A book published in 2009 titled Time to Eat the Dog: The real guide to sustainable living compares the carbon footprint of pets to other lifestyle choice. By analyzing ingredients in common food brands and calculating the amount needed to feed a medium sized dog, they reported that a dog leaves a larger footprint than a Toyota Land Cruiser. Of course, this drove people crazy. There’s no way their furry friends could hurt the environment so much. It also adds to the argument, what’s more important saving animals or saving the environment? Nonetheless, people do not seem to be giving up their best friends. So is there a pet that is actually considered eco-friendly? Yes.
The best pets for the environment are rabbits, goats, chickens and ducks. All 4 of these species diets can be supplemented or fulfilled by naturally growing resources such as grass and vegetables. All of their waste can also be used as fertilizer. Furthermore, chicken or ducks can also produce eggs which can offset you buying them from the store detracting from your personal carbon footprint.
However, we understand that owning one of these 4 animals as a pet may not be plausible for you. Therefore, there are ways to make your cat or dog more eco-friendly. First, neuter or spay your pets. If these animals really are hurting the environment, it would be best to limit it. As this could also create more animals in need of furever home. Second, resist pet consumerism. I know, it is hard to resist buying your dog that adorable sweater or that new toy. But your dog has fur for a reason and we know you have already spoiled your pet with tons of toy. Think twice for buying unnecessary things. Choose biodegradable baggies for poop pick-up and eco-friendly cat litter. These are easy things that can be overlooked by can make a big difference.
There are animals that are less eco-friendly than dogs and cats. On the opposite side of the spectrum of rabbits, goats, chickens and ducks are exotic pets. Odds are the exotic pet you are about tot buy was taken from the wild, from its natural habitat. All ecosystems are a circle, each animal needing the other. When even just one animal is pulled from that cycle it can throw off the entire system. Furthermore, you are promoting this practice when buying exotic pets.