If you’re a fan of the Community’s Pets Corner, you’ll be familiar with my bundle of fun Bobby, the almost five month old Boston Terrier. I had lots of considerations, questions and concerns when I decided to welcome a four-legged friend into my life, but I can’t say that the impact they might have on the environment was one of them.
But that changed just this weekend, when I dropped by my local pet shop to ask about Bobby’s food. Bobby hadn’t been doing too well on the kibble and wet food I’d bought him, and I was keen to try out a new food that might suit a pup with a more sensitive tummy. The lady suggested I might like to try a new hypoallergenic brand they’d recently introduced to their range. A brand that just so happens to replace the traditional meat-based protein you’d find in the standard dog food with… insects
I’ll admit it, I wasn’t sure at first. But after checking how this food weighed up nutritionally against other dog foods on the market, I decided to give it a try. The grubs, which make up 44% of the puppy kibble I chose, are just as nutritious as good quality free range chicken, and they’re more digestible.
Turns out insects aren’t just a nutritious option for your pet though, they’re good for the planet too. I’ve nicked this graph from Yora, the pet food brand I’ve bought, which shows the environmental impact meat production can have versus the grubs they use.
I was shocked
And it got me thinking — what’s my pet’s carbon pawprint?! Answer: 770kg of CO2e per year for the average-sized dog and 310kg of CO2e per year for the average-sized cat. If you’ve got a Great Dane, you’re looking at around 2,500kg of CO2e per year. When you consider that there’s an estimated 12 million pets in the UK, that’s one hell of a lot of carbon.
Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting we forgo pets for the sake of our planet (Bobby is honestly the light of my life, and pets are proven to have many wonderful benefits ), but there are thankfully some things we can do to reduce their impact.
Here’s what I’m doing so far:
- Swapping out traditional dog food for an insect-based alternative — I’m pleased to say that Bob is a big fan of his new kibble
- Getting food in bulk to reduce the amount of packaging and trips to the store
- Buying eco-friendly toys made from sustainable jute and recycled plastic
- Using biodegradable dog poop bags.
Do you know what your pet’s carbon pawprint is? Have you made the swap to insect-based pet food, or would you consider doing so? What are your tips for reducing your pet’s impact on the planet? I’d love to hear your thoughts.