Animal IQ

Having a Pet Isn't Always Good For The Environment

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Bet you never considered the effect your pup has on the environment. According to a study, your dog leaves a larger ecological footprint than an SUV. But it's not all bad news.

How Can Fido Be Hurting The Environment?

Look deep into Fido's half-mooned puppy-dog eyes. That fuzzy little cutie is killing the Earth. Well, not quite, but surely you'd be surprised to learn that the ecological footprint—er, paw print—of a dog is greater than that of an SUV. According to the "Time to Eat the Dog?" authors, Robert and Brenda Vale, research shows that a medium-size dog has twice the impact of driving a luxury SUV, like a Toyota Land Cruiser, 10,000 miles. Hang on, cat lovers, your kitty is doing some damage too. According to, a cat's ecological paw print was roughly equivalent to a Volkswagen Golf's. Oh, and FYI, the study apparently didn't take into account the emissions of either the SUV or the dogs. But don't blame your pets for this, look at all the resources that go into feeding your animal, the manufacturing process for its other things, and, well, their fecal waste. On the other hand, Clark Williams-Derry, chief researcher at the Sightline Institute, isn't sold on this research. "When I saw the study I ran some quick numbers," Williams-Derry told "The average dog has to eat at least twice as much as the average person for this to be right. People are just heavier than dogs so, I just had to scratch my head at that. It doesn't mean dogs don't have a big impact, but I view it with a healthy dose of skepticism."

Related: Will Your Next Pet Be a Goat Instead Of A Dog?

Don't Worry—You Can Help

If you are concerned about the damage your pet may be doing to the environment, TakePart has some tips: "You can make your own pet food using locally grown organic products. You can bury your pet's waste, or make your own litter using, say, discarded wood shavings from a local carpenter or hardware store. You can choose natural pet-care and cleaning products."

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Editor's Picks: The Best Videos On Pets And The Environment

Dog vs. Cars: Carbon Footprints And Pet Ecological Terrors

This video includes more great tips on cutting down your pups eco-paw print.

5 Things In Your House That Can Kill Your Pet

Maybe your pets can hurt the enivronment, but your home can definitely hurt your pet.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Some mouthwashes have boric acid which can cause your pet to vomit, have seizures or go into a coma. 00:18

  2. Lillies can be very toxic and fatal if eaten. 00:36

  3. Dog's find the taste of anti-freeze to be sweet. 00:53

How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Hey, it's not all on your pet to make changes!

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