Having a dog is fun – these pets are affectionate, loyal, and a joy to watch all around the environment.
Dogs, therefore, have become a huge part of society. As of today, there are about 900 million dogs worldwide.
Your dog could be the best friend and still the biggest enemy to the planet.
The bad news is that pets, including dogs, contribute to environmental damage.
In our post today, we’ll take a closer look at how to reduce your dog’s carbon footprint.
What Is the Carbon Footprint of a Dog?
We all enjoy the company of our feathered and furry friends as they bring unconditional love around us.
Does a dog have a carbon footprint?
Diet for dogs is the biggest cause of carbon footprint. Most pets consume a meat-based diet, and as we know, a lot of energy, land, and water are required to produce it. This leads to the emission of destructive CO2.
Again, food waste will negatively impact our environment.
Leftovers can cause air pollution if disposed of inappropriately.
The Pet food industry doesn’t produce enough sustainable and earth-friendly products.
Dry pet foods have a good amount of animal meat in them instead of human foods.
In western countries, food waste and overfeeding continue to be a problem.
It’s important to note that the percentage of carbon footprint will depend on the size and type of animal.
When it comes to food, you can adopt sustainable ways to keep your dog happy and in good health.
- Choose sustainable food products
- Transforms your dog into vegan – vegan options
- Buy in bulk or less to avoid extra packaging
- Use pets leftovers to feed your pet
Dog poop contains toxins, so don’t flush it away as it can end up in the water.
Do Dogs Leave a Carbon Footprint?
Yes, they do. The research shows that pets consume around 1/5 of the world’s meat and fish.
As a result, pets leave a high carbon footprint that impacts the environment.
Consequently, the pet food industry is yet to produce enough eco-friendly products.
There are high chances of having pet food waste in the long run.
Do Dogs Have a Larger Carbon Footprint Than an SUV?
The quick answer is yes. Two New Zealand scientists claim that pets’ carbon footprint is almost twice the size of CO2 emitted by an SUV.
Having a dog seems to be a more environmentally friendly decision than having SUVs.
Dog owners are killing the planet.
Your medium-sized dog has an ecological footprint of 2 acres, while a standard sport utility vehicle has a footprint of 1 acre. Puppies are equal to small Volkswagens when it comes to CO2 emissions – that’s according to New Scientist.
Remember, dogs and other pets are carnivores.
So, they feed on meat relatively higher than a typical person.
Meat requires not only a piece of land but also energy to produce than cereals, thus a high carbon footprint.
If a dog can consume about 361 pounds of meat per year, just think of the amount of land needed to cultivate this.
This isn’t a surprise considering that a large dog can live 10-14 years.
A lot goes into producing food to meet dogs’ needs in those years of living.
Furthermore, pet owners do buy some items for dogs.
Dog toys and clothes are good examples, leading to sprouting out of many stores.
These things must undergo the manufacturing process that leads to greenhouse gas emissions.
Although dogs are irreplaceable in our culture and lives, they make environmental demands more than SUVs.
Is Owning A Dog Bad For The Environment?
Yes, but you can put some strategies into practice to reduce his/her impact on the environment. But we must appreciate that owning a dog comes with benefits.
These may include:
- They eat poop, and by that, they’re cleaning up the Earth
- They burry things like bones to help enrich the environment
- Dogs help prevent loneliness
- They reduce our stress levels by improving our mental health
- They’re affectionate
- Pets improve the ambiance of our environments
The only bad news is that dogs harm the environment.
From dog food to dog poop, dogs are responsible for CO2 emissions.
According to scientific studies, animal agriculture contributes to ¼ of carbon dioxide emissions, and dogs are a major player.
How Do You Reduce Your Carbon Footprint?
The fact that your dog leaves a carbon footprint doesn’t mean you get rid of her.
There are ways to go about this all. Here are the ways to reduce your dog’s carbon footprint;
- Change dog’s diet
By far, diet is the biggest contributor to a dog’s carbon footprint.
Most dog owners feed their friendly animals with meat every day.
Producing dog food requires energy that creates a lot of carbon dioxide.
Also, the manufacturer uses different types of packaging, some of which appear to harm the environment.
But nowhere is it written that “your dog should eat meat only.” By this, you should incorporate other foods like vegetables into your dog’s diet.
You can even live a vegan lifestyle.
More importantly, don’t overfeed your dog. Choose quality over quantity.
With all this, there will be a waste reduction.
- Choose eco-friendly pet beddings
Switch to organic beddings and blankets that are made from organically grown materials such as natural fibers.
Eco-pet clothes are processed without dyes and chemicals.
Choose the beddings with the environment in mind.
Things to avoid include;
Unlike plastic-based beddings, sustainable ones will decompose over time, leading to a considerably lower carbon footprint.
Some may even have threads and zips that are biodegradable.
Opting for these products is a win-win practice for your dog and earth.
- Buy eco-friendly toys
Of course, you love to spoil your dog. Think of products like toys, leashes, collars, and more. Meaning, playtime for dogs will involve essentials. It’s clear that most of them are made from plastics.
Think of plastic – it won’t biodegrade quickly as you may think. Also, the resources used to produce these kinds of plastics do impact the environment.
Opt for green dog toys made from eco-sources like bamboo. Hemp is another eco-alternative. You can buy these sustainably-made products locally.
Other eco-friendly products to choose from are:
- Stainless-steel dishes and bowls
- Harnesses and leashes
Another option is to buy items made from recycled materials.
- Opt for biodegradable poop bags
Dog poop disposal is another issue that impacts our planet.
With over 89 million dogs in the United States alone, expects a million pieces of poop bags in return.
These bags end up in landfills each year.
If these bags are made of plastic, they’ll take approximately 500 years to biodegrade.
Swapping to biodegradable and compostable poop bags is the best way to reduce harm to the environment.
- Recycle and reuse
You can recycle dog food bags, beddings, and toy packaging.
Look for a local facility that accepts these products.
If the toys are no longer exciting to your dogs, you can donate rather than adding them to your trash. Other things to donate include food and treats.
- Green grooming
Just go greener with grooming. Groom your dog regularly – this helps keep her skin clean, healthy, and moisturized.
Be careful when choosing the kind of products to get the job done.
For example, some sprays and shampoos aren’t eco-friendly.
Many of them contain harsh chemicals that pose a danger to your dog and the environment. Buy toxic-free shampoos.
Choose wooden brushes.
- Travel together with your dog
We already know that traveling by car, plane, or motorbike will contribute to a large carbon footprint.
Your dog can make a good partner. As you explore, don’t leave her behind.
Don’t drive everywhere, instead hike with her to the park, forest, city, or grocery store.
Truth be told, a dog encourages walking. You can also cycle with your dog running alongside.
With this, you’re going to reduce carbon emissions by half.
- Compost your dog’s waste
Dog’s waste can nourish your soil. Be aware not to add pet waste to your garden compost.
Just set up a new compost system, particularly for this.
This approach will reduce the amount of dog waste that you’d otherwise dispose of.
Many agricultural programs provide you with guides online on how to go about it.
- Neuter and spray
Neutering your dog in advance is more of a responsible thing. It’s of great importance for your dog and the environment.
Unwanted puppies are abandoned so that you end up with an easy-to-manage number.
The fewer the dogs, the better.
Dogs have become part of our culture and lives. Having them brings happiness, kills loneliness, and is fun.
But dogs can as well harm the planet. Dog’s carbon footprint has left us thinking about whether to have them in our environment or not.
The diet and poops are responsible for CO2 emissions, and it’s even clear that dogs leave a larger carbon footprint than SUVs.
We can reduce dogs’ carbon footprint to a certain level by changing their diets, choosing biodegradable poop bags, buying eco-friendly beddings, and composting their waste.