Why you should feed your dog kangaroo

Words By Gemma Sheehy

February 11, 2020

How do you feel about feeding your dog kangaroo?

Depending on where you come from, the answers changes a lot. Traditionally kangaroo has not been a popular choice in protein across the globe. Mainstream meat-eaters have rejected the consumption of kangaroo. It’s even been criminalised in states like California, where the sale of kangaroo meat or products incurs a heavy fine.

But, for Aussies, chowing down on Roo meat isn’t all too strange, even though it makes up half of our national emblem. You can find kangaroo meat in most Australian supermarkets and butchers, and no one bats an eye. And if you haven’t personally eaten it, you likely know someone who has.

But there is still some debate between Australians on how acceptable, or ethical, it is to feast on our country’s national emblem. Is it right to eat kangaroo, and even more, is it okay to feed your dog kangaroo meat?

Why feed Kangaroo? 

Sustainability is at the forefront of WAG’s mission. And we’re in the business of meat – and our doggos are in the business of eating meat. This means, we look for options for dog treats and meat that are eco-friendly.

Because of this, WAG believes there is much more to say on the debate or feeding your doggo kangaroo meat. As ethical consumption advocates, we are confident in our kangaroo meat. Not only is it eco-friendly, it’s a sustainable and healthy choice when it comes to your dog’s health. We want to shine a light on the reasons why roo meat is right for your dog.

Two dogs lying down with dehydrated kangaroo bones

Kangaroo Bones come in all shapes & sizes  📷 Photographer: Grier Morris-Obst

Kangaroo is a sustainable option 

It’s undeniable that aspects of the meat industry are not as sustainable as they could be. The practice of breeding animals for the production of their products, known as animal or livestock agriculture, is not very eco-friendly.

Current animal agricultural processes are intensive, and drain enormous amounts of environmental resources. These processes are associated with producing pollution through fossil fuel usage, water and land consumption, and animal methane. All contribute to detrimental environmental footprint.

According to The Conversation, livestock farming contributes 18% of human produced greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Animal agriculture leaves one of the largest water footprints on the planet. Beef is the primary reason for deforestation in the Amazon, with some figures speculating up to 70% of the ancient jungle cut down for pasture.

In comparison, the kangaroo farming industry appears angelic. All kangaroos are completely wild. They roam the vast Australian lands at their own discretion. And our wildlife and land doesn’t need to be deforested to house and breed them.

Some groups express concern at endangering kangaroo populations through consumption. But the evidence says otherwise. Kangaroos exist in staggering numbers. Approximately 50 million live throughout the Aussie outback – that’s double the human population! With no traditional predators remaining, kangaroo populations have boomed. They breed without restriction and survive on the scarcest resources.

Australia does not farm its kangaroos

The kangaroo industry in Australia is sustainable and humane. It’s said to be the most sustainable meat trade in the world. The kangaroo industry works in close partnership with the Australian government and independent experts to monitor the kangaroo population.

Quotas are set for commercial harvesting and these are set with reference to the aerial population survey. It’s never more than 20% of the total population.

The use of strict and regulated quotas – based on scientific survey methods – is also supported by conservation and environmental protection communities throughout Australia.

Did you know…

  • Only 4 out of 48 species can be commercially harvested. Around 3% of Australia’s 50 million kangaroos are used for meat production each year.
  • Kangaroo populations rise and fall with seasonal conditions. During extended droughts, their numbers decrease again.
  • Studies have shown that this method has no long-term negative impact on the environment. This result comes from more than 60 years of commercial harvesting.
  • Population surveys are conducted regularly to keep an eye on kangaroo numbers. A maximum quota of 15–20% of the kangaroo population can be harvested in any year.

So you can rest assured that the treats you’re feeding your dog haven’t come from bad welfare practices!

They’re environmentally friendly

In recent years environmentalists have pointed the finger at the animal industry and their production of greenhouse gases. Experts agree that livestock is responsible for 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions with beef representing 65% of these gasses, followed by pig meat, and lastly chickens.

Kangaroos, in comparison, contribute less to greenhouse gases due to their unique process of digestion. While eating, kangaroos don’t just digest their food – they also ferment it! This means that food travels throughout the stomach and digestive system quicker, allowing less time for microbes to break down the food and produce methane.

While kangaroos do produce methane gases equivalent to that of horses, it’s still significantly less than cows and therefore less ozone-damaging and eco-friendly.

It’s not just emissions that make roos the right choice. Scientists suggest that harvesting “food and fibers from animals adapted to Australia’s fragile rangelands is eminently wise and sustainable”. And with such an enormous population, often competing with beef or sheep for scant resources available in the unforgiving Aussie outback, kangaroo meat starts to make real sense.

Kangaroo is seriously healthy 

Meat is essential for the health and longevity of our dogs. It’s rich with indispensable vitamins and minerals. Each type of meat has an individual nutritional profile, unique to the animal that it’s come from. Kangaroo boasts an impressive nutrient list, including a variety of benefits for chowing down on the unique protein.

Kangaroo is a particularly lean meat, containing less than 2% fat. This makes it one of the healthiest red meat options, and suitable to doggos of all diet types – particularly those that are sensitive, like sufferers of pancreatitis.

Not only that, but Kangaroo is also considered to be jam-packed full of Iron, a mineral essential for supporting immune function and boosting metabolism. It’s rich in B vitamins, Omega 3 and Zinc – a nutrient boost in each bite your doggo takes.

What if my dog is allergic to kangaroo?

Roo is often described as hypoallergenic, meaning it’s relatively unlikely to trigger an allergic reaction. While there are dogs that are allergic to kangaroo meat, it’s proven to be less likely to trigger an allergic episode, and is often recommended by vets for doggos with dietary restrictions.

Allergies develop when a dog’s immune system incorrectly identifies an ingredient as harmful and therefore develops antibodies to fight it. These antibodies wage war on the identified ingredient and also your doggo. It can result in inflammation, scratching, and discomfort. Each time your dog’s immune system encounters the allergy-inducing ingredient, the immune response grows stronger… and more dangerous.

Roo meat is considered a rare and novel protein, and something that most doggo’s won’t encounter in their daily meal. Because of this, it’s very unlikely for them to have developed an allergy to roo meat the same way they would beef or chicken (both ingredients that are hugely popular and widely available in dog food).

That being said, we have encountered a dog or two who is allergic. Read more about Sarah and Chloe’s story, and how Sarah discovered the kangaroo allergy that her cocker spaniel, Chloe, had.

But for the unlucky few who have developed an allergy to kangaroo, there are still some tip-top alternatives – venison and goat are fine substitutes if you’re seeking out novel and low-allergenic proteins. Fish is another gold-standard option for sensitive doggos with the added benefit of being easier to get your paws on, especially in Australia.

Is Roo the meat for your doggo?

We think so! It’s good to feel good about what you’re feeding your dog. When you’re considering kangaroo, you know it’s sustainable, eco-friendly and an ultra-healthy option for your doggo. Whether you feed kangaroo as their main meal or in the form of bones or treats, you will know that your dog is benefitting from the inclusion of some roo!

For more information on WAG’s sourcing of kangaroo products, you can either reach out directly or read more about our process.

Author

Gemma Sheehy

If there's one thing Gemma's passionate about in life, it's dogs. When she's not writing about them at WAG she's living, breathing, walking and snuggling with her own. Besides dog shows and sporting events on the weekends, Gemma is partial to cooking (sometimes) healthy meals, watching horror movies and making records for time spent in pyjamas.