How Eco-Conscious People Feed Their Pets

Believe it or not, your furry pal has a pretty big carbon footprint. Some speculate that the yearly carbon impact of a medium dog is bigger than a large SUV (although I am a little skeptical of that assertion). Either way, if you are at all concerned about the environment (it is where we live, after all), it is important to consider the effect your pet has on your household’s overall carbon footprint.

Perhaps the most unsustainable part about having a cat or dog is what you feed them. There is a growing trend to feed our pals lots of meat-based products with relatively little to no grain—an offshoot of the popular Paleo diet. However, fad diets for your pets are not necessarily the healthiest or most sustainable. Here are some ways the average eco warrior can make their pet’s bowl a little greener:

Feed your pet less meat.

While we know our canine and feline pals can certainly thrive on a carnivorous diet, you don’t need to overload their bowls with meat, especially “human-grade meats”. Of course, it can be argued that many pet foods utilize non-human grade meats that are actually byproducts (organ meat and lesser grades that Americans don’t enjoy). So, pet food is actually not so wasteful in that way. However, since we are trying to reduce our meat consumption as a nation, it is probably best to keep your pet off a meat intensive diet. Specifically focus on reducing your pet’s beef consumption, as factory farmed beef is strongly linked to a larger carbon footprint. In fact, some people suggest that our pets can thrive on well-balanced vegetarian diets, although I would recommend talking to your vet before changing your pet’s diet in any drastic manner.

Related: Should You Feed Your Dog a Vegan Diet?

Reduce your food waste.

Instead of throwing away the animal products or produce from your fridge that you are unable to eat, why not utilize them by feeding them to your dog? Wilted veggies, bruised fruits and less desirable meat bits make great fodder for your pet’s diet. Recycling your food waste saves you from wasting large amounts of human food while stretching your pup’s food out a little longer. Just be sure you aren’t feeding your dog or cat anything that is potentially dangerous—like chocolate, cooked chicken bones, onions and grapes.

Don’t fall for human fads.

There are a lot of people feeding their dogs grain-free diets nowadays, myself included. I feel better when I don’t eat grains, so why wouldn’t he? This doesn’t seem to be the case. In what should be a pretty obvious observation, dogs and cats are different from humans. Their diets don’t necessarily have to be human-like. As people, we love anthropomorphizing animals, giving them personalities and voices that are uniquely human-like. We also like to have them mirror our own dietary restrictions. But this thinking is actually pretty wasteful, as it encourages pet food companies to use more meat and other carbon-intensive products rather than grains like rice or corn. Properly cooked grains are actually well digested by dogs and cats, so nixing them from their diets (especially in favor of more animals products) is both costly and less sustainable.

Consider making homemade food.

Not only does this save excess packaging waste (assuming you buy your other ingredients in bulk) but whipping up food in bulk for your pet can be pretty fun. There are plenty of books and resources out there to help get you started and to ensure that you are making nutritionally valuable meals. Of course, if you are endlessly busy or cannot afford to spend a little more moeny on your pal, this is not a great option.

Of course, the most important thing you can do is keep your pet healthy and happy. Make sure they are eating good food, getting plenty of exercise and are well taken care of. If you are concerned about your household’s footprint, that doesn’t mean it is time to squeeze out Fido. You’re better off ditching your car than giving up your favorite furry pal.

Related:
Why Exercise Sometimes Makes You Angry
Outdoor Activities Absolutely Anyone Can Do
8 Effective Workouts That Are Gentle on Your Joints

154 comments

Camilla Vaga
Camilla Vagaabout a month ago

thx

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Glennis W
Glennis Wabout a month ago

Very informative and helpful Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis Wabout a month ago

Great information and advice. Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis Wabout a month ago

Very interesting article Thank you for caring and sharing

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Peggy B
Peggy Babout a month ago

Noted

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Jim V
Jim Ven3 months ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome S3 months ago

thanks for sharing.

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Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla3 months ago

Sharing as well, thank you

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Jerome S
Jerome S3 months ago

thanks

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 months ago

thanks for sharing.

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