Are Pets Killing the Environment?
What has four paws, loves belly rubs, and is poisoning our planet? Some research points the finger at our fluffy friends—and urges us to be considerate of their carbon pawprints.
Mother Jones recently reported on the book Time to Eat the Dog? The Real Guide to Sustainable Living, explores what sustainability really means across all of our lifestyle decisions… including our pets.
So what harm are Mr. Whisker Mittens and Fluffy McKissyNose doing? The book’s authors found that:
- Dogs are the biggest offenders—a medium-sized pup is worse for the planet than a gas-guzzling car, with twice the impact of driving a luxury SUV 10,000 miles.
- While unscooped poop contaminates waterways, those of us who do scoop usually use bags that aren’t biodegradable.
- Cats aren’t off the hook either—two million tons of cat litter gets sent to landfill each year, and most of it isn’t biodegradable.
- Outdoor cat? It can have an impact on the local wildlife, as anyone who’s received a mouse “gift” from their well-meaning friend knows.
- Nosh time is rough, too. Pet food has an environmental cost when it comes to packaging, shipping, and distribution.
- Sick pet? Medications and flea and tick treatments add toxic chemicals to the environment.
Of course, even the most eco-conscious pet owner would probably argue that the benefits of having a pet outweighs the impact it has on the earth—they’re important parts of our lives and families. If you’re set on lowering our pet’s carbon pawprint, though, Mother Jones offers some suggestions:
- Make your own pet food using locally grown, organic products.
- Make your own litter with something like discarded wood shavings (and hope your cat doesn’t retaliate by peeing in your bed).
- Buy natural and organic pet care products.
Do you follow any eco-friendly practices when it comes to caring for your pet?