Pets are beloved members of our family. They are our companions and we wouldn’t want it any other way. Just as we generate a lot of waste, our pets have a larger ecological “pawprint” of their own. Dogs and cats are responsible for a quarter of the greenhouse gas emissions caused by animal agriculture. However, having a pet doesn’t mean your households carbon footprint has to drastically increase.

Just like we can reduce our carbon footprint, so can your pet! Meat-eating pets have a big environmental impact, but making small changes to your pet’s daily routine can restore the balance. We hope you find the following article helpful for maintaining an ecofriendly household with your loving pooches!

What Is a Carbon Footprint?

We have all heard about how our carbon footprint impacts the environment. However, it’s a very controversial topic, so it’s worth spelling out exactly what carbon footprint means. When talking about climate change, a footprint is a metaphor for the impact something has. And carbon is all of the different greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

Therefore, the term carbon footprint describes an estimate of the climate change impact of something. This could be anything such as an activity, an item, a lifestyle, your household, or even the whole world.

In a more scientific manner, a carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide emissions associated with all the activities of a person and other entity. It includes direct emissions, such as those that result from fossil fuel combustion, heating, and transportation.

9 Leading Causes of Carbon Pawprint

Some of the leading factors contributing to our pets’ carbon paw print include:

  1. Dog food packaging: The majority of dog food packaging is not biodegradable or made from recycled materials.
  2. Shipping, storage and distribution: This impacts the environment because of the materials used and how they store the food and other items.
  3. Pet food ingredients: Specifically, beef, yields the highest impact on the environment.
  4. Toxic chemicals used in the flea and tick treatments: Some flea and tick medicine, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), pose a cancer risk to children.
  5. Cat litter: Particularly the non-biodegradable or renewable variety effect the environment. Although landfills are packed so tightly even the biodegradable litter doesn’t have enough oxygen to break down.
  6. Pet poop: Dogs and some cats go to the bathroom outside. Theleft behind feces run off into waterways, ponds and lakes. The bacteria in it reduce the amount of oxygen and kill any aquatic life. Cat poop has parasites like toxoplasma gondii, which has shown an ability to survive sewage treatment and make its way out to sea.
  7. Plastic bags: Plastic bags that are frequently used to pick up poop aren’t biodegradable.
  8. Pet shampoo: Most pet shampoos are notsulfate-free.
  9. Pet beds and toys: Most beds and toysare made with plastic and/or synthetic materials.

How to Reduce Your Pets Carbon Footprint

While you can’t reduce every impact and some steps are easier than others, you can make some helpful changes to reduce your pets carbon footprint on the environment. Here are some ways you can reduce your pets carbon footprint:

  • Buy pet food made in the USA with ingredients sourced in the USA to reduce shipping distance. 
  • Buy pet food or products that uses biodegradable or recycled packaging and is also organic.
  • Make your own pet food using locally grown veggies! Ingredients: protein, preferably a beef alternative, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins that meet your pet’s needs.
  • Avoid flea repellents containing DDVP, diazinon carbaryl, permethrin or propoxur, nerve toxins that can poison wildlife and pets.
  • Use a pooper scooper or biodegradable bags to collect poop when you are outside.
  • Bury your pet poop.
  • Use natural pet-care and cleaning products that are free of sodium lauryl sulfate.
  • Buy eco-friendly pet beds and toys made from natural materials such as organic cotton, hemp, or recycled materials.

If you’re looking to reduce your pets’ carbon “pawprint,” here are some helpful products you can purchase to help make your household greener and eco-friendlier.

1. Stewart Raw Naturals Fresh to Home Freeze Dried Dog Food – Beef
  • Beef is the #1 ingredient – no fillers, 80% single source protein, 18% fruits and vegetables, 2% vitamins and minerals supplements.
  • Gently processed and has USDA-certified ingredients
  • Human-grade ingredients with the addition of ground bone as a source of calcium.
  • Their recipe has no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
  • Made in the USA with thoughtfully sourced and produced in the heart of the Midwest.
  • Supports skin and coat health with their lean protein and an antioxidant rich diet with Omega 3 and 7.
  • Grain-free dog food with gluten free, soy free, carrageenan free, potato free and hypoallergenic recipes.
2. Pet Life Eco-Paw’ Reversible Eco-Friendly Recyclable Dog Bed Mat Lounge
  • Comfortable soft fleece for comfort and warmth on one side and polyester cotton fabrics on the reverse.
  • Inside is filled with recyclable polyester filling.
  • Reversible bed mats and are available in 2 sizes and 6 colors.
  • Machine washable, great for use indoors and outdoors.
  • Sizes include: Medium 30” L x 20” W x 2”H and Large 35” L x 21.5” W x 2”H
3. Puracy Natural Carpet Cleaner Detergent
  • Professional results with concentrated, naturally-derived detergents and deodorizers to remove stains and odors from carpets, rugs, and other washable surfaces.
  • Advanced natural cleaning technology leaves fibers feeling soft and new.
  • You can use it with carpet machine or by hand.
  • Plant-powered, low foam formula quickly loosens soil and stains from surfaces. It Is safe to use in all major brand carpet machines. (Bissell, Hoover, Rug Doctor, and more).
  • Safe for children and pets with no harsh chemicals such as sulfates, petrochemicals, caustics, perfumes, or optical brighteners.
  • Natural, non-toxic, hypoallergenic, vegan, gluten-free, and biodegradable. It is also certified cruelty-free. It’s never tested on animals and made in the USA.
  • Plant derived for a healthier family, cleaner environment, and a caring community.
4. Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Home Spray
  • Kills fleas, flea larvae, flea eggs, ticks, and mosquitoes without using any harsh chemicals.
  • Scientifically proven effective against pests but gentle to use for the whole family including dogs.
  • Certified natural oils selected for its pest fighting properties and is 100% certified natural.
  • Can be applies on surfaces, indoors and out, including dog bedding, crates, furniture, blankets, carpets, and more. Plus, its gentle enough to be applied directly on dogs and puppies 12 weeks or older.
  • Made in the USA

Eco-Friendly Tips for Pet Owners

  1. Switch to Natural Grooming Products

Organic shampoos and soaps made from natural materials are not only better for you pets overall health, but also safer for the planet! Many non-organic shampoos and soaps are full of harsh chemicals that can make their way into the environment when poured down sink or bathtub drains.

  1. Shop Responsibly

You can reduce your pet’s carbon pawprint by searching for toys, gifts, and supplies made from recyclable, renewable, and sustainable materials. By doing so, you are reducing plastic waste that ends up in landfills and could cause toxic release into the air and ground.

  1. Donate to Pet Shelters

Next, this is a very important and kind gesture to do for animals in need! We all know of a toy that never gets played with or a pet bed your dog never sleeps on. Reusing items is great for the environment and shelters will appreciate the donations!

  1. Use Biodegradable Baggies

When on a walk, hike, or run with your dog, they need to take frequent potty breaks. Many people purchase whatever doggy bags they can find. However, did you know some of them can take tens of hundreds of years to break down in landfills? You can support the planet by purchasing biodegradable baggies!

  1. Put Away the Plastic 

Almost every product you purchase, from toys, collars and leashes, to litter boxes, crates, food and much more, is made or packaged with some sort of plastic. With being green becoming more popular, many more eco-friendly pet products are popping up on the market. These could be products made from materials such as hemp or organic cotton, which are much better for the environment and our planet. Plus, they are much less toxic for our pets that might chew on their belongings.

  1. Go for Non-Toxic Items

Many household supplies contain toxins that can be harmful to pets and the environment. Some cleaners, for example, contain high amounts of chemicals. These chemicals in the cleaners that you use for just about anything including your dogs messes, are just plain terrible for your home. Make the switch to eco-friendly, chemical-free products, or try cleaning up with simple homemade solutions such as vinegar, lemon juice or baking soda.

Additionally, another toxic item you may find in your home is an air freshener such as a plug-in. These can easily be switched out for an essential oil diffuser and oils that aren’t toxic to pets. You can also keep rooms smelling nice and fresh by placing boxes of baking soda in the smelly areas to absorb the odor.