7 steps to reduce your pet’s carbon pawprints

While we are all looking at ways to contribute to reducing climate change, what can we do to help offset our pet’s carbon pawprints?

Janet Hughes, Head of Sustainability at the UK’s first carbon-neutral pet insurer, Agria Pet Insurance, shares some statistics and tips to help our four-legged friends become better for the planet:

Did you know that a large Great Dane can create up to 4 tons of CO2e every year? This is the equivalent of four return flights from Paris and New York. Even an average medium-sized cat is responsible for around 310kg per year of CO2e, which is about the same amount produced by driving more than 900 miles.

And for owners of an average dog (we know, none of them are average, they are all the best), emissions connected with their food, treats, accessories, and vet care, can create a carbon footprint of around one ton every year – one Paris to New York return flight.

What can we do to reduce this?

  1. Most of the CO2e produced by our pets is linked to their carnivorous diet. Chicken or fish-based food will help decrease this*, but where fish is concerned, always check that it has been Marine Stewardship Council certified. This guarantees the fish have been sustainably fished. Sustainable insect-based pet food is also now available.
  2. If you feed your pet wet food, consider using tins instead of pouches, which are more widely recyclable. If you do use pouches, look for a recycling scheme you can take them to, rather than seeing thousands of them over your pet’s lifetime ending up in landfill.
  3. If your pet eats dry food and you can store it safely, buy large bags where possible and recycle the packaging – many pet food manufacturers now use recyclable packaging.
  4. Always weigh out food accurately to reduce waste, which has the added benefit of keeping your pet at a healthy weight.
  5. When it comes to toys for your pet, avoid plastic, flimsy toys and look for durable, long-lasting items that will last and last. Many brands are now creating pet toys made from recyclable materials, too – perfect for Christmas presents.
  6. Always check that you’re using compostable or biodegradable poo bags as these will fully disintegrate into natural materials. Using these could save over 700 plastic bags from going to landfill per dog, every year. If every dog owner in the UK switched from plastic bags to biodegradable – this would account for 8.75 billion plastic bags every year.
  7. Cat litter is now available made entirely from wood or even grains and is biodegradable and compostable. If your cat struggles to get used to a new type of litter, try introducing it gradually.

Managing Director of Agria Pet Insurance, Vicki Wentworth, comments, “We are obviously thrilled to be the UK’s first carbon-neutral pet insurer, and our support for this incredibly important issue doesn’t stop there. Just making these small but significant changes to how we live our lives with our pets can have such an impact on the world we share with them.”

During COP26, Agria Pet Insurance will be planting a tree for every new policy taken out. Visit agripet.co.uk for a quote for lifetime cover.

Help your pet to make a positive climate contribution by funding tree planting across the world. You can find out more here ecooffset.org/offset/offset-your-pet