When we talk about the planet, we often refer to our carbon footprint, but for those of us with a furry friend, there is also a paw-print to consider! A recent study found that if cats and dogs within the US alone were classed as their own country, they would be ranked 5th in global meat intake, as well as producing 64 million tons of carbon dioxide and methane annually. So for all those passionate puppy owners, here are some easy ways to help those paws get a little greener!
8 Easy Tips
The inspiration for this article came from my sisters vegan (well almost) pup, who is currently sleeping beside me! After discovering he was allergic to all meat and fish after months of upset tummies, he had to start on kibbles that contain broken down meat proteins so they didn't cause a reaction. When it comes to treats and snacks, he's turned full on vegan, which he very much enjoys! It got me thinking about our pets carbon footprint, if we are all turning veggie to save the planet, what does that mean for out pets? I was shocked to discover just how much of an impact our pets have, especially pampered ones...! Most of the tips listed below relate to both cats and dogs, but as a dog owner, I may be just a little biased! Nonetheless, each can be used as inspiration on how to reduce your own pets climate footprint, from parrots to rabbits.
Low impact poo bags/cat litter
Which each doggy averaging between 1 and 5 poos a day, using compostable poo bags makes all the difference. Compostable poo bags are widely available online and from most retailers with hardly any additional cost, begging the question... why aren't all bin bags and poo bags compostable?
Natural cat litter is not only a great choice to help your furry friend reduce their impact but comes with a host of benefits. Alongside being biodegradable, most natural cat litters are flushable, dust free and have great odour control properties.
I've ranted on enough about the benefits of bulk buying, but it can apply to food for your pet as well! Helping reduce packaging, delivery related emissions and help to reduce costs, this trick will save the planet and your pocket. Many pet shops have fill your own stations where a selection of treats and kibbles are available free from plastic, plus you're in control of how much you buy - just remember to bring your own containers!
Make toys last
Picture the scene. You walk into the living room, a dishevelled Santa glares at you, only his head remains. Next to him, the body of squeaky chicken. In a cascade of ripped material and broken dreams (perhaps a bit dramatic), what feels like hundreds of toys surround you, none of them looking as cute as when you bought them. But it's not time for the bin yet, they can still be made into the magical toy your pet once adored! All you'll need is a needle and thread, plus as many random pieces of destroyed toys as you'd like, creating brand new toys with a hint of Frankenstein glamour.
Keeping your pet entertained can be expensive, especially if they get bored of old toys quickly or (in my case) destroy them within hours! Swapping toys with friends can help keep your pet happy without the constant demand for buying new. Have a local tennis club? It's likely they will have hundreds of waste balls and nothing to do with them, so they will be happy to donate them to your fluffy friend. All of the above saves you money too!!
If your dog requires constant grooming, the sustainable cleaning problems we all face apply to them too! Check out whether your brand of shampoo is cruelty free before buying, there are plenty of natural choices out there for a variety of budgets. Fan of a shampoo bar? Can you see where this is going? You can get these for your dog now to... one example is Cyril's shampoo bars, available for itchy, sensitive or crazy pups!
Veggie treats are a healthy alternative for your pet, but also help to reduce their meat intake. Eating meat contributes to deforestation, accelerated climate change and increases the risk of land grabbing and human rights abuses. Veggie and vegan diets are a more efficient way of feeding the world sustainably, and even cutting down on meat can make a huge difference - now our pets can help out too!
Doug's favourite brand is Soopa, but there are plenty of options out there!
Or make your own
Love your pooch as much as you love baking? Why not try make your own treats for your pet! For one, you know all the ingredients so you are fully in control of what they eat, plus it will save you a load of dollar on fancy veggie treats! Here's some example recipes below:
Buy from ethical companies
If you are struggling to make sense of any of the above ideas and can't image yourself spending Sundays cooking dogs treats, just stick to companies with the same ethos you have. Prioritise business that offer goods with natural ingredients, organic materials and planet friendly techniques!
Finally, some of the biggest impacts we can have are the easiest, like local walks! It's always nice go somewhere new with your pooch, for yourself and them, but try to discover new places to walk in your local area and try not to travel too far all of the time.
Pets literally make our lives 100% better, and I don't even want to know what the world would be like without them! We are already seeing the devastation that can come from our actions, with forest fires and floods ripe around the world. Although the changes we require need to come from the biggest polluters and policy makers, we can set an example by doing as much as we can for the planet, and that includes our furry friends!
As always, thanks for reading!