Have you ever wondered what your pet’s carbon footprint is?
Given that every pet and pet owner are different, the exact number, such as it were, is difficult to calculate; but it probably comes as no surprise that pet ownership isn’t exactly good for the planet. The production and transportation of pet food, toys, supplies, and all of the materials that go into medical procedures use up resources, create waste, and generally put a burden on the planet.
So, what’s eco-conscientious pet owner to do?
Reducing Your Pet’s Carbon Footprint
A 2017 study out of UCLA found that dogs and cats are responsible for a quarter of the greenhouse gas emissions caused by animal agriculture.
Fortunately, reducing your pet’s individual carbon footprint is relatively simple. Here are a few steps we recommend:
Spay and neuter your pets – Pet overpopulation has a huge impact on the planet, not to mention on pets themselves. Preventing your pet from procreating by having them spayed or neutered is one of the single most effective ways you can reduce your pet’s carbon footprint.
Adopt, don’t shop – Puppy and kitten mills are not only horrific for the animals involved, they can do some real damage to the environment. Adopting your pet from a shelter or rescue organization saves a life and ensures that you aren’t supporting abusive or illegal breeding practices.
Keep cats indoors – Cats are born hunters, but these tiny predators are responsible for the deaths of approximately 3.7 billion songbirds each year, and that’s not including the countless mammals, reptiles, and amphibians that are meeting their fate at the ends of a house cat’s claws. You can reduce Kitty’s environmental impact (and ensure her safety) by keeping her indoors and finding creative ways to keep her busy and active.
Scoop the poop – Dog poop is more damaging to the environment than most people realize. Bacteria and parasites in dog poop can be spread to animals and people, and can leach into the groundwater or be carried there via rain/runoff. Picking up after your dog using biodegradable baggies will go a long way toward reducing your pet’s carbon footprint.
Select litter carefully – Speaking of poop, cat owners are advised to avoid clay clumping litter due to the fact that clay is strip-mined, a big environmental no-no. The silica dust generated by this type of litter can coat your cat’s lungs, and is a known carcinogen.
Reduce, reuse, recycle – It’s so much fun to buy your pet a new toy, but think twice before dropping a brand new plastic or plush goodie in your cart next time. Many pet products are made from questionable materials and are shipped from overseas – two things can have a negative impact on the environment. Instead, seek out pet toys that are made in the USA, and look for ways to recycle older toys or make your own pet toys/games out of items you already have in your home.