Warning: This post is not for faint hearted pet owners!
Let me start by saying I am a proud and mildly obsessed owner of a 9 year-old Shih Tzu cutie named Munchkin and would not trade her for anything on this planet! However, earlier today I came across an article on inhabitant.com that really peaked my interest and I think its important to share with my Green Schemers everywhere.
According to a new study by a professor at UCLA, household pets like dogs and cats contribute to CO2 production quite significantly. The primarily meat-based diet of cats and dogs plays a role in the global food production industry and its relative outputs of CO2 annually. This study showed that our pets diets are accountable for about 64 MILLION tons of CO2 every year! Thats equivalent to the carbon emissions of over 13 million cars! (source: CO2 calculator).
The study went one step further as to explain this level of impact of cats and dogs on the environment using the hypothetical that if our household pets had their own country, they would be a leading country in the global carbon emissions per year. Their country would be responsible for over a 25% impact, which would put them in the top 5 countries who generate environmental impact from meat production.
So what are we pet owners and Green Schemers to do knowing that out pets carbon footprint is as big as an elephants?! DO NOT turn your pets into vegetarians or vegans as that is truly unhealthy for the animal but do make smarter decisions in what you feed them. Cats and dogs do not need to eat high quality meats that humans do and so be alert to your pets food sources and be diligent in how much of their diets can be supplemented with treats and snacks that are not solely meat-based.
Full article can be found here: Inhabitat: Household Pets Responsible for 30% of US Meat Environmental Impact