People are becoming increasingly eco-conscious and finding ways to reduce their carbon footprint, which is certainly something that should be encouraged in today’s day and age. One area where people are often unaware is having a big impact on their carbon footprint is their pets. Pets can be a great addition to the family, but caring for them can be harmful to the environment if you are not careful.
The Impact of Pets
44% of the UK population own a pet and it is easy to see why as there are so many benefits, but people must be aware of how feeding and caring for them can be harmful and it is down to us to find ways to prevent this damage. Homeowners should look into steps like green energy tariffs in the home, but you can also make a few changes to how you look after your pet which could make a big difference. In fact, the carbon footprint of an average-sized cat is 310kg of CO2e annually and 770kg of CO2e annually for an average-sized dog. So, what is causing this damage and how could it be avoided?
Every pet owner knows that cleaning up after your pet is a major task. Cat litter and dog poo bags might be an easy way to do this, but these are not the most eco-friendly options. The Environmental Working Group recommends that cat owners use plant-based cat litter products while both dog and cat owners should use biodegradable dog poo bags to reduce environmental impact.
Pets need to be entertained, especially for times where their owners are working or busy at home. Toys are one way to do this, but constantly buying new plastic toys is not good for the environment (or your bank balance). Instead, you could try rotating existing toys to prevent boredom, fashion your own toys or even reuse old household items (such as an old pair of slippers).
Obviously, pet food is a major and unavoidable purchase, but this too can be harmful to the environment especially larger pets that get through a lot of food. It is often recommended that people stop eating or drastically reduce meat intake, but pets eat around a fifth of the world’s meat and fish and the pet food industry creates greenhouse gas emissions of 106 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. In order to reduce the carbon footprint of your pet’s food, you should buy from sustainable and local brands, bulk-buy to cut down on packaging and prevent overfeeding.
It is clear that pet owners need to think about the impact on the environment that caring for their pet has and fortunately there are lots of effective ways to reduce your impact while still providing a happy, healthy and enjoyable lifestyle for your pets.