Climate change cannot be ignored and our pets are something we need to take into account. Animals are impacted by the changes in our climate at least as much as we are, so we must act to reduce the carbon footprint of our pets as part of cutting down on our own emissions. Read on to get some ideas about combating climate change as a pet owner.
Are pets bad for the environment?
Pets, particularly cats and dogs, have an impact on the environment. They consume a lot of meat, leading to global carbon emissions of around 64 million tons every year. However, there are some benefits to pet ownership, such as dog walking, which encourages pet owners to head outdoors on foot more often instead of driving.
Different pets have different carbon footprints. You can reduce this by rescuing pets from shelters rather than buying from breeders. As more pets are born, the overall carbon footprint will inevitably increase. Another thing you can do to help is to have your pet spayed or neutered to protect against unwanted pregnancy.
What can I do to reduce my pet’s carbon footprint?
Buy eco-friendly pet foods
Foods with excessive packaging and those that contain beef products are worst for the environment. Ingredients like fish, chicken or even insects are better. Look for brands that emphasise sustainability and purchase locally where possible. Wild Thought’s eco friendly dog products are a good place to start.
Avoid plastic products
Plastic is very common in pet toys, litter, grooming tools and other products used with pets every day. Look to create your own pet toys from household items and only buy products made from eco-friendly materials. This means biodegradable doggie bags and bamboo kitty litter, for example.
Consider travelling without your pets
Emissions from aeroplanes and cars are high, and they get even higher when you add your pet. You may be able to leave your pets at a kennel or a trusted pet-sitter while you travel, or else stay somewhere closer to home if you want to take them with you.
How are pets affected by climate change?
Your pets are vulnerable to the weather conditions brought on by climate change. When it gets particularly cold or hot, you need to take steps to protect your pets. They can be particularly vulnerable to heatstroke, so keep them indoors and away from direct sunlight during a heatwave. Leave plenty of water out for them and avoid taking them out for walks when the sun is at its most intense.
The cold can be equally harmful. When winter is at its height, provide blankets and clothing for pets. Be wary of taking them out in the snow and, if they live outside, make sure they have the necessary shelter to avoid things like hypothermia or frostbite.