owner holding dog's paw

If you are concerned with your impact on the environment, you may have questioned whether or not your pet has a big carbon footprint.

Although the exact figure varies from pet to pet, there are many aspects of pet ownership that put some stress on the planet. One of the biggest stressors on the environment is the production of pet products; everything from toys, supplies, and even medical procedures creates waste. Transporting these items and pet food also uses gas and emits carbon emissions into the air.

How can you, and eco-conscious pet owner reduce this impact?

Steps to Reduce Your Pet’s Carbon Footprint

In 2017, UCLA performed a study that calculated that out of the total greenhouse gas emissions created in the animal agriculture industry, dogs and cats create 1/4 of it.

With a few simple tips, you can drastically reduce your pet’s individual carbon footprint. Here are a few steps we recommend:

Spay and neuter your petsPet overpopulation puts a lot of undue stress on the planet. Responsibly spaying or neutering your pets is an extremely effective way to reduce your pet’s carbon footprint.

Adopt, don’t shop Puppy and kitten mills are not only horrific for animals, but they also have a negative impact on the environment. Adopting your pet from a shelter or rescue gives a needy pet another chance at life. The more people who adopt, the less need there will be for puppy and kitten mills.

Keep cats indoors – Cats love to hunt. Although it’s part of their nature, these small killers are personally responsible for killing about 3.7 billion songbirds each year. They also reduce mammal, reptile, and amphibian populations. You can reduce your cat’s carbon footprint by keeping her indoors and finding creative ways to keep her busy and active to satisfy that hunting instinct.

Scoop the poop – Many people do not realize the extent of the damage dog waste does to the environment. There are bacteria and parasites present in dog poop that can get into the groundwater. They can also spread to humans and other animals and cause disease. Picking up after your dog with biodegradable baggies is not only the polite thing to do, it is also important for the planet.

Select litter carefully – Speaking of poop, you should not buy clay clumping litter for your cat. The clay is stripped from mines, which is terrible for the environment. The litter is also dangerous for a cat because silica dust can cause kitty cancer.

Reduce, reuse, recycle – While it is fun to watch your pet play with a new toy, you might want to think twice before you buy another plastic toy. Many pet products are made from questionable materials and are imported from other countries. Try to choose pet toys that are made in the USA, or try to recycle older toys. You can even get creative and make your own pet toys/games from materials you already have.

As always, your team at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital is here for you! Don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions or concerns regarding your pet.