This is a partnered guest post.
Most people who have a dog are quick to consider their pet a bona fide member of the family. Our dogs sit in the kitchens with us while we eat dinner. They come on family roadtrips. They annoy and inconvenience us at times, but we will always love them nevertheless. It’s not too difficult to understand why some people equate getting a dog with having a baby.
But dogs are members of our families in less positive ways as well. For example, they contribute their fair share to a family’s collective carbon footprint. One recent study, determined that a medium sized dog carries an annual carbon footprint of about 2.1 acres, an amount larger than that of astandard SUV. Fido’s footprint pales in comparison to ours, of course, but that shouldn’t let him off the hook as far as eco-friendliness is concerned. There’s just one problem: while us humans have the ability to understand the environmental ramifications of our actions, dogs possess no such capacity. On this note, while we would prefer Fido to start recycling on his own accord, it is ultimately the responsibility of the owner to decrease a dog’s footprint. Here are a few tips for doing just that:
-Turn waste into fertilizer. When a dog does his business, the average owner will pick up the droppings and deposit them in the trash. This adds countless plastic bags and piles of dog poop to landfills every year. A better method is to take those droppings and use them as fertilizer in the garden. The droppings will naturally decompose and the soil will benefit as a result.
-Reduce meat consumption. The meat that dogs eat – whether in their food or in scraps from the table – reflects their greatest carbon footprint contribution. Reducing meat consumption, consequently, can help you dogs quickly become greener. This can be done by seeking out low-meat or no-meat dog foods at the store.
-Be efficient with energy use. Upon leaving the house, many dog owners will keep the lights on and the AC turned up so as to insure Fido’s optimal comfort. This is generally unnecessary since dogs can handle non-ideal temperatures better than humans, but if you’re committed to your pet’s comfort you can instead use a timer or a home automation system to manage your electricity consumption in an efficient and Fido-friendly way.
These are just a few tips for reducing your dog’s carbon footprint and helping even the furriest member of your family go green. While Fido may not drive a gas-guzzling car to work every day, he still is a member of the family and he still (in all likelihood) has room for improvement on the eco-friendly front.