Research assesses dogs’ carbon pawprints

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What impact do pets have on the environment?Some environmentalists will chastise their friends who drive gas-guzzling SUVs, leave the faucet running or fail to reuse their recyclables. In a new book, two New Zealand authors are asking dog owners to assess the environmental impact of their pet’s carbon paw print.

Robert and Brenda Vale, authors of Time to Eat the Dog: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living, analyze how pet care for cats and dogs can impact the environment, Fox News reports. Specifically examining the carbon emissions pets create, the researchers found that dog food ingredients, and the land required to produce the food give a medium sized dog a carbon foot print of about .84 hectares per year.

In comparison, a Toyota Land Cruiser driven about 6,200 miles a year creates an eco-footprint of about 0.41 hectares.

However, animal lover and dog trainer Linda Findlay says the researchers do not factor in the emotional value of owning pets. "What the dogs give back to me is probably equal to what the environment gives me – but on a more emotional level," she told the Timaru Herald.

Findlay did however say that by mainly feeding her dogs biscuits, she did her part to minimize their impact on the environment.

According to the Center for Sustainable Economy, the sustainable footprint level for each person is about 15.71 hectares each year.

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