Earth Week 2020
Every day is Earth Day for us. Here are some insights and tips to help you reduce your carbon pawprint.
Growing Carbon Pawprint
Dogs and cats account for a quarter of the greenhouse gases caused by animal agriculture. In the US alone, there are about 184 million cats and dogs. Based on a study from Plos, dogs and cats' eating habits may represent around 64 million tons of greenhouse gases annually, equivalent to driving over 13 million cars.
10 Lower Carbon Activities
Our cats and dogs consume about 19% as many calories as we humans do. In the same Plos study, US pets rank 5th in global meat consumption. There are ways we can reduce our overall impact and become more eco-friendly pet parents. We've come up with a list of 10 lower carbon activities.
1) Take a walk
That's right! Bust out those comfortable Nikes, or worn-in kicks, and take a stroll around the neighborhood. It's a low carbon activity that promotes good health for you and your pup. Your cat may not like it, so we've got an alternative, DIY games.
2) Play, Exercise and Enrich
Take a well-earned break indoors with your dog (or kitty). Play a game of chase while you're at home. Dog have natural predator instincts, so you can exercise your pup without letting it hunt. Here are a few other alternatives:
- The Shell Game: The shell game is a simple problem-solving game for dogs. To play the shell game with your dog let your dog watch as you place a treat under one of three cups. You then shuffle the cups around and encourage them to ‘find the treat.’ The shell game gives your dog plenty of mental stimulation and helps them work on their problem solving skills.
- Teach Your Dog to Clean Up His Toys: If your dog’s toys are kept in a container you can teach them to put their toys away. I know it sounds weird to teach your dog to clean up after themselves, but it’s actually a lot of fun. Teaching your dog new skills boosts their confidence, and it’s a great way to give them more mental stimulation. If your dog already knows “drop it” have them pick up a toy and give them their drop it commands once they’re standing over the container. Praise them like crazy, then rinse and repeat. Eventually with consistency you’ll have a dog that will be able to clean up after himself.
- Play Interactive Games: To keep my dog busy on rainy days I love using interactive games such as tug, find the treats, puzzle games and fetch. Interactive games are an easy way to give your dog plenty of mental stimulation, and they can help cut down on problem behaviors such as excessive chewing or barking. If you’re going to play fetch indoors use a lightweight ball to avoid breaking all of the things. A game of tug is a lot of fun for dogs, and it’s a great way to increase your dog’s manners and impulse control. It’s also a pretty good workout. Minute for minute it’s one of the more physically demanding games we play.
- Teach Your Dog a New Trick: There’s always a new trick you can teach your dog and trust me when I say teaching your dog how to weave through your legs is a lot easier than it sounds. To help get you started here’s a handy list of 52 tricks to teach your dog with instructions. One of the best things about trick training is that there’s always room to improvise and make it more challenging. Once your dog knows a bunch of tricks you can step it up a notch and combine their learned behaviors into brand new tricks.
3) Go Paperless with Audible for Dogs
Enjoy a lazy afternoon listening to a good audio book. Great for long commutes, and keeping your pet entertained and calm while they're alone. Audible for Dogs is a thing!
4) Enjoy DOGTV & Streaming Music
Looking for more ways to go digital? Enjoy DOGTV, programming designed for pets, or change it up with RelaxMyDog live streaming music. Pet parents often leave music or the TV on to keep their pets occupied when they're away. Both options and many more are free on YouTube; personally, my dog loves Curious George, so he’s a bit spoiled with his own Netflix profile, with the kids only permissions applies of course.
5) Eat less meat
By reducing meat consumption, you're dramatically reducing your pet's carbon pawprint. There are alternative options that are vegan and good for them.
6) Everything counts in small amounts
Instead of gorging on large treats equivalent to big meals, think snack size. We understand every breed is different and larger pets require a higher caloric intake than their smaller counterparts. Your vet can help recommend the optimal diet for your pet. Oh, and you can try less meatier treats.
7) Use biodegradable poop bags and recycled kitty litter
If you can't get into composting, opt for biodegradable poop bags to pick up after your dog during those low carbon strolls in the local dog park. For cats, try out eco-friendly nontoxic litters.
8) Use eco-friendly pet cleaning products
From shampoos made from natural, sustainable ingredients to cleaning products that are non-toxic and cruelty-free, there are plenty of options.
9) Spay and neuter your pets
We love our pets and we want to ensure that they have the best lives possible. That said, you can help address pet overpopulation by doing your part.
10) Adopt, don't shop
When looking for the next new addition to your growing family, always consider adoption. If you want to save rescues from boredom, you can always visit local shelters to volunteer with the animals and/or donate old toys/enrichment tools.