Sustainable Living & Sustainable Lifestyle

Learn how to balance the needs of your best friend and the planet.

5 Ways to Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Your Pet

Green pets? Not literally of course. If your pet is green do take it to see a vet! If your pet is or isn’t eco-friendly however, well that’s an entirely different story.

For a long time now, we’ve discussed about how we as humans can make our lives more sustainable. We’ve looked at ways to cut back our carbon footprint and the damage we do to the earth, but many of us who are pet owners have neglected to look at the carbon footprint our pets leave.

Pets Have Larger Carbon Footprints than a SUV

Reduce your pet's carbon footprintSurely it can’t be much, I used to think, looking at the size of the cat and imagining the tiny physical footprint its paws leave. Well, in actual fact it’s quite a lot; one of the main reasons being that animals tend to eat a lot of meat. Whereas you and I, as humans, can have a mixture of meat and vegetables, animals like cats and dogs generally don’t. Realizing that the carbon footprint of a pet could be as large as that of an SUV, I’ve taken several measures to try to reduce whatever I can of that impact. Here’s just a few of the steps you can also take.

Adopt From a shelter

Adopt from a shelter and you take demand away from breeders. That becomes one less pet the world thinks it needs, which is one less mouth to feed. It may seem simple, but often the simplest steps are the best.

Spay or Neuter Your Pet

We have a problem when the number of pets exceeds the demand for pets. If you’re not able to look after a litter of puppies, make sure that you won’t be hearing the tiny patter of paws any time soon.  By not doing so, you risk putting additional strain on pet charities and dog shelters, which are already overburdened with the task of feeding and finding new homes for the pets they already have.

Poop Cleaning Should Be Green

Before I started thinking about how I could be more eco-friendly with my pets, I used to scoop up poop from the dogs and cats using a freezer bag. Thinking about it, I quickly realized that these bags are unlikely to degrade and all I’m doing is preserving that poop in a landfill somewhere. Invest in biodegradable bags as this will help to prevent that from happening.

Get a Pet Sitter

You can spend a lot of time and money making these changes, but when you go away on vacation and have to put your pet in a kennel, it’s unlikely that they’re going to follow in your green footsteps. For this reason, and to ensure that I could keep my pets green year round, I always take on a pet sitter when I go away. This way I can show them everything that I’ve been doing and ask them to do the same as well.

Use Eco-Friendly Pet Products Where Possible

I’ve been using eco-friendly products on myself for years, but have only recently started doing it with the dogs. I’m not sure why it took me so long to come around, but it did. These days, thanks to the internet is relatively easy to get hemp products such as dog collars and leashes, and an increasing range of environmentally friendly shampoos and other products.

So from eco-friendly poop bags to green dog products, there are quite a few ways in which you can keep your pets greener, thereby reducing their very large carbon footprint.

James is a freelance pet features writer on a mission to make his pets greener by adopting pets and by using green alternative products such as poop bags where possible.


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