Reducing Your Pet’s Carbon Pawprint

Reducing Your Pet’s Carbon Pawprint

Reducing Your Pet’s Carbon Pawprint

New Zealand is a nation of pet lovers. In fact, not only do Kiwis have one of the highest rates of cat ownership in the world, our rate of dog ownership has soared in the past five years – with dog population growth overtaking human population growth in all of our main cities bar Auckland.

With more than 1.4 million domestic cats and close to 600,000 (registered) dogs living in our homes nationwide – and research suggesting a medium-sized dog can have a larger environmental footprint than an SUV – an increasing number of environmentally-aware NZ pet parents are looking at options to reduce their dogs’ and cats' ecological paw-prints.

Here are 5 easy ways you can reduce the carbon footprint of your pampered pet.


  1. Choose Eco-Friendly Food

Studies estimate that cats and dogs account for almost 30% of the environmental impact of meat consumption in developed nations. Meat-based diets take a higher toll on the environment as they use more land, energy, and water to produce, however switching your pet to a vegetarian or vegan diet isn’t recommended because they won’t get all the nutrients they need.

Instead, do your best to shop ‘greener’ and consider things like packaging and protein sources. Look for pet food companies that are transparent about how they minimise waste, and who opt to package using recyclable materials. You can also choose brands that focus on protein sources with a lighter carbon footprint, such as chicken, turkey, rabbit or sustainably-harvested fish.

Shopping with a local pet grocer, where you can fill your own containers, is a great way to reduce wate.


  1. Avoid Over-Feeding

Many pet owners are guilty of over-feeding their beloved cats and dogs. While most of us understand the negative impact a little extra weight has on your pet’s health, few of us consider that overfeeding also has a negative impact on the environment.

By overfeeding your pet, they’ll ‘chew through’ more food than they need (see above for the environmental impact of pet food production), and create more waste for the environment to cope with (see below).

Domestic cats and dogs will often eat whatever is put in front of them, so serve their meals thoughtfully. If in doubt, check with your vet or pet nutritionist about portion control and healthy serving sizes.


  1. Opt for Earth-Friendly Waste Disposal


While it isn’t generally considered a topic for polite conversation, every pet owner has to deal with poop. What goes in must come out – and pet waste is a leading source of environmental damage behind food production.

Although you obviously can’t deter your poor pet from pooping, consider how you dispose of their waste.

If you own a dog, choose biodegradable or compostable poop bags that break down faster than plastic options. Products made from corn, vegetable oils, and/or plant starches are the best options to keep pet waste from sitting in a landfill for the next hundred years.

If you own a cat, consider switching to a sustainable, organic cat litter – which is much kinder to the environment.

Have a compost bin at home to reduce your organics and kitchen waste? While you should avoid adding pet waste to compost that may be used for growing food, it’s generally safe to compost pet poop for use in flower gardens.


  1. Shop ‘Green’ Pet Supplies

Everyone loves to spoil their pet – but the more you buy them, the bigger their environmental impact. To reduce their carbon pawprint, choose higher quality items that are designed to last longer, are made from non-toxic and sustainable materials, or which can be properly washed to extend their longevity.

Choose ceramic or stainless-steel bowls over plastic, stick to organic and natural shampoos which are free of dyes, nasties and parabens, and look for bedding made from natural fibres.


  1. Recycle & Donate!

One of the key tenets of sustainability is reduce, reuse, recycle! Recycling is one of the easiest things all pet owners can do to reduce their cat or dog’s environmental impact – and you may be able to recycle more than you realise.

As well as clean pet food cans, you can also recycle dry pet food bags. Simply separate the plastic lining and the outside shell to make all parts of the food bag recyclable. Paper, cardboard and some plastic packaging from toys, supplies, grooming products and more can also be recycled, so keep this in mind when shopping and purchase products where the packaging has been thoughtfully designed.

Donating items you no longer need – such as extra toys and blankets – is also a great way to recycle and reduce waste. Give those items a wash and drop them in to your local animal shelter.


Charli & Coco is proud to operate with a focus on sustainability and environmental awareness. Please contact us, or talk to our in-store team, if you have any questions about our products or for eco-friendly recommendations.

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