Today, biotechnology startup Wild Earth unveiled its high-protein, plant-based dog food at the SuperZoo Conference in Las Vegas, the largest pet industry event in North America. The dry kibble contains all 10 essential amino acids necessary for a healthy canine diet and is specifically formulated without animal products to decouple pet food from factory farming. According to a recent UCLA study, the production of dog and cat food generates the equivalent of 64 million tons of carbon dioxide per year resulting in 25-30 percent of the environmental impact of meat consumption in the United States. “The effects of meat production on the environment are well-documented and utterly unsustainable, and pet food is a large part of the problem. The irony is that there is a better way, dogs can thrive on a clean, plant-based diet,” Wild Earth CEO Ryan Bethencourt said. “When we set out to make the healthiest food for our pets and the environment, we knew we had to look past meat. We’re of course also animal lovers, so kind, cruelty-free nutrition that avoids lab animal testing is of utmost importance to us.”
Wild Earth’s nutritionally complete formula is made with a yeast-based protein in addition to oats, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, blueberries, pumpkin, spinach and does not include soy, rice, or corn. “A common misconception is that dogs need animal meat in their diet, but what they truly need is protein. And protein is readily available to dogs from a variety of plant and fungi-based sources,” Wild Earth Chief Veterinary Officer Ernie Ward, DVM said. “In fact, many would be surprised to learn that the fungal proteins used by Wild Earth contain more.” Wild Earth also sells dog snacks made with cultured koji—a type of fungus that is grown in a lab-setting using a proprietary process that contains more protein than steak.
To further its mission to remove animal products from companion animal foods, Wild Earth has secured $16 million in funding thus far, including $500,000 from Shark Tank investor Mark Cuban. “I invested in Wild Earth because they have the potential to transform the pet food industry just like Beyond Meat has transformed the meat industry,” Cuban said. “The release of its flagship product—a clean, high-protein dog food—is a huge milestone for the whole pet food industry.” Wild Earth’s plant-based dog food will be available at pet food retailers starting in September.