Are dogs climate sinners? And if so, how can the carbon footprint be improved? If you're looking for answers to these questions, you've come to the right place! Our four-legged friends bring us joy every day. But in times of Climate change we must all pull together and learn together, live more environmentally friendly - This also applies to our animal companions in all situations. A study by the Technical University of Berlin has shown that dogs have a significant influence on global warming.
In this article, I would like to show you why this is the case - and how every dog owner can contribute to improving the carbon footprint of their pet. Let's go!
- Closing words
Important Notice: I know that this topic can become emotionally charged very quickly. That's why it's important for me to mention that this article is not intended to dissuade anyone from taking in a dog. Instead, it is intended to explain why we often hear about "dogs as climate sinners" - and what tips and tricks can make the lives of our four-legged friends much more climate-friendly.
Why are dogs often harmful to the climate?
The Study of the Technical University of Berlin no longer leaves any doubt about what their innocent looks could hide: our dogs are a massive environmental burden. A dog weighing about 15 kilograms leaves behind in 13 years of his life about a ton of feces and almost 2000 liters of urine in nature. In addition, about 8.2 tons of CO2 are emitted for him. emitted - the equivalent of about 13 round-trip flights from Berlin to Barcelona.₁ Much of the personal, annual Climate Budgets of a dog owner is eventually already consumed by his own pet.
But why is that? Decisive for the climate friendliness of an individual dog are above all the composition, origin and packaging of the Animal Feed, U Environmental toxins in the Excretions, the quantity and material of the Excrement bag, any toys, as well as the respective Size or breed of the animal. Fortunately, these are also directly very good starting points for Make dog ownership more sustainable.
One more thing: In Germany, there are 10.56 million pet owners with one or even more dogs₂ - the trend in recent decades: strongly increasing. The growing, absolute number of dogs also contributes its share to the image of dogs as climate killers.
How can a dog's carbon footprint be improved?
Now our dogs had to listen to criticism long enough - so let's come to the things that they (and therefore of course especially you as master / mistress) can do better.
1. prefer climate friendly dog food
Surely you know that meat from the Factory farming one of the biggest drivers of the Environmental problems of our time is. Especially the Cultivation and transport of animal feed, the Deforestation of forest areas for pasture and arable land, the Pesticide use, as well as the Methane emissions from cows are problematic from an ecological point of view.
Ideally, therefore, you cook your dog food yourself to keep the Control ingredients and the Avoid plastic waste of the packaging. But there are now also Vendors like Alvarthat pack sustainable feed (e.g. regional fish/meat or feed made from purely plant-based ingredients such as oats and soy) in paper bags and specifically use natural ingredients. Using raw materials more efficiently want. Production surpluses, for example, are avoided and only as much protein is added to the feed as the dog really needs.
It's best to get larger packages to save on packaging waste. Also make sure to prefer plant-based ingredients, as these avoid the "detour animal" from factory farming.
Also, feed only as much as really necessary. If your dog is more on the cusp of being overweight, that's usually a sign that you can easily cut back a bit and in turn natural resources can spare.
Good to know: A domestic dog is no longer a wolf. The digestive organs of animals have evolved in our households to eat both meat and plant foods. Under close observation, you can make a So dog also balanced vegan diet. But of course, you can always make dog nutrition more sustainable even with animal ingredients.
2. use a (sustainable) dog waste bag
First of all, it is important, use a poop bag at all - whether you are walking in the city or in the countryside. Because the legacies of our dogs are rich in environmental toxins, such as Phospor, nitrogen and heavy metals, which put a strain on ecosystems. Also possible Pathogens and parasites in the feces can pose a danger to wild and grazing animals, but also to us humans. And another thing: the street cleaning is of course also relieved if you always collect the dog excrement.
And which dog waste bags are particularly climate-friendly? Best you use Paper dog waste bags or Cornstarch and then dispose of them properly. For longer walks, you can use one bag twice every now and then.
3. adopt a dog from the animal protection/animal shelter
Above all, it is also the amount of dogs worldwide that is a burden on the climate. A major reason for this is the Overbreeding of the animalswhich is unfortunately further promoted by the purchase of breeding animals. Therefore it is also extremely sustainable if you show a big heart and buy a Adopt a dog from a shelter or otherwise rescued from the street.
The smaller the dog, the less it pollutes the environment. Of course, you can also use this knowledge when choosing your four-legged friend to make his life at your side as climate-friendly as possible.
4. prefer a dog equipment in organic quality
He who buys cheap, buys twice. Surely you know this saying - which also applies very well to Leashes, dishes, bowls, toys and other things that your dog calls his own. Durability and sustainability should play an important role in your selection if you want to improve your carbon footprint.
Are dogs climate sinners? It depends!
If you have your own Reduce ecological footprint you must not forget the paw print of your lively four-legged friend. Choosing eco-friendly pet food and poop bags, for example, can go a long way toward optimizing it. We hold: a dog can certainly be a climate polluter - but it doesn't have to be. I hope that this article has given you the tips you need to improve your carbon footprint by simple means.
Do you have any questions, suggestions or your own experiences with your dog's carbon footprint that you would like to share? Then I look forward to your comment!
PS.: I have also created a detailed article for you, to explain the Improve your dog's behavior at the vet's office. Have fun!
₁ Technical University of Berlin: A dog's life and its carbon footprint (as of 28.08.2020), available at https://www.tu.berlin/ueber-die-tu-berlin/profil/pressemitteilungen-nachrichten/2020/august/oekobilanz-eines-hundes. [10.12.2021].
₂ Statista GmbH: Pet owners in Germany by number of dogs in household from 2017 to 2020 (as of November 2020), available at https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/181167/umfrage/haustier-anzahl-hunde-im-haushalt. [10.12.2021].