While pets’ environmental expense is inevitable, it is has the potential for reduction which naturally requires the effort and commitment by pet owners in managing the pets-nature relationship. Managing the impact of pets on the environment benefits us humans in the long run as well (because we have to live in and depend on this same environment for survival too), so there is also some involvement of the pets-human relationship in the pets-nature relationship as well.
There are many ways for pet owners to play a part in reducing the carbon footprint of their pets, some of which are very simple measures and movements that require just a little effort, such as:
1) Using eco-friendly pet food: food that is all natural, chemical free and biodegradable, and produced in processes that have also been modified to reduce pollution and detrimental impact on the environment.
2) Reducing pets’ protein-rich meat intake: feeding pets, for instance cats, more of fish head/leftover fish meat from the fishmonger instead of fancy cuts of meat (such as red meat).
3) Adopting pets, instead of buying
4) Trap, neuter and return strays: this helps to control the population of strays, but it requires a joint effort not just by pet groups (to do the capturing) or vets (to do the procedure), but also citizens in helping to reporting any strays.
5) Picking up your pet waste!: Pet waste left unattended has the potential to contaminate our waterways. Do use biodegradable plastic bags to help dispose pet wastes as well to further reduce the environment impact.
6) Buy pet toys produced with recycled/environmentally-friendly materials, and with less packaging.
7) Do not let your pets harm wildlife: Avoiding/reduce walking of your dog in wildlife-rich areas; keeping cat indoors whenever possible if it has a particular thirst for other smaller animals’ blood. Alternatively, you might want to consider keeping pets in a fenced backyard, or an enclosed outdoor if you insist on letting them roam outside.
8) But the best way of compensating for that paw or clawprint is to make sure your animal has a dual purpose. For instance, if you are interested in getting a pet yet are open to a variety of pet options, you might want to consider to get a hen, which offsets its impact by laying edible eggs.
9) Nutritionists have also suggested pet owners to put obese cats or dogs on a diet. Apart from reducing the amount of food intake, such pet owners should also consider purchasing pet food that contain less protein (thus reducing carbon footprint) and are more easily digestible (thus producing less waste). It would reduce demand while lessening the supply chain’s environmental impact, and at the same time produce happier, healthier pets.
10) Reducing ecological impacts also come with the number and size of pets you have chosen. Do consider smaller cats or dogs, or perhaps, small pets such as hamsters and goldfish that have significantly smaller ecological footprints. Have just one pet too if it works for you, although adopting more than 1 can help to save innocent lives and offer them the comfort of a home.