Plant-Based Jerky for Dogs Targets Carbon Footprint

Treats contain only 7 ingredients.

puppy with Clif Pet jerky

Mary Jo DiLonardo

When you’re on a strenuous hike or after a long bike ride, you may refuel with an energy bar. When your pup comes along for the adventure, there are similar treats to hand out.

Clif Bar company, one of the well-known makers of energy bars for humans, has started Clif Pet. Their canine offerings are three flavors of plant-based jerky. They’re made with seven ingredients and no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

Treehugger test canines (some of whom are very picky) were very impressed with the jerky and did all sorts of tricks and acrobatics to get some.

The jerky is soft and easy to break into tiny pieces. It smells fruity and earthy and is available in sweet potato and blueberry, pumpkin and apple, and butternut squash and cranberry.

Greg Lok, head of incubator at Clif Bar & Company, tells Treehugger that pets have been a key part of the company since it was founded three decades ago. Dogs were welcome in the workplace and employees have long urged the company to make products for pets.

With more than 11 million U.S. households adding pets during the pandemic, the audience keeps growing for pet products.

“Combined with the pet parents’ desire for simple, quality, recognizable ingredients, we believe now is the right time to launch Clif Pet,” Lok says. “ With this launch, Clif Bar will bring positive energy and adventure to the whole family! After all, life’s adventures are a lot more fun with a furry friend by your side.”

Pets and the Environment

Researchers are unclear on the exact environmental impact dogs and cats have on the environment. In one 2017 study, scientists estimated that dogs and cats could be responsible for 25% to 30% of the greenhouse gas emissions caused by animal production.

The study estimated that adds up to 64 million tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent methane and nitrous oxide gasses.

The researchers write: “Americans are the largest pet owners in the world, but the tradition of pet ownership in the US has considerable costs. As pet ownership increases in some developing countries, especially China, and trends continue in pet food toward higher content and quality of meat, globally, pet ownership will compound the environmental impacts of human dietary choices.”

Some manufacturers have tackled the environmental concerns by choosing more sustainable options including insect and plant ingredients.

Developed in conjunction with a pet nutritionist, Clif Pet jerky was created with nutrition and sustainability in mind.

“Every single ingredient in our treats has a smart reason for being there,” Lok says. “We wanted to create a wholesome treat pet parents could feed their dog. Above all, purposefully crafted foods are better for people, communities, and the planet, which were all considerations.”

The treats are sold at Petco, which the company says is the first and only national retailer to remove all food and treats with artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

Shari Gordon White, senior vice president of merchandising at Petco, tells Treehugger:

“As a health & wellness company, Petco is committed to improving the lives of pets, and high-quality nutrition and ingredient transparency are critical to supporting that mission. In 2018, we made a promise to stop selling food and treats that contain artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives for dogs and cats. In the years since, we have continued to evolve our product offerings and partner with like-minded brands like Clif Bar & Company that share our values and purpose-driven mission.”

View Article Sources
  1. Greg Lok, Head of Incubator at Clif Bar & Company

  2. "Pets Remain in High Demand During COVID." Today's Veterinary Business.

  3. Okin, Gregory S. "Environmental Impacts of Food Consumption by Dogs and Cats." PLOS ONE, vol. 12, no. 8, 2017, p. e0181301., doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0181301

  4. Greg Lok, Head of Incubator at Clif Bar & Company,

  5. "We've Turned Our Backs on Artificial Ingredients." Petco.