet American’s current demands, and, amazingly, approximately 25% of it is fed to our dogs and cats. In fact, if our pets were a nation, they’d be #5 in the amount of animal products they eat.
Sadly, the only way this is even possible (for now) is that nearly all of it is based on the cruel and dismal efficiencies of factory farming and fishing. There is simply not enough pasture to produce so meat, eggs and dairy more humanely. Yet even with that harsh reality, animal-based diets still use up 10 to 20 times more water, land, fertilizer, and fuel than getting the same nutrients directly from plants.
So, due in part to our growing numbers, but mostly to our unthinking daily food choices, we are rapidly using up the Earth’s bounty. If we continue the same way, experts warn that we could:
- lose crucial aquifers as well as the Amazon rainforest within 10 to 30 years,
- see fishless oceans by 2048, and
- destroy all our topsoil by 2100.
Plus, methane from farmed animals is a major, but quickly reversible, contributor to greenhouse gases, while runoff from factory farms and croplands creates huge ocean dead zones.
Meanwhile, over a billion humans are suffering or dying from a lack of food.
OK, that’s the bad news. But the good news is amazing. Together, we can save our beautiful jewel of a planet and each other, not only by recycling, driving less and installing solar energy, but far more so by simply choosing healthy, tasty plant-based foods, both for our dogs and for ourselves. It costs nothing and the benefits are huge and immediate:
Let’s look at some numbers, starting with people food. Based on figures from the must-see film Cowspiracy and elsewhere, every day you or I eat all plant-based instead of the Standard American Diet, we each save about:
- 1100 gallons of water from shrinking aquifers
- 30 square feet of rain forest from being destroyed for animal agriculture
- 45 pounds of grain for hungry humans (1 billion or more)
- enough fossil fuel to drive more than 46 miles
- 20 pounds of CO2 equivalents
- and the life of one innocent animal, most raised in tight, filthy cages
That’s huge, it adds up enormously over time (do the math) and I can tell you, it feels great.
Now compare what you’d save by shifting a 70-pound dog from the popular all raw meat diet. He eats about 1500 calories a day, similar to us, but about twice the calories are from animal sources. So, shifting him to a healthy vegan diet could save twice the above. Multiply the savings out over a lifetime and it’s an enormous benefit to our planet and our future.
If you believe that dogs are carnivores and it just wouldn’t work, hear this. When wolves long ago evolved into domestic dogs, their genes adapted to produce 4-5 times more amylase to digest the starchy grains and beans they first scavenged from and later were fed by early human farmers. Look it up on Wikipedia (history of dog food) and it turns out that ancient Greeks, advised that the optimal diet for dogs was mostly beans and barley, with a few scraps from the stew. Likewise many people today are finding their beloved dogs can not only get by, but even significantly improve their health when switched to a well-planned 100% plant-based diet similar to Bramble, a Welsh border collie who lived to 26.
Why? Most likely because of its much lower load of environmental toxins, which accumulate far more in the animal’s fats in meat, eggs and dairy, which are also more inherently inflammatory.
Such a shift is also a new way of understanding the meaning of “holistic” and “natural,” to consider the highest good of the whole and of Nature. That means all life, in its interconnected beauty. So let’s sit down with our animal friends and team up for a brighter and better world.
To see how Bramble was fed and to download a number of sample recipes from our classic best selling book on natural health for dogs and cats, just search the terms” Susan Pitcairn diet handouts.” There you will find this PDF, as well as a great two page handout of expert-based advice and recipes for choosing a whole food plant based diet for yourself and your family:
Susan Pitcairn is an expert on dogs’ health and alternative healing.
- Co-author of Rodale classic, Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats
- Award-winning Sedona painter featured in Sedona’s Best Artists, by Louise MacDonald
- Environmental, social and spiritual activist and educator
- Blog and art at SusanPitcairn.com
- Susan Pitcairn channel on YouTube and Rumble.com