Your Dog, The Planet...and Meat: How to Reduce your Pup's Eco Paw Print

When we think about the environment, we often think about ways to reduce our own ecological footprint like driving more fuel-efficient cars, taking public transportation or changing our diets. But what about your dog's footprint...err, paw print? 

Maybe you've heard claims like, "owning a dog is worse than owning an SUV," but which figures are actually accurate when it comes to your pet and the planet? While it can be tricky to measure the full picture, the choices we make for our pets are certainly significant from an environmental standpoint.

What are the facts? 

Animal agriculture (i.e., meat, dairy, and egg production) is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the combined exhaust from all transportation.

Methane (produced by cows) is 25 to 100 times more destructive than CO2, and has a global warming potential 86 times higher than CO2.

Animal agriculture also uses an outrageous amount of water and land (think about all the resources that go into producing the plants to feed the livestock in the first place).

[Source: Cowspiracy]

Is feeding our dogs meat the best choice for our planet?

Let's take a closer look at the environmental impact of having a dog, specifically what they eat. In addition to the resources required to raise livestock (land, water, feed, etc.) and the methane emissions from cows, the manufacturing and transportation required for dog food makes it extremely carbon intensive -- especially if ingredients are sourced overseas.

But wait - doesn't the pet food industry use animal parts that would otherwise go to waste?

Yes, but who wants to feed their dog diseased body parts, slaughterhouse waste, spoiled grocery store meat, and anything else deemed unfit for human consumption? Raw diets and other "premium" meat diets may try to avoid this, but at a huge cost to the environment. (Higher quality cuts of meat = more animals = more resources used).

In an LA Times article that discusses the environmental impact of dogs, the author adds the following as a mere side note: "Dogs can also eat vegetarian, but I figure my dogs and I have a cap-and-trade relationship — I forgo meat so they don't have to." 

An article in Modern Dog Magazine offers 7 ways to reduce your dog's ecological footprint -- none of which even mention diet.

Here's the good news!

Meat consumption is not a necessary evil for dogs. Sure, they like the taste, but it turns out most dogs also LOVE vegetables, fruits and vegan dog food. Dogs are omnivores and can thrive on a complete and balanced meatless diet. It is definitely important to factor in a plant-based diet as a healthy and ethical solution for environmentally-conscious dogs and their parents.

    How else can you reduce your dog's eco paw print?

    Choose to go local with your dog food. Companies that source their major ingredients internationally can rack up carbon emissions and also risk contamination.

    Pick up your pet's waste in a biodegradable bag to avoid extra plastic piling up in landfills. 

    V-dog is a California-based company that offers healthy, complete and balanced dog food for your pup. All of our products, bags, boxes, production facilities, warehouses and shipping carriers are produced and based in the US. We provide animal products without animal products -- a win-win for our pooches and the planet!

    Learn more about vegan dog food at v-dog.com!

    Other helpful links:

    Dogs are not Wolves: Amylase, Starch Digestion and Vegan Diets

    Can my dog really be vegan?

    Senior Vegan Dogs Thriving

    V-dog: Good for Planet

     

    Image credit: 

    sierraclub.orgtheodysseyonline.com; webpet.com; holidogtimes.com


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