Every small choice we make about what to eat can have profound consequences, not only for ourselves and the world around us but also for the animals who share our planet. As we seek to build a kinder and more sustainable future, embracing a plant-based lifestyle is one of the most powerful actions we can take to reduce animal suffering and help save the planet—and our beloved companion animals can help the cause, too.

Woman holding a black cat
Stefanie McNerney and Loki
Achal Raj

Animal agriculture has significant environmental consequences, from deforestation and water pollution to greenhouse gas emissions. And not only does our current food system contribute to the climate crisis, but it’s also cruel: Huge numbers of animals are bred, kept in inhumane conditions, pulled from the oceans and slaughtered for food every year.

It can be difficult to grapple with the immensity of the problem. But by making more compassionate choices every day—including “treating” our companion animals with homemade, plant-based snacks—we can make positive change one bite (or bark!) at a time. In addition to being delicious, plant-based pet treats reinforce the notion that all animals deserve respect. It’s a delicious win-win situation: happy and healthy pets, and a small but impactful stance against the immense number of animals suffering in the global food system.

When whipping up plant-based pet treats, the possibilities are endless. (Be sure to research whether the ingredients you are using are safe for your specific companion animal.)  Fresh fruits such as blueberries or apples, mixed with oats or whole wheat flour, can create delicious baked biscuits that are human- and dog-approved! Frozen carrots or broccoli can serve as a cooling treat in the hot summer months, and you can share your favorite autumnal flavors with your furry friends by incorporating unseasoned cooked squash, sweet potato or pumpkin into their meals. These treats are meant to complement a balanced diet, so consult with your veterinarian to ensure they suit your furry friend’s dietary needs.

As we work toward a more compassionate and sustainable future, every step counts. By embracing plant-based recipes for everyone, human and nonhuman, we lead by example and demonstrate the positive impact our choices can have. We create a ripple effect of change, reducing the demand for animal products and the number of animals suffering in our food system. Together, we can make a difference.

—Stefanie McNerney is the senior manager of food policy for Humane Society International. Recipes courtesy of Pamela Resendiz, HSI/Mexico.


Heart-shaped dog treats
Meredith Lee

Pumpkin blueberry dog treats

Makes 24 treats


  • 1 cup flour (We recommend rice flour; you can purchase it or make it by blending uncooked rice. Whole-wheat flour or even all-purpose flour will work too.)

  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree

  • 2 flax eggs*

  • 2 teaspoons liquid sweetener

  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (Choose a brand without xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.)

  • 1/3 cup fresh or frozen blueberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350˚ F and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, pumpkin, flax eggs, sweetener and peanut butter and mix until you get a soft, even dough.

  3. Add blueberries and gently mix to incorporate.

  4. Mold into 24 bite-sized treats. You can either use oven-safe bite-size silicone molds or use your hands to roll the dough into small balls.

  5. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.

  6. Let cool before sharing with your furry friend. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

*To make one flax egg, combine 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons warm water and whisk thoroughly. Let sit for 5 minutes, until the mixture thickens to a gel-like consistency.


A high-protein seed, amaranth is indigenous to Mesoamerica and is a budget-friendly ingredient in Central America.

Amaranth sweet potato bark 

Makes 16 treats


  • 1 small ripe banana

  • ½ cup cooked and mashed sweet potato

  • 2 flax eggs*

  • 1 tablespoon liquid sweetener (date syrup** or pure maple syrup)

  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter (Choose a xylitol-free brand.)

  • 1 cup popped amaranth (or substitute rolled oats)


  1. Preheat oven to 300º F and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

  2. In a food processor, add banana, sweet potato and flax eggs and process until combined.

  3. Add sweetener, peanut butter and amaranth or oats and process.

  4. Spread a thin, even layer of the mix on the baking mat.

  5. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden and dry.

  6. Let cool, then use your hands to break the bark into bite-size pieces for your pups. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

**To make 1 cup of date syrup, hydrate 1 cup of pitted dates in 1 cup boiling water for about 15 minutes or until tender. Blend dates with the water and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes until thickened. Refrigerate for up to a month.

Want more content like this?

This was written and produced by the team behind All Animals, our award-winning magazine. Each issue is packed with inspiring stories about how we are changing the world for animals together.

Learn MoreSubscribe
Cover all All Animals Magazine Spring 2024 Issue