Feeding cats and dogs wet food has a much larger climate impact than dry food, a new study found, suggesting small changes by pet owners can massively reduce their carbon footprint.
The Brazilian study looked at the environmental impact — including greenhouse gas emissions, land use and water usage — of pet food, finding that there was more than a seven-fold increase in CO2 production for a wet diet compared to dry.
“Wet diets for cats and dogs had the greatest environmental impact, particularly compared to dry diets,” said the study from the University of Sao Paulo published in Scientific Reports.
The study’s authors examined the environmental impacts of the diets of 618 dogs and 320 cats in Brazil.
They looked into commercial as well as homemade pet food, both wet and dry, and assessed the nutritional and calorific make-up of the different diets.
They estimated that a 10-kilo dog (22 pounds) consuming an average of 534 calories per day “would be responsible for 828.37 kilograms of CO2 per year when fed a dry diet, compared to 6,541 kilograms of CO2 per year for a wet diet.”
That was 689 percent more for the wet diet.
“Cat and dog owners could significantly reduce the environmental impact of their pets’ diets by feeding them dry food (consisting of kibble or biscuits) rather than wet food with higher water content,” it said.
“These results highlight the extensive environmental impacts of pet foods, the need to make them more sustainable and an indication of how this may be achieved.”
According to the PetSecure website, cited by the study, the United States has the world’s biggest dog population with over 69 million and the most cats with more than 74 million. China holds the number two spot for both, followed by Russia. — Agence France-Presse