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Petaluma Review – Is Their Plant-Based Dog Food Healthy?

About the Author

Jane Feddersen

Jane is a former DI student-athlete and lifelong health enthusiast. Since graduating from College of Charleston where she played both indoor & beach volleyball, Jane’s spent the last four years building her marketing career with experience in project and partner management. Outside of work, her nutrition certification, dog, travel and yoga flows keep her busy.

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In this Article

In this Article

Jane Feddersen

In this article, we’ll review Petaluma’s plant-based dog food to determine if it lives up to its claims of being sustainable and the best diet for adult dogs of all breeds. 


If you’ve recently brought home a new dog or have ever browsed the aisles of a pet store, the countless dog food options can seem overwhelming. 


When selecting the best food for your dog, there are numerous dietary factors to consider. The popular belief that dogs require meat protein to develop strong muscles, healthy bones, and a healthy sheen could not be further from the truth.


In fact, a vegetarian meal includes all of the protein, fat, fibre, vitamins, and nutrients that your dog could ever need! 


Petaluma, a sustainable and plant-based dog food brand, is paving the way for veggie-based dog food. Their successful endeavor demonstrates to the entire industry that transitioning your pet to a plant-based diet does not entail any nutritional sacrifices.


It’s not just about advocating for an ethical, plant-based diet for Petaluma. They are an extremely sustainable brand with invaluable certifications such as Climate-Neutral Certification and 1% for the Planet contributor. 


When it comes down to it, you should always consult with your veterinarian to select the finest food for your furry friend’s specific needs. But if you’re looking for a place to start or are merely intrigued about plant-based dog food, we’ve reviewed the Petaluma plant-based dog food in-depth for you. Bone Appetit! (pun intended). 


But first: what is Petaluma’s sustainable, nutritional, and ethical philosophy? 


Did you know that dogs account for 20% of all U.S. meat consumption, which is the equivalent of 69 million people in California and Texas combined.


Why are we telling you this? The pollution, agricultural clearing, and greenhouse gases produced by the meat industry contribute considerably to the climate problem, which must be slowed.


Petaluma has committed to providing a plant-based alternative to traditional, unsustainable dog food in response to the environmental and cultural destruction caused by the meat industry.


Petaluma’s nourishing dog chow is handcrafted using organic ingredients to support farmers’ investments and safeguard farmworkers from dangerous pesticides. To avoid “monocultures” with low biodiversity, they exclusively subsidize small farms. Moreover, their renewable packaging instead of typical plastic packaging, results in a 40% reduction in single-use plastic waste!


Petaluma is genuinely pioneering the path for the future of the dog food market, and they deserve your support.


Is a plant-based diet healthy for your pup? 


Source: Petaluma 


For dogs of all sizes, breeds, and ages, a plant-based diet is completely safe and nutritionally balanced!


Like humans, dogs require specific nutrients rather than ingredients, which refutes the assumption that they need a meat-rich diet. A plant, fungus, or synthetic ingredient can easily replace every nutrient provided by meat and animal-derived products. The only stipulation is that the dog food be supplemented for any deficiencies in typical plant-based ingredients. 


Dr. Blake Hawley, Petaluma’s lead formulator, leans on his significant personal expertise in designing diets.


He has gained profound insights into how diverse nutrient sources and ingredient combinations function together by tracking the performance of hundreds of formulae through digestibility, palatability, and nutritional testing. Petaluma uses these discernments to create an ingredient combination that achieves the desired nutritional profiles and provides your dog with the best nutrition for a healthy life.


So, what ingredients are inside Petaluma’s dog food?


With their oven-baked and plant-based adult dog food, Petaluma prioritizes nutrition and environmentally conscious ingredients. Petaluma is the best plant-based dog food since they conduct regular laboratory testing of the food batches to measure the amount of every nutrient (over 40 vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fats) defined as essential by the panel of dog nutrition experts at AAFCO (the Association of American Feed Control Officials).


They rely on sound scientific data and expert consensus to hand-craft nutritious foods that result in healthy and happy dogs. Petaluma accomplishes this by combining sustainable, organic, and delicious ingredients that your dog will not only enjoy but will also help to reduce their carbon paw-print!


Petaluma’s mission is to debunk the myth that plants don’t give enough protein or fat for dogs. They’ve been challenging the pet food industry’s reliance on factory-farmed animal protein by offering diets that cover all of a dog’s nutritional needs.


How Petaluma’s protein and fat content compares with traditional brands 


Dogs assimilate 80% of the elements in Petaluma’s food, with a protein-specific digestibility of 80%. This digestibility result is comparable to meat-inclusive formulas and should give you peace of mind that your dog is getting enough protein and essential amino acids from their food.


Having laid out the solid stats, let’s dive into their sustainable ingredient list to persuade you even more. 


Their main ingredients include a blend of: 


  • Organic Chickpeas & Peas 
  • Dried Yeast
  • Potato Protein 
  • Organic Brown Rice 
  • Pea Protein 
  • Organic Peanut Butter 
  • Organic Sweet Potato 
  • Organic Flaxseeds 
  • Organic Oats 
  • Organic Sunflower Oil 
  • Microalgae 
  • Vitamins & Amino Acids 


It smells so good you might want to eat it, too! 


Seriously. Petaluma’s plant-based dog food smells just like human food. Let’s take a closer look at the nutritious ingredients to prove that your pooch is getting everything they need!


Organic Chickpeas & Peas 

Grown in the United States & Canada, they are jam-packed with protein. Chickpeas and peas come loaded with digestible amino acids, which support a healthy gut. 


Marine Microalgae 

Sustainably cultivated in the United States, microalgae is the only direct source of DHA. DHA comes typically from fish and fish oil supplements, but DHA is actually produced by the microalgae that fish eat! This omega-3 fat makes up many brain cells and is associated with brain and vision development in dogs. 


Organic Carrots 

Grown throughout the United States and Canada, carrots have plenty of beta-carotene, the building block for vitamin A! 


Organic Kelp

Harvested and dried in Iceland, sea kelp absorbs nutrients in the water and is a highly mineral-rich food. Kelp is one of the best natural sources of calcium and iodine, an essential nutrient for thyroid function. Not only is this an excellent ingredient for the health of your dog, but it is sustainably dried using geothermal power from Iceland’s hot springs. How cool! 


Organic Sweet Potato

Grown in Honduras & Peru, sweet potatoes pack a tasty punch in Petaluma’s organic blend. Sweet potatoes have beta-carotene, the building block for Vitamin A, and are essential for healthy digestion. 


Organic Peanut Oil

Grown and pressed in the United States, Petaluma’s peanut oil is unrefined and cold-pressed that provides the kibble with a tasty peanut aroma. It’s also packed full of unsaturated omega-6 linoleic and omega-9 oleic fats. 


Amino acids (Taurine, DL-Methionine 

Synthesized in Japan, these highly digestible and hardy forms of amino acids critical to heart health are scientifically proven to reduce the risk of diet-related dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).  


Vitamin & Mineral Mix 

Manufactured in Ohio, this blend complements Petaluma’s natural nutrients with safe, bioavailable forms of 20 nutrients deemed essential for canine health by veterinary nutritionists. 


What’s that about needing to eat meat to get nutrients? Turns out, that’s not true.


Source: Petaluma


All of these ingredients are slowly oven-roasted, making all of the plant-based ingredients visible at one glance. Say goodbye to hard, dry, and rapidly-pressure cooked traditional kibble. 


How much does Petaluma’s plant-based dog food cost? 


Petaluma’s roasted peanut butter and sweet potato flavored slow-baked kibble is priced at $34.95 for a 5-pound bag and $89.95 for an 18-pound bag. 


Petaluma’s 8-pound and 5-pound bags side by side. 


Petaluma rewards loyal clients by providing a 10% discount if you subscribe to receive their food regularly! With the subscription, you can change your order frequency from 2 weeks to 8 weeks.


Furthermore, they are currently giving your first bag for 30% off when you subscribe!


Pro tip: If you have a little dog, choose the smaller bag to keep the food fresher for longer. If you have multiple pets (lucky you!) or a large breed, you can select the larger bag.


How Petaluma stacks up against other sustainable dog food brands?


If Petaluma’s impressive blend of organic, nutrient-dense and sustainable ingredients haven’t won you over yet, let’s take a look at how Petaluma compares to other sustainable dog food brands on the market. 


As you can see from the table below, Petaluma is clearly the leader of the pack! 

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When it comes to sustainability and clean ingredients that you can trust, Petaluma by far takes the cake. Or should we say, “takes the treats!”? Chippin is a close second. We previously published a more in-depth review of Chippin if you’re curious to see how Petaluma competes with other sustainably sourced dog food brands. 


Petaluma Reviews: What are customers saying?


Although it hasn’t been out for very long, Petaluma’s sustainably sourced and plant-based dog food has received stellar reviews from customers. Many note how their normally fussy dogs look forward to lunchtime and how much healthier their dogs look and feel. While these are somewhat subjective, Petaluma’s objectively lower carbon footprint than traditional kibble brands cannot be denied. 


Here are a few reviews to give you an idea of what Petaluma’s customers are saying: 



The verdict: Is Petaluma’s plant-based dog food worth it? 


Do dogs love treats? Absolutely! Do they prefer the taste of traditional proteins vs plant-based delicacies? Not necessarily.


Petaluma is the market’s best plant-based dog food. You can satisfy your dog’s cravings while providing them a tasty, protein-packed meal, while also preserving the planet and doing what’s right for the environment. That is a paw-some deal (okay, we will stop with the puns now), and an opportunity to vote with your dollars in a category that traditionally had no sustainable options.


With just one glance at the Petaluma website, it’s obvious that the co-founders, Caroline Buck and Garrett Wymore, are passionate about the products they offer to keep your dogs in peak condition. Petaluma has worked hard with its veterinary nutritionists to create a healthy blend of ingredients with the lowest carbon footprint possible.


Since dogs have omnivorous nutritional needs, they can eat both plants and animals. Providing more protein than a dog’s metabolic needs is unhealthy since protein cannot be stored for later use. And like humans, dogs have no issue getting all their nutritional needs met with a purely vegetarian diet.


Still skeptical about your dog getting enough protein from plants alone? Each cup of Petaluma has as much protein as a serving of steak. FYI, vets recommend that adult dog diets provide 20-30% protein as a proportion of dry matter weight (i.e., assuming the meal was totally dehydrated), or 50-70 grams per 1000 kcal of food energy.


We love that Petaluma uses a mix of plant-based protein sources, such as brown rice, peas, chickpeas, and oats, to generate a balanced amino acid profile that corresponds with and supplements a dog’s nutritional needs.


The Bottom Line: Nutrition is an essential pillar of health, and your veterinarian should be informed of any drastic changes to your dog’s diet. As with any other decision that may affect your dog’s health, we urge that you speak with your veterinarian on your next visit to make sure it’s the right call. If you don’t have a vet currently, but would like to consult with one virtually, at your convenience, we highly recommend Vetster.


Petaluma has gone to great lengths to ensure that their diet is complete and balanced, which means that they provide all the essential nutrients that adult dogs need to thrive in the proper proportions. We recommend Petaluma’s plant-based dog food because it’s good for your dog’s health, and the most ethical choice for the future of our planet. Since folks in the continental United States can request a free small sample bag, why not give them a shot to see how you feel?


Pro-tip: Just make sure to gradually transition your pet from its current food to Petaluma over a 4-7 day period, introducing Petaluma progressively as you lower the amount of old food. Although every pup has a different taste palette, my sister’s dog took to Petaluma’s food quickly and now is completely hooked. My sister quickly asked where she could get a bigger bag after her terrier mix devoured the entire sample pack in one week with more vigor than his previous kibble.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Petaluma’s roasted peanut butter and sweet potato flavored slow-baked kibble is priced at $34.95 for a 5-pound bag and $89.95 for an 18-pound bag. 


Petaluma rewards loyal clients by providing a 10% discount if you subscribe to receive their food regularly! With the subscription, you can change your order frequency from 2 weeks to 8 weeks.


Furthermore, they are currently giving your first bag for 30% off when you subscribe!


Pro tip: If you have a little dog, choose the smaller bag to keep the food fresher for longer. If you have multiple pets (lucky you!) or a large breed, you can select the larger bag.

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